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.

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4 01, 2020

Steel Service Spotlight: National Material of Mexico

2020-04-01T21:22:12+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 […]

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 […]