6 08, 2020

Steel and Recycling: Fun Facts!

2020-08-06T19:53:22+00:00 August 6th, 2020|News Blog|

Here at National Material Company, we thought we’d pause, reflect, and share some good news and fun, interesting facts about the steel industry.

In 2016, Azo CleanTech reported that steel is the most recycled material in North America. The metal comes not only from cans but also from construction scraps, automobiles, and appliances, and it can be turned right back into steel that can be used in the same applications.

Recycling is at the core of the steel industry’s commitment to sustainability. According to steel.org, the North American steel-making furnaces “consume nearly 70 million tons of domestic steel scrap in the production of new steel.” By using steel scrap to make new steel, the North American steel industry conserves energy, emissions, raw materials, and natural resources. This commitment drives the reduction of steel’s environmental footprint, while producing advanced, highly-recycled steel products that meet an advancing society’s needs.

Here are some fun facts about steel and recycling:

  • Steel products can be recycled repeatedly without loss of strength.
  • Recycling steel saves the equivalent energy to power about 18 million households for a year.
  • More than 80 million tons of steel are recycled each year in North America.
  • For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
  • Almost 69 percent of all steel is recycled in North America each year – more than paper, aluminum, plastic, & glass combined. North America’s average steel recycling rate has been in excess of 60 percent since 1970.
  • More than 95 percent of the water used for making steel in North America is recycled.
  • One scrapped car produces more than four steel utility poles.
  • 95 percent of the steel taken from commercial construction demolition sites was recycled and made into new steel products in 2002.
  • 100 percent of a steel roof can be recycled. Asphalt roofs – zero percent. (Steel roofs provide your family with excellent protection against wind, water, snow, ice, and fire and are even hail-resistant. Asphalt roofs actually weigh twice as much as steel roofs. Steel roofs can last over 50 years, while traditional roofs last only 17 years!
  • Steel food cans are the most recycled food package. 24,000 community recycling programs in North America collect steel cans. Canned food is as nutritious as its fresh and frozen counterparts upon preparation! Canned goods do not contain preservatives!!
  • All 99 pounds of steel in the average major appliance can be recycled to make
    new steel products.

Also, according to Utah Recycles, there are many more encouraging examples of how the steel industry’s commitment to recycling is helping to save the planet. Steel only takes up to 100 years to fully decompose in a landfill, whereas it takes plastic 1000 years to break down (aluminum can take 200 years, tin can take decades)! Recycling steel takes 25% less energy and creates only 25% of the water and air pollution required to produce steel from raw materials. About 70% of all metal is […]

15 07, 2020

Steel Breakdown: Types, Classifications, and Numbering Systems

2020-07-15T20:37:01+00:00 July 15th, 2020|News Blog|

Metal processing machinery with orange sparks flying off in a spiral-like motion

In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at some of the most common categories of steel, what makes them different, and what to consider when deciding which type of steel is right for you.

Four Types of Steel

According to the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI), steel can be categorized into four basic groups based on the chemical compositions:
1. Carbon steel
2. Alloy steel
3. Stainless steel
4. Tool steel

All steel is composed of iron and carbon. It is the amount of carbon, and the additional alloys, that determine the properties of each grade. There are many different grades of steel that encompass varied properties. These properties can be physical, chemical, and environmental. Let’s take a closer look!

Carbon steels contain trace amounts of alloying elements and account for 90% of total steel production. Carbon steels can be further categorized into three groups depending on their carbon content:

● Low carbon steels/mild steels contain up to 0.3% carbon
● Medium carbon steels contain 0.3-0.6% carbon
● High carbon steels contain more than 0.6% carbon

Alloy steels contain alloying elements (e.g. manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, chromium, and aluminum) in varying proportions in order to manipulate the steel’s properties, such as its hardenability, corrosion resistance, strength, formability, weldability, or ductility. Applications for alloy steels include pipelines, auto parts, transformers, power generators, and electric motors.

Stainless steels generally contain between 10-20% chromium as the main alloying element and are valued for high corrosion resistance. With over 11% chromium, stainless steel is about 200 times more resistant to corrosion than mild steel. These steels can be divided into three groups based on their crystalline structure:

Austenitic: Austenitic steels are non-magnetic and non-heat-treatable, and generally contain 18% chromium, 8% nickel, and less than 0.8% carbon. Austenitic steels form the largest portion of the global stainless steel market and are often used in food processing equipment, kitchen utensils, and piping.
Ferritic: Ferritic steels contain trace amounts of nickel, 12-17% chromium, less than 0.1% carbon, along with other alloying elements, such as molybdenum, aluminum, or titanium. These magnetic steels cannot be hardened by heat treatment but can be strengthened by cold working.

Martensitic: Martensitic steels contain 11-17% chromium, less than 0.4% nickel, and up to 1.2% carbon. These magnetic and heat-treatable steels are used in knives and cutting tools, as well as dental and surgical equipment.

Tool steels contain tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, and vanadium in varying quantities to increase heat resistance and durability, making them ideal for cutting and drilling equipment.
Steel products can also be divided by their shapes and related applications:

Long/tubular products: These include bars and rods, rails, wires, angles, pipes, and shapes and sections. These products are commonly used in the automotive and construction sectors.

Flat products: These include plates, sheets, coils, and strips. These materials are mainly used in automotive parts, appliances, packaging, shipbuilding, and construction.
Other products include valves, fittings, and flanges and are mainly used as piping materials.


Types of steel can […]

15 06, 2020

How to Choose Your Toll Processor

2020-07-15T20:49:18+00:00 June 15th, 2020|News Blog, NMC Media|

3D rendering of various modes of transporation delivering steel coils.

Toll Processing and Cost Efficiency


Toll processing can be defined as performing a service on a customer’s product for a fee. In other words, the steel mill, end-user, or trading partner will make or purchase the material and ship the product to a processing facility. The processor will then work the material according to the customer specifications, then deliver the processed material to the destination directed by the customer.

The concept of outsourcing business support is a trend that is gaining in popularity. Company owners are making the decision to utilize toll processors primarily because it’s cost efficient. A materials processing service provider can move a project from the development stage all the way to full scale production. Also, a growing business might lack the facilities, manpower, storage space, or time required to process the necessary materials for their products, leading to shortfalls in efficiency and delivery. Additionally, toll processing service centers have experience and have made significant investments in equipment that can help take a project from concept to completion seamlessly.


Toll Processors as Consultants and Other Benefits of Toll Processing


As mentioned above, most companies choose to use a toll processor for cost efficiency. However, there are many additional benefits of having your steel products processed by a toll processing company. For example, toll processing companies can be very good consultants. Typically a “toller“ has processed a wide variety of materials under many conditions. This experience has curated a wealth of knowledge concerning the many twists and turns associated with processing various materials. Toll processors can offer the contracting company important information, including anticipating potential challenges that might be encountered when processing specific types of material. This information can prove very valuable in helping you to decide the best method in reaching your goals for a given size distribution, moisture content, or quality control procedure.

Other benefits of toll processing:

  • Faster time to completion.
  • Opportunity to expand your network by working with experienced professionals.
  • No capital investment or depreciation.
  • No detailed engineering requirements.
  • No floor space required.
  • No maintenance requirement.
  • No spare parts requirement.
  • No additional personnel required.
  • No new permits required for dust house discharge.
  • Quick turnaround times/no extended lead time for delivery or installation.
  • No advanced engineering skills necessary.
  • No additional permits.
  • No equipment-related maintenance expenses.
  • Freedom to adjust production levels at any time.

steel coils.

National Material Company: The Right Toll Processor for You

When looking for a company to contract with, consider a few key factors. Your chosen toll processor will become the link between you, your customers, and your product – a choice to not be taken lightly. Select 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. Your toll processor should have supply chain management experience, and have a quality assurance program and control procedures in place.

National Material Company (NMC) […]

14 05, 2020

EDI – Value-Added Benefits in the Steel Industry

2020-05-14T15:52:23+00:00 May 14th, 2020|News Blog|

A photograph of the electronic data, including 1s and 0s and a pastel blue and yellow outline/graphing system on a digital screen.

If your company takes part in supply chain processes, then you know how easy it is to lose control of the entire document flow and how important it is to have real-time access to reliable information regarding the delivery process. In traditional methods of business to business (b2b) communication, misunderstandings can often occur. Often, these misunderstandings are regarding collection and loading time, load capacity, product specificity, how the goods were packed and sent, and status of delivery. Manual entry data can result in incorrect documents, invoice totals can be erroneously entered, inaccurate invoice information can delay payment date, and delay receiving money to buy raw materials. Paper documents can become lost or filed in the wrong file and thus be difficult to find. Electronic data interchange, or, EDI, optimizes data exchange and management, and improves b2b communication and processes. EDI includes payment, invoices, delivery confirmation, delivery, packing, and ordering.

Like many other early information technologies, EDI was inspired by developments in military logistics. The complexity of military operations that required vast quantities of data and information about transported goods inspired the first innovations in large-scale communication, which later shaped the first TDCC (Transportation Data Coordinating Committee) standards in the United States. Among the first integrated systems using EDI were Freight Control Systems. An example of this is the London Airport Cargo EDP Scheme (LACES) at Heathrow Airport, London, in which a modem-like system would forward information to agents who would directly enter information into the customs processing system, reducing the time for clearance.

EDI provides a technical basis for automated commercial “conversations” between two entities, either internal or external. The term EDI encompasses the entire electronic data interchange process, including the transmission, message flow, document format, and software used to interpret the documents. EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners.

Each term in the definition is significant:

● Computer-to-computer – EDI replaces postal mail, fax, and email. While email is also an electronic approach, the documents exchanged via email must still be handled by people rather than computers. Having people involved slows down the processing of the documents and also introduces errors. Instead, EDI documents can flow straight through to the appropriate application on the receiver’s computer (e.g., the Order Management System) and processing can begin immediately.
● Business documents – These are any of the documents that are typically exchanged between businesses. The most common documents exchanged via EDI are purchase orders, invoices, and advance ship notices. But there are many, many others such as bills of lading, customs documents, inventory documents, shipping status documents, and payment documents.
● Standard format – Because EDI documents must be processed by computers rather than humans, a standard format must be used so that the computer will be able to read and understand the documents. A standard format describes what each piece of information […]

14 04, 2020

Automotive Steel Processing: AHSS and Galvanized Steel

2020-05-14T15:38:03+00:00 April 14th, 2020|News Blog|

Graphic image of a car silhouette with the words “Automotive Steel Processing: AHSS and Galvanized Steel” set above the car image.
Steel continues to be the frontrunner when it comes to car manufacturing because of its strong and dependable nature. According to worldsteel.org, there are several benefits of using steel in automotive production. Steel:

● Contains recycled steel and is endlessly recyclable.
● Has lower CO2 life cycle emissions than any other automotive material.
● Enables engineering of crash-resistant structures.
● Is a higher strength steel that enables lightweight vehicle construction that is stronger, safer, and more fuel-efficient
● Enables creative, flexible designs.
● Is easy to repair with existing techniques and equipment, making repairs more affordable.
● Is cost efficient compared to all other structural materials.

There are several common uses for steel in an automotive vehicle. Most of this steel is found in the skeletal body of the vehicle, often called the “body in white,” which is the foundation from which the rest of the vehicle is created.

The “body in white” of a car, also known as the car frame or skeleton.

Bumpers and Reinforcements

Bumpers are some of a vehicle’s first defenses against any major impact, thus they demand a very high level of force absorption. The durability and crash resistance of high strength steels make it a great option for bumper systems. Further driving its use is the ability to employ a thinner steel, promoting additional weight savings. UHSS bumpers are typically roll formed. For more detailed information on steel bumper systems for passenger cars and light trucks, visit this website: https://www.a-sp.org/-/media/doc/smdisteel/bumpers/smdi-steel-bumper-systems-manual-6th-edition—january-2019—final.ashx

There are many other areas of a car that need strong reinforcement. Sill reinforcements and cross-members, for instance, both require high energy absorption. Stiffness can be maintained when transitioning to thinner panels by changing the geometry of the parts. High strength steels are well suited for these forming challenges, with the reduced thickness leading to a lighter weight part.

Door Beams and Seating

Again, weight savings are a major consideration here. Side impact beams are now commonly made using the highest strength steels, leading to both increased safety and lighter weight products. While seats are not traditionally considered part of the Body-in-White, they are some of the heaviest items in a passenger vehicle. As such, they are prime candidates for lightweighting using high strength and durable steels.

Chassis and Frames

High-strength steel benefits the entire frame’s support capabilities. The chassis is subject to some of the most extreme stresses seen on any of a car’s parts, so it needs excellent fatigue resistance properties – such as those found in high-quality steel. Using high strength, high formability steels allows the vehicle designer the flexibility to create lightweight complex shapes while maintaining the structural integrity demanded by the application.

Rolls steel coils presented in an artistic way, with the coils in the foreground and background blurred out, favoring a sharp image of a shiny coil in the middle.


Advanced High Strength Steel

Forbes.com recently cited that […]