21 03, 2019

History of Galvanized Steel in the Automotive Industry

2019-09-05T20:37:54+00:00 March 21st, 2019|News Blog, NMC Media|

Galvanized steel is among the most popular and useful steels due to its durability, cost effectiveness and, most importantly, its rust-resistant qualities. But galvanized steel wasn’t always in high demand.

In the early 1990’s, steel was consistently the go-to material in automobile manufacturing, but public demand for corrosion-resistant steels in the North American market hadn’t become wide enough for manufacturers to begin implementing it.

In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1980’s, when the Japanese began importing automobiles with anti-corrosion features, that Western markets would discover the advantage of the material. Galvanized steel was indispensable in Japan, a country with a coastal environment that created heavier levels of oxidation and rust.

A close up of a headlight on a rusty car.

At the time, North American made vehicles were experiencing severe durability issues due to rust – a serious issue that (quite literally) couldn’t be solved by just throwing on another coat of paint.

Western automakers had developed specific standards for their warranties which further exacerbated the problem of switching to galvanized steels, as its implementation into processing lines would take serious time and money. However, forced to compete, they began to make the transition.

This important switch led to the use of electrogalvanizing lines.

Electrogalvanizing is a process in which a layer of zinc is bonded to steel in order to protect against corrosion. The process involves electroplating, running a current of electricity through a saline/zinc solution with a zinc anode and steel conductor. The plating of zinc was developed at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, the electrolyte was cyanide based. A significant innovation occurred in the 1960s, with the introduction of the first acid chloride based electrolyte…The 1980s saw a return to alkaline electrolytes, only this time, without the use of cyanide.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Going into the mid 90’s, electrogalvanizing was the only process that was approved for automotive quality; but automakers had set their sights on another way to galvanize steel – hot dip galvanization. This technique was being used in other markets, but hadn’t yet reached the level of quality necessary for automobiles. That is, until the 1990’s.

Nowadays, the use of zinc-coated bodies for automobiles is standard procedure in auto manufacturing. The ‘body-in-white’ of a car makes up about 80% of the body, all using galvanized steel. The rust resistance of galvanized steel is also a good marketing tool for the automotive industry because they can provide anti-rust warranties to customers.

What are the Benefits of Galvanized Steel?

There’s a reason so many different industries utilize galvanized steel. It has a wide array of benefits for industries to take advantage of, including:

  • Low initial cost compared to most treated steels.
  • Lower maintenance costs than most coated steels (saves time on repairs and replacements).
  • Increases durability of the steel’s finished product which also increases the product’s reliability.
  • Galvanized steel is very protective, including sharp corners and recesses that couldn’t be protected with other coatings, making it resistant to damage.
  • Self-healing, meaning the galvanized coating includes an automatic protection for damaged areas. The coating will corrode preferentially to the steel, […]
4 03, 2019

What is a Toll Processing Company?

2019-05-29T23:06:19+00:00 March 4th, 2019|News Blog|

A close shot of a collection of steel coils in one of National Material’s steel processing facilities.

The convenience of outsourcing manufacturing work for products and services is becoming more and more popular. This method of contracting with a material processing service center is known as toll processing. (Also known as tolling, contract processing, toll manufacturing, or toll conversion.)

Businesses turn to toll processing because of the expertise and cost savings that the processing center provides. A growing business might lack the facilities, manpower, and time required to process the materials required for their products, leading to shortfalls in efficiency and delivery. Usually, processing centers have decades of experience in a number of different industries,  They have also made significant investments in equipment that can help take a project from concept to completion. Toll processors can offer the contracting company with important information, including difficulties or circumstances that might be encountered when processing specific types of material.

Benefits of toll processing

  • Significantly reduced capital investment
  • No additional permits required
  • No need for additional storage space
  • No need to hire additional employees
  • Can adjust production levels on-the-fly depending on demand
  • Faster time to completion
  • Opportunity to expand your network by working with experienced professionals
  • Avoid extended lead times
  • Affordable costs

Types of toll processing services

Toll processing companies, such as National Material Processing, can cover a wide range of services for their clients. This includes services such as slitting, configured blanking & stamping, cut-to-length processing, pickle & oil, galvanizing / galvannealing, product storage, shipping, , quality analysis, and more.

How to find the right toll processing company for you

When looking for a company to contract with, you should consider a few key factors. First, you should try to select a company that is reasonably located nearby in order to create supply chain savings. The quality of the team of professionals you’re going to work with, as they are going to become an extension of your business once you enter into a contract with them.

Your chosen toll processor will become the link between you, your customers, and your product, and this choice should not be taken lightly. You should choose a company that will not only make your manufacturing processes easier, but also a company that can reduce risk, add to your bottom line, and put you ahead of the competition. Review their quality assurance and control procedures, their supply chain management experience, and their track record.

If you believe your company can benefit from our toll processing services, please visit us at 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.