Iron and steel has been in production for hundreds of years. From its humble beginnings as a cottage industry, steel now forms the backbone of modern, industrial economies. It is now almost impossible to visualise a world without steel and whether it is used in engines or construction, it plays a part in almost everything we use and make.
Versatility and strength
As regular readers of our blog will know, steel offers unparalleled strength and versatility. The strength-to-weight ratio of steel and its ability to be recycled into new products has helped to make steel the ultimate future-proof product and one that is already playing a crucial role in the circular economy’s development.
Structural steel is so strong because it is an alloy of iron and other material which has had the majority of carbon extracted. Steel has to be strong and as such is available in a wide range of different grades, each of which has its own specific chemical composition and properties, meeting the requirements of different applications.
These days steel is made using two major processes: basic oxygen steel making and electric arc furnace manufacturing. Converters (modern furnaces) have the capability to take up to 350 tonnes of iron ore, coking coal and steel scrap before converting it into steel in just 15 minutes. Electric arc furnaces pass a powerful electric current through cold scrap metal and modern electric arc furnaces having the capability to make up to 150 tonnes of steel at a time.
Molten steel has to be allowed to solidify into basic shapes – slabs, billets or blooms – before it is rolled or formed into finished products. Continuous casting machines are used to draw steel downwards from a mould where it can be automatically cut into the lengths required. To change the shape of a material with the strength of steel, the thickness has to be reduced; resulting in flat or long products.
Although steel has been in production for many hundreds of years, the production process still continues to develop and evolve in an effort to reduce costs and minimise any impact upon the environment.
Steel products designed, manufactured and installed to meet your specifications
Here at Steelwork Engineering all of the steel work we create is manufactured to the highest standards and to meet CE Marking legislation. This enables us to provide our clients with strong, durable products. If you would like to find out more about the benefits of using structural steel, or to discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.