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11 10, 2019

Galvanized Steel: Types, Uses, Benefits.

2019-11-01T14:10:28+00:00 October 11th, 2019|News Blog|

Part of an ongoing series on Galvanized Steel

Mosaic-style background of various galvanized steel textures with the words “Galvanized Steel: Types, Uses, Benefits” in the foreground.

What is Galvanizing?

Galvanizing, or galvanization, is a manufacturing process where a coating of zinc is applied to steel or iron to offer protection and prevent rusting. There are several galvanizing processes available, but the most commonly offered and used method is called hot-dip galvanizing. 

Galvanized steel is among the most popular steel types because of its extended durability, having the strength and formability of steel plus the corrosion protection of the zinc-iron coating. The zinc protects the base metal by acting as a barrier to corrosive elements, and the sacrificial nature of the coating results in a long-lasting and high-quality steel product. 

This versatility makes it applicable to a variety of projects and industries, including agriculture, solar, automotive, construction, and so on. Below, we aim to provide a comprehensive description of how galvanized steel is processed, different galvanization methods, its benefits, and how it is used in these various industries.

The steps in the galvanizing process are as follows:

  • The steel is cleaned in a degreasing solution
  • After being cleaned, the steel is pickled by being lowered into a vat of diluted hot sulfuric acid
  • The steel is then fluxed in an aqueous solution (typically zinc-ammonium chloride)
  • After the flux, the steel is galvanized through immersion in a vat of molten zinc
  • Afterward, the steel is inspected for consistency and a complete coating
A worker at National Galvanizing donning full safety gear as he stirs a molten zinc bath with stack of zinc ingots in the foreground.

What are the advantages of galvanized steel?

Many different industries utilize galvanized steel primarily because it has such a wide array of benefits for industries to take advantage of, including having:

Low initial cost compared to most treated steels. In addition, galvanized steel is immediately ready to use when delivered. It does not require additional preparation of the surface, inspections, painting/coatings, etc. sparing companies more costs on their end.

Longer life. With galvanization, a piece of industrial steel is expected to last more than 50 years in average environments, and can last over 20 years with severe water exposure. There is no maintenance required. The increased durability of the steel’s finished product also increases the product’s reliability.

The sacrificial anode ensures that any damaged steel is protected by the surrounding zinc coating. It doesn’t matter if the steel section is completely exposed; the zinc will still corrode first. The coating will corrode preferentially to the steel, creating a sacrificial protection to the areas that are damaged.

Rust resistance from the zinc coating. The iron elements in steel are incredibly prone to rusting, but the addition […]

22 07, 2019

An Overview of U.S. Steel Service Center National Material L.P.

2019-09-12T18:26:00+00:00 July 22nd, 2019|News Blog|

An image depicting a map of the different locations of NMLP steel service centers in the U.S, with the text An Overview of U.S. Steel Service Center National Material imposed on a blue background.

You know National Material Company as a company that specializes in supplying, servicing and processing steel with unmatched efficiency. We operate steel processing facilities and service centers throughout the U.S. and Mexico to serve your manufacturing needs in a wide variety of markets.

But the full scope of NMC’s parent company, National Material L.P, is much larger.  NMLP and its affiliates have a long history of quality and service dating back to 1964.  NMLP serves many industries throughout the globe and is one of the largest suppliers of steel in America. With over 30 business units, this families’ capabilities go beyond just steel service.

Here, we will provide a brief overview of National Material’s family of companies, separated into six categories – steel service centers, steel processing facilities, stainless steel and alloy manufacturing, aluminum manufacturing, raw material trading, and related operations.

Steel Service Centers

The NMLP Steel Group includes National Material Company, National Material of Mexico, and Interstate Steel Company. Together, these three companies have made NMLP a well-recognized leader servicing the needs of the steel industry and leading industrial and consumer product manufacturers by means of nineteen specialized processing facilities located throughout North America.

National Material Company operates ten steel service facilities and is the family’s premiere steel manufacturer in the U.S. NMC specializes in supplying, servicing and processing the following: Hot Rolled, Cold Rolled and Cold Rolled Motor Lamination Steel, Oriented and Non-Oriented Electrical Steel, and Galvanized, Galvannealed, Aluminized and other coated metals.

National Material of Mexico operates seven steel servicing locations between partners and wholly owned facilities. NMM is the premier processor in Mexico for a variety of steel products, from uncoated non-exposed to coated exposed carbon steel in slit, sheet or blank form, in all steel grades available on the market, including all types of AHSS steel grades.

An impressive, fire-engine red piece of machinery known as a Red Bud Slitter housed in NMM’s brightly lit manufacturing facility, as part of their advanced high-strength steel slitting line.

Interstate Steel Company is a division of National Material Company and provides highly engineered pre-painted products. ISC also specializes in processed cold rolled & galvanized products. Interstate Steel’s capabilities include precision high speed slitting of surface critical products.

Steel Processing

National Material Processing operates three slitting and two pickling and cut-to-length steel processing facilities and was the first steel processor to introduce a push-pull pickle line in the Indiana Harbor area. NMP specializes in the processing of heavy gauge, hot rolled carbon steel up to .500″ (1.27cm) thick and offers precision slitting, cut-to-length and advanced PRO-ECO, hydrochloric acid pickling services.

Interstate Steel Processing (ISP) is a premier national distributor of flat rolled steel […]

28 04, 2019

What is Precision Slitting?

2019-05-29T23:23:00+00:00 April 28th, 2019|News Blog|

A detailed shot of a steel slitting machine in one of National Material’s steel processing facilities.

In the metal processing world, every new contract comes as a new and customized challenge. Increased demand for steel coils with finer width and length parameters have ushered in an era of more robust precision slitting – with technological advancements in slitting equipment, software, and tooling practices fueling the wave.

Slitting is a metal manufacturing process wherein a coil of material, such as aluminum or steel, is slit into the lengths and widths specified by the end application. As the material runs through the machine, the steel rolls are moved through extremely sharp circular blades, making the cuts. In order to make the slice, substantial compressive forces must be applied – and when the forces exceed the tensile strength of the material, it slices. The end product is long strips of material cut to the buyer’s specifications.

A steel slitting machine is comprised of three major parts – the uncoiler, the slitter, and the recoiler. In order to ensure that the quality of the process is optimized, each element must be precisely aligned during setup.

National Material’s breadth of slitting capabilities is of tremendous value to our customers, who know that we have the right equipment to  process their orders on time and to the right specifications. Our customers appreciate the high level of precision and quality we offer in our slitting process, as it eliminates the excess material waste that can be produced by their own manufacturing processes creating real value.

Finished slit steel coils that have been rewound and are preparing for shipment

National Material processes hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized steel for a wide variety of gauges and lengths.

Our slitting lines offer the following benefits:

  • Reduced time-to-delivery
  • Reduced scrap
  • Reduced costs
  • Streamlined material flow

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

Visit National Material: http://www.nationalmaterial.com or call (U.S.) 847-806-7200, Diana Pulido.

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.