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

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.

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 of zinc acts as a protective buffer between the steel and any moisture or oxygen. Galvanized steel is very protective, including sharp corners and recesses that couldn’t be protected with other coatings, making it resistant to damage.

Different methods of galvanizing

As stated above, there are several different processes for galvanizing steel.

Hot-Dip Galvanizing

The first and foremost method for galvanization is hot-dip galvanizing. The process is very similar to what the name suggests! In this method, steel or iron is dipped in a molten pool of zinc that maintains a temperature of around 860°F (460 °C). This molten bath begins a metallurgical bond between the zinc and the receiving metal. After the metal is pulled from the bath, it reacts to being exposed to the atmosphere, and the pure zinc mixes with oxygen to form zinc oxide. The zinc-oxide further reacts to carbon dioxide and forms zinc carbonate, which makes up the final protective coating on the material. The tell-tale sign of a hot-dipped galvanized material is the presence of a crystalline-like pattern on the surface, sometimes referred to as “spangle.”

A stage-style backdrop with spotlights shining towards a graphic illustration of 8 different galvanized steel textures – smooth, glossy, mosaic, crystalline, and brushed – with the words “Spangle” above the illustration.

The hot-dipped galvanizing method is an economical choice that can be quickly executed on both simple and complex shapes. 

The new coated material can be worked and machined in a similar fashion to uncoated materials. Galvanized steel can be used in high-temperature applications up to 392 °F, but use in temperatures exceeding that level will cause the zinc-carbonate layer to peel off. 

Galvannealing

Galvannealing is the outcome of combining the annealing and hot-dip galvanizing processes in order to produce a specialized coating on steel. The process of galvanization is performed via hot-dipping and instantaneous annealing, which produces a matte gray finish.

Galvannealed steel is a zinc-iron alloy product, where the base metal is coated by the hot-dip process, then heated to induce alloying between the molten zinc coating and the steel. The resulting finish is a dull matte surface. Galvannealed steel is conducive to welding and the surface is excellent for paint adhesion.

Pre-galvanizing

Also similar to the hot-dip galvanizing method, but performed at the very first stage of production. Pre-galvanizing is a process that involves rolling the sheet metal through a cleaning agent to quickly prime material for galvanizing. Then, the metal is passed through a pool of molten liquid zinc and is immediately recoiled. The primary advantage of this method is that coils of steel sheet can be rapidly galvanized on a large scale with a more unified coating than the traditional hot-dipped method.

Electrogalvanizing

The most unique of these outlined methods, electrogalvanizing does not involve dipping the material in a molten vat of zinc. Instead, an electric current is introduced to an electrolyte solution that is applied to the steel, which reduces positively charged zinc ions to zinc metal – which is then deposited on the positively charged steel. Like pre-galvanizing, this method is typically done at the first stage of production.

Galvanizing advanced high-strength steel

For more information about the galvanization process for advanced high-strength steel, as well as our partner National Galvanizing, please click here.

What industries utilize galvanized steel?

Galvanized metals are used everywhere!

The bodies of cars and many bicycles are made from galvanized metals. Some drinking water pipes are still made from galvanized steel. Cool rolled sheet metal is also frequently galvanized. Nuts, bolts, tools, and wires of all kinds are now galvanized because it is a cheap process, and helps boost the metal’s lifespan!

Galvanized steel, in particular, is often what is used in modern “steel frame” buildings. Galvanized steel is also used to create structures like balconies, verandahs, staircases, ladders, walkways, and more. Galvanized metal is the ideal choice if your project will live outside after it’s done. Fences, roofs, outdoor walkways, these are all great choices for galvanized metal!

  • Wind & solar industries – Solar projects must have a continuous workflow once installed and any repairs/maintenance results in disruption to service (a.k.a. revenue loss). This means that hot-dipped galvanized steels are popular in solar projects for their corrosion protection. It is also popular for its ‘environmental’ friendliness because it does not produce emissions and ensures decades without maintenance. For example, it is often utilized in the agriculture industry because the equipment is susceptible to being easily corroded, creating a demand for tougher, more resilient equipment. Hot-dip galvanized steel provides corrosion protection that can often last for decades, even when exposed to the harsh environment of farming.
Mosaic-style background of various galvanized steel textures with the words, “Galvanized Steel Industries” and flat white icons representing wind, solar, automotive, construction, and telecommunication.
  • Automotive industry – Though only used on luxury models up until the 1980s, the use of zinc-coated bodies for automobiles is now the norm 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 it can provide ‘anti-rust warranties’ to customers.
  • Construction industry – Whether for residential or commercial, the durability of galvanized steel has made it popular for over a century in the construction industry. It is also selected for construction because of its aesthetics; The ‘shine’ that galvanized steel provides gives it a contemporary feel and is popular in modern architectural designs. Also, it isn’t just used for large structural pieces but things like fencing, gutters, rails, tubing, poles, and much more.
  • Telecommunication industry – Phone lines are not an easy maintenance job, they are tall and often difficult to reach. Hot-galvanized steel can be used on phone wiring and equipment boxes which decreases the risk of damage and need for maintenance at all.

Well, there you have it! With our partner Heidtman Steel, National Galvanizing  runs a 245,000-square-foot facility, featuring pickling, galvanizing, galvannealing, and slitting, all in one location, convenient to major markets. This combination of capabilities provides our customers with unparalleled responsiveness to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s market.

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. Request a Quote Online or give us a call (U.S.) 847-806-7200

25 09, 2019

MBE Steel Companies – What Are The Benefits?

2019-11-01T13:57:51+00:00 September 25th, 2019|News Blog|

An artistic presentation of a tree; the leaves replaced by an array of colorful human fingerprints and the words “Certified Minority Business Enterprise” are in the forefront.

National Material Company is the largest certified MBE Metal Supplier in the U.S., NMC is devoted to creating diverse partnerships with the intention of fostering growth and initiating long-term positive economic impact within the communities we live and work. Before we talk about the advantages of being a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) – let’s answer a few key questions and provide some quick facts:

What is a minority business enterprise?

A minority business enterprise is a business that is at least 51% minority-owned operated and controlled.

MBE quick facts:

· Supplier diversity began in the late 1960s during the civil rights movement to ensure the inclusion of minority businesses in the marketplace. · The purpose of The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is to function as a third-party verification for MBE qualification.

· Over 100 billion dollars is spent with certified MBE’s each year.

· Minority eligibility is established through screenings, interviews, and site visits.

Cultural diversity in the workplace benefits company productivity and quality of service to customers. Each employee brings a unique perspective to the table. Combine this with encouragement, open collaboration and idea sharing, and you have a progressive business built on passion and creativity.

A culturally diverse group of business people happily smiling around a desk.

NMC began as a minority-owned and operated company with a vision of an inspired and creative workforce, driven by camaraderie. Neither the ownership or focus has changed since the beginning. Employees frequently state that NMC “feels like a family.” We focus on maintaining high employee involvement in brainstorming and planning.

In a company where everyone has a voice, employee morale is boosted. Employees of NMC enjoy going to work where they know they can be leaders and share their unique ideas and skills. A strong, creative workforce means strong, creative products.

Why partner with a certified MBE?

  • Certification ensures minority eligibility is established through screenings, interviews, and site visits.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to new thinking and ideas. 

Why are leading U.S. manufacturers committed to supplier diversity?

  • Billions of dollars in goods and services are sourced annually from minority, women, and veteran- owned businesses.
  • Supplier diversity creates a long-term and sustainable economic impact in the communities in which we live, work, and serve.
  • Working with diverse companies promotes growth, collaboration, and new ideas that have a positive long-term impact on the economy.
  • Minority- owned business certification helps companies tap into a wide array of public and private sector programs.

Interested in certification? The National Minority Supplier Development Council is one of the countries’ leading corporate membership organizations, committed to helping you solve the growing need for supplier diversity. Contact Wendell Davis, our Manager of Minority Business Development, for more information. Phone: (847) 806-4742 | Email: wdavis@nmlp.com

30 07, 2019

NMC’s Steel Processing Capabilities

2019-09-12T20:08:50+00:00 July 30th, 2019|News Blog, NMC Media|

As the leader in steel processing capabilities, supply chain management, and inventory control, NMC is the perfect choice for any customer in search of the best experience possible. A dedicated work force, state-of-the-art slitters, cut-to-length lines and warehouse storage capabilities make NMC the premiere steel manufacturing company in North America. Locations throughout The United States and Mexico offer a logistic advantage resulting in a more efficient service to conserve our customer’s most valuable resource: cost.

NMC’s Steel Processing Capabilities Infographic