Steel is one of the most widely used alloys and is comprised of carbon (less than 2%) and manganese (1%). Other small amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, and oxygen are also present. Steel is an integral component to almost all forms of production and construction, ranging from surgical equipment to household items.
This type of metal is 100% recyclable, and steel products last for approximately 40 years. It is produced from either the Blast Furnace Basic Oxygen Route (BF-BOF) or from the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) route. Both of these routes contribute to the production of crude steel. The Blast Furnace Basic Furnace Oxygen Route utilizes the following to manufacture crude steel:
- Iron ore
- Steel scrap
The Electric Arc Furnace Method utilizes all of these and electricity for crude steel manufacturing.
Since the magnetic properties remain unchanged, this metal can be continuously recycled. Recycled steel can serve as input for BF-BOF and EAP methods, contributing to the production of many new steel products. They contain approximately 37% of recycled steel. Because of its lightweight structure, cost efficiency, corrosion resistance, and energy efficiency, steel is used in almost every type of building and construction process. Applications constructed with this material include:
- Buildings and infrastructure
- Metal products
- Mechanical/electrical equipment
- Domestic appliances
Types of Steel Alloys
There are more than 3,500 grades of steel that are integral to engineering and construction projects. All contain forms of sulphur, phosphorus, and manganese. Manganese is beneficial to steel’s sustainability; however, too much phosphorus and sulphur in the alloy can have detrimental effects on steel’s durable properties.
There are four categories of this material:
Carbon Steels are used in 90% of steel production and contain trace elements of alloy products. They are classified into three subcategories: low, medium, and high. Low carbon steels contain up to 0.3% carbon, medium steels contain 0.3-0.6% carbon, and high steels contain more than 0.6%. They can be formed into a variety of shapes, ranging from Flat Sheet to Structural Beam.
Alloy Steels are used for pipelines, transformers, auto parts, power generators, and electric motors. Heat applications soften the material for welding and cutting applications. They contain:
Stainless Steels are extremely resistant to corrosion, due to its high chromium content (10-20%). They are grouped into three subcategories, based on crystalline molecular structure:
- Austenitic (piping, kitchen utensils)
- Ferritic (automotive, appliances, industrial equipment)
- Martensitic (cutting tools, dental, and surgical equipment)
Tool Steels are durable and heat resistant. The addition of tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, and vanadium makes the raw material suitable for the production of dental and surgical equipment.
Learn More About Using Steel Alloys for Your Next Project
At Keats Manufacturing Company, we provide custom steel metal stamping. Since 1958, we have produced assortments of components for industries ranging from aerospace and automotive industries to communications, construction, medical, and military industries.
Primary steel alloys we use in the custom stamping process:
- 1008 /1010 – Cold Rolled Steel / Low Carbon / Usually cold formed and post plated
- 1050 – Annealed Spring Steel / Considered High Carbon for us / Usually heat treated after stamping – Used for clips mostly
- 1075 – Annealed Spring Steel / Considered High Carbon for us / Usually heat treated after stamping – Used for clips mostly
- HSLA – (High Strength Low Alloy)
We engineer our tool and die sets in-house and frequently work with high-volume production projects. We offer multi-slide and full-slide stamping, which is best suited for complex bending operations for metal parts. We also offer full-service customer metal stamping (heat treating, plating, e-coating, screw insertion, tape and reel). Our focus is on quality control as we strive to customize stamping parts to clients’ specifications, budget, and turnaround time.
To learn more about our products or if you’d like to get started on your steel alloy project, contact us today and a member of our team will walk you through all the details.