The Many Uses of Steel Today

For centuries, steel has been an essential material for everything from office skyscraper to swords, and steel experienced a real boost in the 19th century. At that time, steel production became mass production, such as Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills, and today, steel is relevant as ever. The world produces many millions of tons of this metal, and some particular countries are known for importing or exporting a lot of it. Steel is not just a hunk of metal, however; for preparation, shipping, and machining, steel can be made in certain ways. Steel suppliers may offer a cold rolled steel sheet, for example, and cold rolled steel prices may vary based on the steel supplier. Sheet piling companies may also be contacted if needed, and cold rolled steel may be attractive indeed for some buyers. Just what is a cold rolled steel sheet? And what about the steel industry as a whole?

Steel Today

There is no doubt that steel is a major industry today, more than ever. Various nations around the world produce this metal, and as of 2016, over 16 billion tons of it were manufactured, often in steel-heavy nations such as Canada and China. The United States, meanwhile, both produces and uses a massive amount of this metal for anything from construction to utensils to the automotive industry. As of February 2018, the United States produced nearly 1.751 billion net tons of steel, and around 43% of all American steel shipments in 2016 were for the construction industry. The United States also imports a lot of steel, such as from China and Canada. In fact, Canada’s single biggest steel customer is its southern neighbor, the United States.

Steel can be used in the United States for many industries, ranging from construction (such as I-beams) to building cars and trucks (the automotive industry) to making surgical equipment or kitchen utensils or even pipes. Now and in times past, the United States manufactured and used a lot of this metal. Back in the 1920s, the United States was the world leader in steel, producing around 40% of the world’s steel and iron at the time. Even today, the United States is a major steel user, and countless thousands of Americans are employed by industries that make heavy use of steel, or make the steel itself. Best of all, steel is easy to recycle, and nearly 90% of all materials recycled today are steel, such as old shipping containers.

A Cold Rolled Steel Sheet

Just what is a cold rolled steel sheet in today’s steel industry? For those not aware, according to O’Neal, a cold rolled steel sheet is in fact a hot rolled steel sheet being further treated. A cold rolled steel sheet is being treated for its strength as well as its strength-to-weight ratio. This can further enhance its tolerances during machining and fabricating, which may be essential for manufacturers today. What is more, cold rolling can smooth out and enhance the surface of the steel. Chemical or mechanical descaling may be used while resizing and finishing the surface of the steel, and this can boost the steel’s hardness. After all, this process is conducted at room temperature, and below the re-crystallization temperature.

It should be noted that when cold rolling is done on hot rolled steel, the protective oxide surface on the steel is lost. This means that the cold rolled steel’s surface will become perishable, so handling, storage, and shipment of the steel must be done with great care. the smooth, slick surface of this cold rolled steel may otherwise become marred, and wholesale customers may be unhappy to find a damaged shipment of steel waiting for them.

Where might cold rolled steel be used? Anywhere where engineered products must have tight tolerances and coated surfaces, that is. Stamped parts or machinery parts, for example, can be made out of cold rolled steel, along with building frames or deep-drawn shells. Household appliances such as refrigerators, toaster ovens, washers, dryers, and others can also be made from this metal, not to mention exposed aircraft and automotive components. Cold rolled steel, in short, can be a highly flexible building material, given that care is taken during its shipping, handling, and storage to protect its surface before use.

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