25 11, 2018

The Life Cycle of an Ultra High-Strength Steel

2018-11-16T17:27:20+00:00 November 25th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Hot molten metal being poured into long, thin cast.

In recent years, the automotive industry has benefited greatly from the integration of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS).

Each step of the manufacturing process of a new advanced high-strength steel, the different configurations of chemical composition, and achievable microstructures, is a result of a closely controlled heating and cooling process. During these processes, several strengthening mechanisms are employed to achieve different levels of strength, fatigue tolerances, and toughness.

Among the advanced high-strength steel family are Dual Phase (DP), Complex Phase (CP), Transformation-Induced Plasticity (TRIP), Martensitic (MS), and Ferritic-Bainitic (FB). They are all produced by controlling the chemistry and cooling rate in the austenite-ferrite phase during the hot rolled phase or in the annealing furnace.

But, what are the steps that are taken to create each of these materials? What are all the factors that metallurgists are searching for when they undertake such a task?

Here’s a checklist:

Designed for mass production

The driving force behind creating any variant of AHSS is to produce it on a mass scale. Therefore, starting from day one, full-scale processing concerns are addressed in the design. Different compositions are simulated and tested to achieve the most optimal composition.

Forgeability

The materials’ forgeability refers to the total fatigue, fracturing toughness, and tensile strength tolerances of the steel alloy.

Machinability

Tests are rendered on the material to observe its boring, tapping, milling, threading, drilling, and turning capabilities. Everything is tested, from the optimal insert and cutting tool configurations to the best feed speed.

Heat treatment

The material will be tested for the mechanical differences between their annealed and hardened states.

Combination of properties

There are an incredible amount of possible alloying compositions using elements such as cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper, carbon, chromium, and more. Rigorous testing is done on the different alloy compositions to achieve the optimal desired properties.

3D rendered image of an automotive frame on a gold background with National Material's

Strength

What’s the key factor in any structure material? Its functional strength. The ultimate tensile strength (UTS) is the most important aspect of weight-limiting designs, so this property is the among the most crucial in the creation of new AHSS steels.

Fracture toughness

Another important element of the steel is its fracture toughness. This measures the materials’ ability to resist fracturing under stress.

Yield strength

As opposed to fracture toughness, yield strength refers to the point at which the fibers of the material begin to break down, and its form becomes plastic, instead of elastic. A higher yield strength will allow part designs to endure more stress before becoming disfigured.

THE RENEWABILITY OF ADVANCED HIGH-STRENGTH STEEL

Once the material is created and tested for mass production, it begins its life as it is machined into a useable part for the automotive industry. What happens as it’s made, put out into the world, and comes to the end of its life cycle?

Efficient steel production

Though AHSS is, at the moment, more expensive overall to produce than traditional steel grades, it uses less overall materials within the manufacturing process. The aim of AHSS’s is to reduce their weight while simultaneously achieving higher strength. A byproduct of this design philosophy is that less material waste is used during its creation.

Production methods

After its initial production, the material is further worked with during a processing series of casting, hot rolling, cooling, pickling, cold rolling, then annealing.

Reusing materials during the process

Manufacturers will attempt to use residual materials, byproducts of the manufacturing process, and recirculate them into the steel production process as opposed to using raw materials. This makes the material more cost effective and renewable.

Resource-efficient product manufacture

The pursuit of lower carbon emissions and increased crash safety is the purpose of AHSS’ strong and light properties. Some modern cars are made of more than 50% AHSS.

Recyclability of steel

Steel is the world’s most recycled industrial material, and maintains its properties no matter how many times that it’s recycled, similar to aluminum. Products made from steel have a long useful life and can then still be recycled indefinitely.

About National Material L.P. – The National Material group of industrial businesses consists of the Steel Group, Stainless and Alloys Group, Raw Material Trading Group, Aluminum Group, and Related Operations. Since its founding in 1964, National Material Limited Partnership has grown to over 30 business units and is now one of the largest suppliers of steel in America.

8 11, 2018

Pre-Painted Steel by NMC Partner Interstate Steel Company

2018-11-09T16:25:35+00:00 November 8th, 2018|News Blog, NMC Media|

National Material Company is proud to be a partner with Interstate Steel company, a leader in providing steel services and highly engineered, pre-painted steel products. ISC provides a variety of processes including slitting, blanking, pickling and oiling, hot dipped galvanized steel, configured blanking and cut-to-length.

What is pre-painted steel?

Pre-painted steel is manufactured through a continuous coating process that utilizes cleaning, pretreating, painting, and curing in coil form. Typically painted with two-coat paint systems, the coils receive a primer and a finish color coating on the side meant for exterior exposure and the reverse side receives a primer and topcoat. This system creates very uniform, aesthetically pleasing steel.

There are many options when it comes to pre-painted steel and they can vary in:

  • Metallic coating thickness
  • Types of top-coatings (polyesters, acrylics, silicone-polyesters, etc.)
  • Color
  • Treatments and primers

Pre-painted steel is typically used when the appearance of the steel matters and the steel is meant for long lasting durability. For example, primer coats can help prevent undercutting of paint and make the steel corrosion resistant.

Interstate Steel Company pre-painted steel and services

ISC has had decades of experience and knowledge in painting systems for steel, coil coating, and painted end use applications. They are well known as a leader in pre-painted steel and their expertise shows when NMC conducts business with them.

Some of the many benefits we’ve found in working with ISC is their:

  • ISO-certified quality system
  • In-line shape enhancement
  • In-house metallurgy and testing lab
  • Customized inventory program
  • High-quality parts
  • Environmental consciousness
  • Speedy processing and delivery

Together, National Material Company and Interstate Steel Company try to provide the most reliable, long-lasting steel in the industry and by working together, believe we can go above and beyond our customers’ requirements. Whether you are looking for pre-painted steel or one of our many other steel offerings, if you believe your company can benefit from our services, please visit us at http://www.nationalmaterial.com/ or call (U.S.) 847-806-7200 to discuss how we can be of service.

About National Material L.P. – Since its founding in 1964, National Material Limited Partnership has grown to over 30 business units and is now one of the largest suppliers of steel in America. The National Material group of industrial businesses consists of the Steel Group, Stainless and Alloys Group, Raw Material Trading Group, Aluminum Group, and Related Operations.