The changes to the Standard were designed to deliver two major benefits to users:

  1. Increase the ability of specifiers and purchasers to obtain product that is compliant to the Standard
  2. Provide specifiers better guidance and a wider range of grades from which to select the specification best suited to the fabrication process and the application

Assuring product compliance

BlueScope Steel is Australia’s only manufacturer of flat steel and has a long history of supplying quality products that meet or exceed Australian Standards at its IS0:9001 accredited manufacturing facilities.

Why is improved compliance important?

Improved compliance to the Standard gives the specifier and purchaser confidence that the material obtained will perform as intended in the design and use phases of the project. Improved compliance is brought about in AS/NZS 3678:2011 in a number of ways:

Improving Compliance Why? BlueScope’s Practice
Ensuring testing is done at laboratories that are accredited to International Standards
  • For test results to be meaningful it is important that the laboratory understands the relevant standards on how to prepare test specimens and perform the tests. Where this is not done the plate tested may not meet the requirements of the Standard.
  • Product testing to International Standards via NATA accredited laboratories.
  • NATA accredited test certificates are provided with each BlueScope Steel order and are kept on file. Certificates dating back to 1993 are available online for uncoated steel.
Mandating a wider range of requirements on test certificates
  • Requiring test certificates to be written in English ensures the test certificate can be checked for compliance and that there is no confusion in interpreting the results.
  • Requiring the producing mill be listed on the test certificate allows you to assess the bona-fides of the material.
  • Reporting all elements listed in the AS/NZS 3678 Standard, allow customers to assess product attributes such as weldability and suitability for galvanising.
  • Test certificates in English
  • Guide on ‘How to read a test certificate’ to assist specifiers understand critical attributes.
    Download Guide to Using Test Certificates (667 KB)
  • BlueScope Steel’s production sites clearly marked on all test certificates.
  • BlueScope Steel documents a full suite of critical properties that impact post processing activities such as welding and galvanizing.
  • Local technical expertise available to assist application - a phone call away.
Strengthening product conformity testing
  • Appendix B of the AS/NZS 3678 Standard has been changed to ‘Normative’ status from ‘Informative’ status meaning that the manufacturer must comply with one of the sampling and testing methodologies described in Appendix B. In the previous version of AS/NZS 3678 the methodologies described for sampling and testing were for guidance only. In the new version they are mandated for compliance.
  • The previous Standard AS/NZS 3678:1996, allowed manufacturers to demonstrate compliance to the Standard by the use of either a product certification scheme or a supplier’s quality system. This provision has been removed from the new Standard.
  • Steel products comply with all aspects of the Standard - a BlueScope Steel product is always guaranteed to comply with the Standard to which it is manufactured.
  • ACRS has independently assessed BlueScope Steel to have the capability to manufacture to Australian Standard AS/NZS 3678 and verified that it consistently does so.

What options and benefits does the change to the Standard offer specifiers in terms of design?

Options Benefit
Increased range of impact testing options:
  • Increases the range of service temperatures that can be specified
  • Increases the minimum impact energy that be specified
Square checkmark Designs for low temperature applications (L20 and L40) can be done using Australian Standards. This simplifies technical specifications and preparations of drawings.
Square checkmark
Steels with higher toughness levels for more critical applications can be specified.  This provides greater confidence that the material will achieve the performance required in service.
Increased range of through-thickness testing options Square checkmark
Allows specifiers to utilise a higher level (Z35) of through-thickness testing than was available with the previous version of the Standard, for applications requiring welded joints with high restraint.
Square checkmark
Allows some level of through-thickness testing over a wider range of plate thicknesses by exploiting the “Z15” option that has been added to the Standard.
The ability to specify “fine-grained” steels Square checkmark
Useful for when fabrication requires hot forming or the component is to be normalized.  A fine-grained structure assists the material to retain strength and toughness after hot forming or normalizing.
More explicit warning regarding the potential hazards of reheating grades in this Standard above 620°C Square checkmark
Ensures that fabricators do not reduce the strength and/or toughness of the steel during fabrication.  Where the application and/or fabrication process requires heating above 620°C, the purchaser should discuss this with the steel manufacturer.

Reducing Risk and Improving Confidence

The changes introduced in AS/NZS 3678:2011 increase the ability of specifiers and purchasers to obtain product that is compliant to the Standard at the same time as providing better guidance and a wider range of grades from which to select the specification best suited to the fabrication process and the application.

BlueScope’s XLERPLATE® steel offers the additional compliance guarantee of ACRS accreditation providing a valuable third level of assurance to specifiers and purchasers that XLERPLATE® steel is consistently and reliably manufactured to the Standard – that what we claim to be the properties of our AS/NZS 3678:2011 product are a match with the actual properties of the product.

Buyer Beware

BlueScope can guarantee that BlueScope manufactured steel made to the previous Standard, yet still within distribution supply chains, will comply with the new Standard. Changes to the Standard simply reflect what has been best practice at BlueScope Steel for several years.

Caution should be exercised if specifiers and purchasers are being offered new product to AS3678:1996 from other manufacturers, as these goods may not be compliant with the new AS/NZS Standard published in 2011.