8 01, 2020

Galvanized Steel in The Agricultural Industry

2020-01-15T19:15:45+00:00 January 8th, 2020|News Blog|

Rows of planted crops on mounds of brown dirt that stretch towards the horizon line and meet a blue sky with clouds. In the middle of the picture are 5 white, transparent bubble logos with green designs in the middle, from right to left: a water drop, a farmer with a shovel, a tall stalk of wheat, a tractor, and a sun.

Metal and Farming:  A Perfect Match

 

The union of farming and metalworking has led to many of civilizations technological and agricultural developments. Before the invention of farming, most early civilizations existed as gatherers and hunters. Because farming created the conditions in which people could settle, it ultimately contributed to the building of modern society and culture. Farming, and the stability farming provided humanity, led to the benefits of modernity: technology, politics, literature, the arts, and culture. Metal, like farming, helped to tilt the balance of power between mankind and nature towards mankind. Human beings could finally subdue the natural elements around them, which, beforehand, they seemingly had little to no control over.

Before the union of farm work and metal, farmers had inefficient tools to contend with the harsh conditions. These medieval farms only produced somewhere between 4.34 seeds for each seed of wheat sown. Entire village populations were constantly on the brink of starvation. Metalworkers introduced the iron plow to farmers, who had been using the ineffectual wooden plow. The new iron plows could cut through the heavy northern European soil, even during winter frost. This mingling of metal and farm work, among other technological/intellectual developments, led to the Enlightenment era and a population boom that reshaped the social order.

A painting of oxen pulling a blue and brown plow across brown dirt; a bearded man in a blue tunic and brown pants follows behind, with both hands on the plow.

Today, the interaction between farming and metalworking continues to provide humanity with bountiful harvest. Although farms have become much more efficient, profit and competitive margins remain slim. Advances in metallurgy – like galvanized steel, are a keystone to modern farming operations by helping farmers to save time and money.

 

The Benefits of Galvanized Steel

 

Galvanized metal has been around for hundreds of years, although the methods for applying the zinc coating have become more sophisticated.

Galvanization improves steel’s longevity through a protective coating that prevents rust from forming. The process of hot-dip galvanizing creates a product with many benefits that other types of coatings don’t offer. For example, galvanized steel is:

  • Less expensive when compared with most treated steels.
  • Lower in maintenance cost than other coated metals – saving time on repairs and replacements.
  • Damage-resistant, very durable, and can withstand outdoor elements.
  • Self-healing in the way it’s coating provides automatic protection for damaged areas and will corrode preferentially to the steel, creating protection to the areas that are damaged.

Ready to use immediately upon delivery – it does not require additional preparation of the surface (painting/coatings, etc.) prior to installation.

A wide angle of four large galvanized agricultural grain bins on an overcast day.

Agricultural Galvanized Steel Advances

 

The longevity of galvanized steel is economical. It’s low maintenance enables farmers to spend their time running the farm. Galvanized steel can be found in virtually every area of a modern agricultural operation. Modern farmers—wise to the cost in savings by using this affordable, maintenance-free, rust-protected steel—use galvanized steel on fences, storage facilities, equipment, external structures, and for many other applications.

A man on a tractor with large wheels looks backwards at a row of green plants. The tractor pulls four plows that throw dust in the air and create wide divots in the soil. In the background is a green backdrop of a tree-speckled hill.

Today farmers are taking advantage of galvanized steel and galvanized high strength steel for agriculture in the following applications:

  • Feeding Equipment
  • Farm Tools
  • Fencing
  • Gates
  • Grain elevators and conveyors
  • Milk storage containers
  • Irrigation systems
  • Tractor parts
  • Veterinary Equipment
  • Wheel Hubs
  • Slotted Floors
  • Storage Racks
  • Outdoor buildings
  • Silo Extraction Equipment
  • Refrigeration Shelves
  • Watering Troughs
  • High Speed Freezing Equipment

National Material Company (NMC) is proud to offer high quality galvanized steel and galvanized Advanced High Strength Steel. The treatment with zinc offers long-lasting corrosion and rust-resistant alloy. For more information, visit our ‘Galvanized Steel’ page or  National Galvanizing’s website. National Material Company continues to further increase our leadership position in the domestic and international steel industry by providing high quality products ensuring the success of your next project.

 

About Parent Company National Material L.P. – With more than 3,000 employees from a multinational portfolio of companies, NMLP provides engineered metal products, which include aluminum extrusion and stainless steel rolled product companies, to automotive, aerospace, construction, defense, electrical, and industrial markets.

Visit National Material Company at: http://www.nationalmaterial.com,  contact us, or call (U.S.) 847-806-7200.

4 01, 2020

Steel Service Spotlight: National Material of Mexico

2020-02-11T00:36:36+00:00 January 4th, 2020|News Blog|

The official National Material Mexico Logo which consists of “NMM” written in large, silver 3-D letters with shadow effect to create depth, and underneath a backwards pyramid made up of four upside-down, golden trapezoids that gradually reduce in length until they reach a triangle point set in the forefront of a beautiful luminous winter mountain backdrop.

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”

–Helen Keller

National Material Company (NMC) has maintained continuity since its inception – never changing ownership or strategic focus. This has allowed NMC to become an industry leading company. It’s true that this longevity gives NMC a competitive edge in the steel service industry, but it’s also true that NMC’s leadership has not only been built across time, but across cultural boundaries. National Material of Mexico (NMM), a global partner in Mexico that not only leads the Mexican steel service but has recently undergone an exciting expansion of their facilities.

About National Material of Mexico

Both NMC and NMM are part of the National Material Limited Partnership (NMLP) steel division, which is one of the largest independent steel service centers in the United States. NMLP operates 16 steel service centers and processing facilities in North America and ships over 2,000,000 tons of steel annually.

National Material of Mexico is one of the largest Steel Service Centers in Mexico, serving the automotive, HVAC, home appliance, motor and transformer manufacturers in Mexico. A large portion of NMM’s success lies in its supply of ultra-light and ultra-strong Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) to the Mexican automotive business.

It provides all the AHSS grades as well as other material processing services with hot rolled, cold rolled, grain-oriented and non-oriented electrical steel, galvanized, galvannealed, aluminized, prepainted and other coated metals.

Like its northern partner, NMC, National Material of Mexico’s premier standing in the Mexican steel service industry relies not only on its efficiency at the plants, but also on a timely supply of all materials to clients.

With the National Material Limited Partnership as a constant support system, the companies create synergies and partnership that streamline processes with tangible benefits to the clients.

NMM locations and joint-venture locations include facilities in:

  • Monterrey
  • Hermosillo
  • San Jose Iturbide
  • Puebla
  • San Luis Potosi
  • Celaya
  • Aguascalientes

With these strategically placed service centers, NMM aims at a “Just-in-Time philosophy” for direct sales and toll processing.

Expansion & The Future of NMM

In 2017, National Material Company announced the expansion of their plants in Mexico for a twofold reason: first, to meet increased demand and second, to focus on the futuristic Advanced High Strength Steel that is going into cars. As VP General Manager Carl Grobien explains:

“We opened up this facility in 1997 with one slitter. Now, we have two slitters, one for electrical steel and one for carbon steel. After so many years, the first slitter is more than 100% full and with the new generation steel, AHSS or Advanced High Strength Steel, going in to automobiles, our steel now goes into lighter cars with better gas mileage. So AHSS are extremely strong, very hard: the equipment we are putting in is focused on the future of those types of requirements from the industry.”

Improvements to the NMM Monterrey Facility

In a large warehouse with a metal, gable roof supported by a row of metal columns, there are rows of rolled steel, held together with black straps and tagged with one yellow and one white rectangular sticker. Above and behind the rows of rolls, a large, yellow, elevated, metallic man-basket operates.

In Monterrey, the ambitious expansion project focused on a multi-dimensional improvement of the whole process. These improvements included:

  • Increase railcar capacity
  • Expanded modernized office space
  • Expanded steel processing area to accommodate AHSS slitter and new plant equipment
  • Increased intuitive traffic flow design
  • Weight tracking system for trucks

Total Installed Capacity

The total installed capacity in the expansion gives NMM more production power as well as capacity to produce the highly-sought AHSS. This new capacity includes:

  • 12 slitters/3 CTL lines: 1,040,000 tpy (tons per year)
  • 5 blanking lines: 300,000 tpy
  • Storage capacity: 338,000 tons
  • Total plant area: 105,000 sq. ft.
  • Total land area: 426,000 sq. ft.
  • Surface capability: exposed and non-exposed.

A True “National Material” Legacy

NMM began from humble beginnings in their Monterrey facility in Mexico 20 years ago, and since then the business has grown large enough to become a substantial part of the automotive supply chain in Mexico. Today, NMM has serviced more than 16 industries across Mexico. With their latest expansion, NMM has positioned itself to continue being the premier steel service leader in Mexico.

National Material Company continues the same legacy of excellence in the United States- confident in its synergies and associations with global partners like NMM. Their expansion shows the same courage and efficiency that characterizes all NMLP partner companies.

About National Material of Mexico- NMM is a subsidiary of National Material L.P., operating 16 steel service centers and processing facilities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and shipping over 2,000,000 tons of steel annually. National Material L.P. specializes in supplying, servicing, and processing steel with unmatched efficiency and capacity due to the company’s substantial list of capabilities. Proud to be minority-owned, ISO-certified and uncompromised in its safety standards for their employees, National Material of Mexico is a leader through efficiency, innovation, and performance. Visit National Material: http://www.nationalmaterial.com or call (U.S.) 847-806-7200.

4 01, 2020

AHSS Leads the Automotive Industry in 2020

2020-01-04T02:09:53+00:00 January 4th, 2020|News Blog|

A steel slitter running a fresh coil of steel through it in a steel processing plant.

No one has ever walked into a car dealership and said to the salesperson: “Hey, do you have anything made out of an unstable material?” When assembling vehicles, car manufacturers face a specific challenge: they need materials with seemingly contradictory properties: lightweight, but strong, and highly formable into rigid structures. This is a challenge in light of how metals deform.  The strains from forming accumulate into localized areas on the part, leading to excessive thinning known as “necking.”  These areas are thinner than the rest of the part, and are the most likely to have durability or fatigue problems during the vehicle life.  Higher strength materials are more likely to experience “necking” during the production process, which, in turn, creates an unstable part. Most would agree that would never be a good quality in a car.

Four photographs of steel at different stages during the tensile test: a) uniform deformation, b) diffuse necking, c) localized necking, and d) fracture.

The first antidote to this challenge was introduced in the 1980’s when the steel industry developed interstitial free (IF) steels. These steels have a microstructure primarily consisting of a single phase known as ferrite, which is iron with typically less than 50ppm carbon in an interstitial solid solution. It has a body-centered cubic (bcc) structure at room temperature.  ULC steels are highly formable, a desirable trait for auto companies that have a high demand for steel that can be molded into the new complex shape of cars.  However, these steels are relatively soft which makes them poor candidates for the automotive body structures that need to withstand increasingly stringent crash resistance requirements.  Steelmakers had to create new steel grades that combine mechanical strength with high ductility (the ability to undergo significant plastic deformation before rupture). Enter advanced high strength steel!

What is AHSS?

A sea of steel coils at one of National Material Company’s brightly lit North American steel processing facilities.

The metallurgy and processing of advanced high strength steel (AHSS) grades are somewhat novel compared to conventional steels. Their remarkable mechanical properties are the result of their unique processing and structure. They are classified into categories based on their microstructure or how they deform: dual phase (DP) steel, transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP) steel, complex phase (CP) steel, martensitic (MS) steel, ferritic bainitic (FB) steel, and twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP) steel. AHSS solves two distinct automotive needs by using two different groups of steels. The DP and TRIP grades of steel have increased values of the work hardening exponent. These possess higher strength levels with improved formability and crash-energy absorption compared to the current HSLA (High Strength, Low Alloy) grades. The CP and MS grades extend the availability of steel in strength ranges above the HSLA grades.

Additional steels are designed to meet specific process requirements. These include increased edge stretch flangeability, strengthening after forming, and improved bendability. By combining a number of different microstructures not traditionally found in conventional high strength steels and controlling the phase distribution, a wide range of properties are possible. This allows steel companies to tailor their processing to meet the ever-more focused application requirements demanded by the automotive industry.

Why is AHSS so beneficial for auto manufacturers?

Steel car frame 3D rendering with the words “AHSS Advanced High Strength Steel National Material Company”

AHSS is most advantageous when used for safety components of automobiles and their structural parts where high strength with reasonable ductility is important. AHSS has become the material of choice for passenger safety cage components like sill reinforcements, A-pillars, B-pillars, side impact beams, waistline reinforcements, bumpers, and roof bows. Advanced high strength steel has also been introduced in all other vital areas of the automotive industry, like seats. Many new cars are already composed of 30% – 40% AHSS. The high strength of AHSS is a useful tool to reduce the weight of bumper systems, door side impact beams, seat structures, etc. The advantages of using AHSS are evident in all types of automobiles. Small cars benefit from greatly improved crash safety while heavier cars, like SUVs, can be made much more fuel efficient. There has been a smooth and cost-efficient transition from mild steels, or conventional high strength steels. The qualities of AHSS make it a leading success factor behind improvements the automotive industry.

AHSS in 2020: towards a clean future

Advanced high strength steel is beneficial for several reasons including:

  • A decreased carbon-footprint. AHSS is strong, light, and produced with a reduced life cycle impact – helping automakers decrease a vehicle’s life-long carbon footprint.
  • Fewer e The use of AHSS contributes to a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. New grades of advanced high strength steels enable carmakers to reduce vehicle weight by 25-39% compared to conventional steel. When applied to a typical five-passenger family car, the overall weight of the vehicle is reduced by 170 to 270 kg, which corresponds to a lifetime saving of 3 to 4.5 tons of greenhouse gases over the vehicle’s total life cycle.
  • Electric v Like most automotive manufacturers, the producers of electrical vehicles favor AHSS over aluminum because it’s strong and cost effective. Electric vehicles are gaining  widespread popularity due to their high-performing nature, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. AHSS is leading the way towards a clean and green future.

A symbol for an electric car with a green electrical cord and plug circling a green car.

NMC’s commitment to AHSS and the future

At National Material Company, we are committed to the processing of advanced high strength steel. We support a variety of AHSS types: Dual Phase, Martensitic, Complex Phase, Trip Steel, and Press Hardened Steel. NMC operates slitting, pickling and cut-to-length steel processing facilities which serve the needs of the steel industry and prominent industrial and consumer product manufacturers.

Steel service center National Material of Mexico (NMM) expanded their facilities in order to meet customer demands for AHSS. NMM invested in their slitting capacity by purchasing the Red Bud AHSS Wide Slitting Line. The Red Bud steel slitter is specifically designed to manufacture and process ultra-high tensile material.

National Material Company’s commitment to the future of steel, the automotive industry, and the planet allows them to continue their legacy as a top steel service center.

About National Material Company L.P. – With more than 3,000 employees from a multinational portfolio of companies, NMLP provides engineered metal products which include aluminum extrusion and stainless steel rolled product companies to supply automotive, aerospace, construction, defense, electrical, and industrial markets. Request a quote online or give us a call (U.S.) 847-806-7200.