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21 03, 2019

History of Galvanized Steel in the Automotive Industry

2019-04-12T01:54:39+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, creating a sacrificial protection to the areas that are damaged.
  • Galvanized steel is immediately ready to use when delivered. It does not require additional preparation of the surface, inspections, painting/coatings, etc.

NMC is proud to offer the highest quality galvanized steel coated with zinc to create a long-lasting corrosion and rust-resistant alloy. For more information, visit our ‘Galvanized Steel’ page or our National Galvanizing website. National Material Company continues to further increase our leadership position in the domestic and international steel industry by providing the highest quality products you need to ensure the success of your next project.

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

5 02, 2019

Advanced High-Strength Steel Rules the Road in 2019

2019-02-05T17:59:41+00:00 February 5th, 2019|News Blog, NMC Media|

Advanced High-Strength Steel is a new generation of steel revolutionizing the automotive industry. The widespread use of advanced high-strength steel doesn’t seem to be slowing down as we move into 2019. This high-performance material offers high-strength and low weight, all while maintaining formability that is crucial to the automotive manufacturing process.

Strong and dependable, steel continues to be the frontrunner when it comes to car manufacturing. A recent survey showed that steel is the preferred material in automobiles, with 90% of consumers saying they believe steel is stronger than other materials used by automakers. 75% said that a car’s crash safety, and other safety features, were the most important factors when buying or leasing a vehicle.

Various automotive manufacturers have announced intentions to increase their use of AHSS in automobiles, and several 2019 and 2020 models made with higher proportions of the advanced high-strength steel have already been unveiled.

Close-up of a sliver luxury car, illuminated in a dark garage. The steel curves of the car catch the soft, warm light.

SUV’s

Source: Repairer Drive News

Last month, a large automotive manufacturer “…revealed its brand-new “flagship” three-row SUV, describing a steel body with a 13.7 percent higher average tensile strength than its next-generation 2019 coupe.”

The article continues to highlight the SUV’s new build, saying it has “…a very rigid structure, with strategic use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) in key suspension and crash areas to provide increased tensile-strength. Use of Advanced High Strength Steel has several benefits: lighter overall vehicle weight and greater vehicle strength and rigidity without the excessive costs of more exotic lightweight materials.”

The SUV “…is expected to achieve TSP+ from the IIHS and a 5-star NHTSA rating. Robust underbody and side structures are designed to increase energy absorption and cabin intrusion in a severe collision, especially in the small overlap test. Further, its underbody uses multiple load paths to better disperse potential crash energy in the event of a collision.’”

Sedan

Source: Repairer Drive News

Another automotive manufacturer announced that “The 2019 sedan model ‘strengthens its bones’ for its third generation, describing a body made up of 54 percent advanced high-strength steel.”

The vehicle also added “hot-stamped components”, a reference likely to indicate ultra-high-strength steels.

This new configuration is likely to restrict what auto body shops can do to the popular sedan. Higher-strength steels tend to carry heat, sectioning and repair restrictions because of their metallurgy or role in crash protection.

“Because body stiffness plays a major role in NVH performance, engineers worked to increase rigidity for a quieter cabin and better handling tuned to match the car’s sporty and dynamic exterior appearance, resulting in a 16 percent stiffer body in white,” the automotive manufacturer wrote in a news release Wednesday.

“New subframe designs help to improve lateral responsiveness, while steering feel is upgraded compared to its predecessor’s thanks to enhancements within the Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS) system that reduce artificial steering feel and friction.”

Throughout the last year, we shared information on the various types of AHSS products, including DP Steel, TRIP, Complex Phase, and more.  The widespread use of advanced high-strength steel doesn’t seem to be slowing down as we move into 2019.

Are you excited as we are to see how AHSS develops? Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date with news about National Material and the steel industry at large!

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

15 01, 2019

America’s Premier Forum on Minority Supplier Development: NMSDC Conference 2018

2019-01-15T18:27:52+00:00 January 15th, 2019|News Blog, NMC Media|

2018 NMSDC Conference program cover art of swooping pastel paint brush strokes“The very identity of the American people – culturally and ethnically – is evolving quickly. That points to a transformative future, especially for minority-owned businesses in national and global supply chains. NMSDC has the tools, the connections and the vision to help you find your place in that future.” Says Adrienne Trimble, President & CEO, National Minority Supplier Development Council. “We are supported by 1,595 corporate members, serving them and 12,000 certified minority businesses. The total economic impact of NMSDC’s MBEs exceeds $400 billion dollars, tied to the creation of 2.3 million jobs.”

Chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes, The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)  is the global leader in advancing business opportunities for its certified Asian, Black, Latin, and Native American business enterprises and connecting them to member corporations.

The NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange is the nation’s premier forum on minority supplier development. For four days, more than 6,000 corporate CEOs, procurement executives and supplier diversity professionals from the top multinational companies, as well as leading Asian, Black, Latin, and Native American business owners and international organizations convened in Austin, Texas to re-energize their collective efforts to certify, develop, connect, and advocate for solid minority firms in the global corporate supply chain.

This “MBE event of the year” featured more than 20 targeted sessions and workshop, a one-day Business Opportunity Exchange with more than 700 exhibit booths, a black-tie awards banquet and, of course, endless opportunities to network.

2018 conference highlights included:

  • MetLife-supported Emerging Young Entrepreneurs program’s intensive workshop
  • U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, kicking off its annual National Minority Enterprise Development Week
  • NFL star and real estate entrepreneur Emmitt Smith speaking at the conference’s opening breakfast
  • Wells Fargo’s announcement of its sponsorship of NMSDC’s CEO Academy program
  • The Business Opportunity Exchange, a unique, national trade fair with more than 700 booths showcasing corporations and minority business enterprises looking to connect and extend their business dealings with one another
  • NMSDC’s Corporate Plus® program featuring some of its most successful corporate members, including Fortune 500 MasTec and the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, EQT

To meet the growing need for supplier diversity, NMSDC matches its more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to our network of more than 1,750 corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services and solutions. NMSDC, a unique and specialized player in the field of minority business enterprise, is proud of its unwavering commitment to advance Asian, Black, Latin, and Native American suppliers in a globalized corporate supply chain. For more information, visit www.NMSDC.org.

National Material Company is proudly certified as an MBE supplier of steel manufacturing

National Material Company has been attending the annual NMSDC Conference for decades, and was awarded the prestigious Supplier Partner Award for 2015 by the company Meritor, who presented to partners who “achieved excellence in quality, delivery, cost savings, and innovation in fiscal year 2015.” This award marks the continued growth of National Material’s role as a major supplier within the automotive industry, a trend which continues through 2018 and beyond. With headquarters in Troy, Michigan, Meritor specializes in supplying high quality automotive products and is a globally leading supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.

Members of the NMC team standing in front of their booth at the 2018 NMSDC conference

NMC team members in Austin, Texas attending the 2018 NMSDC Conference

Why partner with a certified MBE?

  • Better quality products, services, and solutions as a result of a diverse supply base
  • Showcases the company’s support of the economic growth of all communities
  • Demonstrates a commitment to new thinking and ideas
  • Certification ensures minority eligibility is established through screenings, interviews, and site visits

Visit the National Material Company website for more information on MBE or

contact Wendell Davis, NMC’s Manager of Minority Business Development:

Phone: (847) 806-4742 | Email: mailto:wdavis@nmlp.com

9 12, 2018

National Material Partner Taber Extrusions Shaping the Future of Aluminum Extrusions

2018-12-30T21:58:45+00:00 December 9th, 2018|News Blog, NMC Media|

National Material L.P. and its metal service centers have a long history of quality and service dating back to 1964. Since its founding, N.M.L.P. 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. Today, we tip our hat to Taber Extrusions, as we recognize this aluminum extrusion company for their expanded capabilities and flawless teamwork.

Taber Extrusions, located in Russellville, Arkansas is a highly regarded full-service provider of aluminum extrusions to a wide variety of industries including aerospace, transportation, defense, and thermal management. Taber has completed the relocation and start-up of the recently acquired micro-extrusion press lines. ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified, Taber’s present and future customers can expect to see increased supply opportunities with the expanded set of extrusion solutions, programs, and services.

“It’s about having all the different capabilities we can to meet the extrusion end users growing needs,” states Jason Weber, Taber Extrusions Vice President of Sales and Marketing, in a recent article by Light Metal Age Magazine. “One of the taglines we use is ‘Shaping Endless Possibilities.’ With the extensive variety of extruded shapes Taber produces—from micro-extrusions to wide profiles and everything in between—Taber embodies that message.”

Taber Extrusion’s Gulfport casthouse in background with artistic overlay showing various sized billets.

This couldn’t be more true as Taber also announces the planned addition of 7” billet molds to Taber’s existing extrusion billet casting facility in Gulfport, MS. Taber’s addition of the 7” molds further enhances Taber’s existing offering of extruded aluminum billet products to Taber’s newly refurbished Gulfport Casthouse. 7” extrusion log will be available for delivery beginning in January 2019.

The addition of the 7” molds complements the existing 8”, 9”, 11”, 16”, and 20” diameter molds. The various diameters of extrusion billet will be available in 6063 and 6061 alloy chemistries as well as specialized chemistries upon request. “Taber is excited to offer extrusion logs to our fellow extruders,” adds Weber. The Gulfport Casthouse is uniquely situated with port access as well as easy access to industrial scrap. These input factors coupled with the recently refurbished casting equipment with the LARS® in-line degassing and purification system supplies billet chemistries and consistencies which rival those of larger billet producers.

If you have any questions please visit taberextrusions.com or contact one of Taber’s Regional Sales Managers.

Follow Taber Extrusions
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/taberextrusions/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Looking for a partner as strong as you are?

Founded in 1964, National Material Company L.P. offers 50+ years of leadership in supplying, processing and servicing the metal manufacturing needs of diverse industries. With processing facilities and service centers in the U.S. and Mexico, NMC is strategically located to deliver its substantial capabilities.

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.