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The manufacturing process of steel is certainly confusing and complex, and requires and extensive amount of unique terms that describe specifically what is happening during the process. You may have heard a few of them before, but aren¡¯t sure what they entail. We¡¯ve outlined a few of the common terms used to describe the manufacturing process of steel so you can at least have an idea of what¡¯s happening.
Coating can refer to a wide variety of coating techniques, but are most commonly associated with pickling and oiling. Coating is a process that will change the chemical, electrochemical makeup of the metal to make it into a particular desired product. Typically, coating refers to making the metal product resistant to corrosion.
The process of tinning refers to coating a sheet of metallic material in a thin coat of tin. Unlike steel, tin doesn¡¯t rust, so a thin coat of tin on the outer surface of the product allows the end product to be exposed to moisture and air without rusting. It also makes the product more visually appeasing to the customer or whoever is using it. Tinning was a much more common practice, but has been replaced by other materials. For example, many pots and pans were made through the tinning process and were made from steel with a thin coat of tin. These pots and pans were known more commonly as tinware. Today, we commonly see tinned metal products in canned good products, like soup cans.
Annealing is a heat treatment process where steel is brought to a temperature, soaked at that temperature, and then brought out to cool. This process allows the product to be a softer material and easier to bend and reshape like in Stainless Steel Cold Rolled Sheet. It also relieves internal stress, improves the crystal structure of the metal, and improves the steel¡¯s cold working capabilities.
Tempering is a heat treatment process that uses special rollers to add hardness and create surface textures and other special finishes to steel. It is performed after hardening processes, and the steel is reheated to a temperature allowing it to be more malleable ¨C but not too malleable so that it reaches its recrystallization temperature.
Cold rolling involves making metallic material thinner than it was before. The immediate change is not noticeable to the naked eye, and the metal typically has to go through multiple rolls in order to get the desired thickness. The process doesn¡¯t just make the product thinner. It improves the surface of the steel and gives it enhanced thickness tolerances. The process is performed below the product¡¯s re-crystalization temperature, and is typically done at room temperature. Steel sheet metal is the most commonly manufactured cold rolled steel product, but cold rolled steel bar is also in high demand.