In the wonderful world of steel, there are many factors and variations that play into the production of material. As I have learned (and keep on learning everyday) every coil has it’s own  story. There are so many things that go into the steel production recipe it is truly amazing that there is any consistency at all in material that gets produced. (I happen to have a hobby of artisan bread baking. I can tell you that there is a huge amount of similarity between the what comes out of the bread oven and what comes out of the steel oven – as far as surprises are concerned.) It is almost impossible to ensure that all of the factors in play are going to be that way, exactly, every single time. Yet, by and by, there is uniformity out there.

Take a look at this picture:

  (Ignore the hand print for a moment – I will get back to that shortly…) You might say that this is Galvannealed material. Yet, if you look closely, you will see that there is a sheen to these sheets. This is actually Hot Rolled Pickled Dry. I imagine that someone was curious to see what type of steel it is and that explains why the hand print is there. :).

These sheets were cut from a coil that had some shape issues. We were able to work through it but you really never know what you are dealing with until you actually have the material in hand. The whole thing is really like a Jack in The Box – every time.

Consider this: Much of the steel that is produced domestically is for the automotive industry. That industry is one of the largest consumers of flat rolled steel. Therefore, the mills focus lots of their energy and attention on the needs of that space. Here is one example of what I find often: A customer has a requirement for Galvannealed material THAT MUST BE DRY. Most automotive applications require oil on their steel. Will it be dry? Or will it have oil? I bet you can guess the answer to that question….

Today, the mills are being pushed to produce lighter gauge material with higher strength. Hence, the ultra high strength and dual phase steels that are widely available in the market place. While this may seem daunting, you would be quite surprised how form-able and bendable this type of material can be. It is quite versatile and can work in many applications.

I saw a quote recently: “Experience is something that is happening to you that you wish like crazy would be happening to someone else” – That is all until after the fact. Then, experience becomes one of your most valuable assets.

Don’t take anything for granted. Just because something looks like something else, does not mean that it IS something else……


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