LED lights. Electric blankets. Satellite Navigation. What do all of these things have in common? The technology behind them was originally invented purely for industrial reasons before their appeal to a wider market became noticed, the technology was adapted and the products which we now take for granted were born. Stainless steel banding and buckles, widely used for sign fixing and cargo bundling, could be added to this list: the versatile and ubiquitous system was originally designed with extreme heavy-duty work in mind and so is more than robust enough to handle anything that’s thrown at it.
Stainless steel buckles are an essential part of undersea pipeline technology which, in turn, is essential to ensure a steady flow of power and/or communication between countries. Grade 316 is used for the marine application as the added metals within offer the best protection against corrosion in the harsh, salty and extreme environment, even after continued exposure.
The first major pipeline below the sea was constructed during the Second World War and given the affectionate codename PLUTO - Pipe Line Under The Ocean. Stretching a full 70 miles between the Isle of Wight and the French coast, the pipe took 46tn of material per mile to build and, incredibly, was built in complete secrecy with a number of clever disguises created to confuse and ultimately foil the enemy.
Undersea pipelines now exist primarily to transport fuel - raw natural gas is taken to refineries before being sent back, now as a liquid, through pipes to waiting fuel tankers.
Britain was recently connected to oil fields in the Norwegian North Sea via an impressive 746 miles of pipeline. The mammoth engineering task was prepared for by two robotic diggers who cleared the way for the pipeline, which is almost 3,000ft below the surface at its deepest point. Installed at a cost of USD$3.3bn, the pipe was laid piece-by-piece - each gigantic piece was welded right there on one of two specially-designed ‘floating factories’.
The exceptional strength and resistance to attack of stainless steel has led to it becoming one of the most common metals to be found around us today, in everything from forks to forklift trucks. Stainless steel buckles are used in conjunction with our Bandfix family of sign fixing products and, with an industrial pedigree, are guaranteed to hold firm. Check out the range here (plus surprise price discounts!).