08 April 2011
Firms to Develop Quake-resistant Steel

State-owned steel producer Krakatau Steel and Japan-based Nippon Steel Corporation have committed to teaming up in developing steel-based earthquake-resistant infrastructures and buildings in Indonesia.

Krakatau Steel president director Fazwar Bujang said on Thursday that learning from Japan's experience, using steel as main material for buildings structures could improve the strength and safety of the buildings.

"Currently, the use of steel for buildings and infrastructures isn't popular yet. We want to promote the use of steel for better and safer constructions," he said at the opening ceremony of seminar and exhibition titled "Future Prospects of Steel for Construction in Indonesia" in Jakarta.

He continued, saying that Indonesia, located in an earthquake-prone geographical zone, needed to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of earthquakes by encouraging the government to apply a standard design of earthquake-resistant structures and standardization of earthquake-resistant steel materials.

"Krakatau Steel and other steel makers have committed to developing earthquake-resistant steel materials and structures. We hope all stakeholders can educate the people to start using steel for buildings and infrastructures," Fazwar explained.

Junji Uchida, managing director of Nippon Steel Corporation, said that the use of steel in Japan was common for constructing factories, warehouses, high-rise buildings, housings, bridges, flyovers, seaports and airports.

"Around 60 percent of buildings and infrastructures in Japan use steel as the main material for their structures," he said.

He claimed that besides leading in strength and safety, steel-based buildings also consumed shorter time to construct, were lower cost compared to reinforced concrete-based buildings and were more environmentally-friendly.

Nippon Steel Corporation had developed an earthquake-resistant structure called "Nittetsu Super Frame" which was suitable for almost all kinds of buildings, Uchida revealed. "This product will be developed in Indonesia by Krakatau Steel," he said.

However, both Uchida and Fazwar claimed that no official deal had been made as to what kind of cooperation they would have in developing the earthquake-resistant product.

The head of the Public Works Ministry's Housing Research and Development Center, Anita Firmanti, said the consumption of steel in Indonesia was still low. Last year, the consumption only reached between 8 and 9 million tons of steel, rising from between 7 and 8 million in 2009 and 6.5 million in 2008, she added.

"Our per-capita consumption is also far below other countries. The figure is only around 30 kilograms per capita per year, while in Malaysia and Korea, the numbers are 500 kilograms and 1 ton respectively," she reported.

However, she projected that Indonesia's steel demand this year would be much higher than the earlier years, since several major infrastructure and building construction projects were ongoing.

(Source: The Jakarta Post, Friday, April 8th, 2011)

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