Author Archives: Michael Havalo

  1. Why Buy American Steel?

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    Although American steel has been on the decline over the last few decades, its reputation remains strong. Companies know they can rely on it, and in the wake of the pandemic and the associated supply chain challengesnot to mention the reshoring trend that started years ago and has accelerated during the pandemicthe American steel industry is poised to make a comeback.

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    How American Steel Benefits the Supply Chain

    During the pandemic and in the aftermath of the ship stuck in the Suez Canal, companies who had long relied on cheap foreign steel found themselves in trouble. They faced delays and rising costs, including high tariffs on imported steel. Due to nation’s heavy reliance on cheaper foreign steel imports up until now, prices and availability of domestic steel have become more competitive. As more U.S. companies shift to a steel supplier closer to home, we should see positive growth in domestic manufacturing of quality steel, and as a result, American jobs.

    A shorter supply chain is always a benefit, and American steel is no exception. When companies can source supplies and raw materials close to home, they reduce transportation costs and the risk of delay. They also have the opportunity to keep a closer eye on the process to ensure quality control.

    Click to Expand Advantages of Buying American Steel

    Advantages of Buying American Steel

    Reduced transportation costs and better availability aren’t the only reasons to buy American steel. Why buy American? No matter the industry, it’s an opportunity to boost the national economy, support local communities, and take advantage of a skilled workforce. For steel in particular, there are further implications:

    Safety and Quality

    American steel is simply better. The quality standards in this country surpass those in many other countries, and steel must undergo a variety of safety tests before it can be used for construction or manufacturing projects. When you buy American steel, you can trust the integrity of the product.

    Reporting from 2008 indicated that Chinese steel had a 60% failure rate in one series of tests and could pose a safety hazard for construction projects. This was largely due to the addition of chromium and boron, which were added to the steel to create an alloy that qualified for tax rebates. Some companies may have saved some money in that process, but it was at the cost of compromised steel.

    Environmental Impact

    U.S. companies are bound by U.S. environmental regulations, ensuring a measure of ecological responsibility that cannot be guaranteed with an overseas facility. American steel companies are also driven by consumer demand to look for other ways to lower emissions and enhance sustainability. U.S. steel also regularly uses scrap to manufacture steel, which not only reduces wasteit also produces less CO2 than iron ore production.

    American steel has a long, rich history, and the integrity and reliability that was established years ago still remains. By replacing foreign steel with American steel, companies have the opportunity to bolster the U.S. economy, support their local communities, shorten their supply chains, improve quality control, decrease their environmental impact, and create higher-quality products for the end user. It’s a win-win situation that benefits businesses and consumers alike.


    Working with McDonald Steel

    McDonald Steel Corporation is a proud U.S. steel manufacturer based in McDonald, Ohio. We’ve grown from humble beginnings in 1981 into the country’s leading provider of highly engineered hot rolled steel special shapes for a variety of industries, including railroad, automotive, infrastructure, agriculture, construction, and more. Our commitment to innovation and community drives us to serve our employees and our customers with respect, integrity, and the high-quality products you expect and deserve.

    Contact us to learn more about our facilities and capabilities, or to inquire about the benefits of using American steel.

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  2. Hot-Rolled Steel vs. Cold-Rolled Steel

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    There are many grades, finishes, shapes, and specifications of steel available. In fact, there are currently more than 3,500 steel grades featuring unique properties, according to the World Steel Association. With so many options to choose from, steel can be used in many diverse applications, including appliances, building infrastructure, wind turbines, vehicles, and more.

    The chemical and physical structure of steel materials are crucial when optimizing steel for specific applications, but the manufacturing process is equally important. Hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel undergo two different processes that can affect the structure of various steel products. It’s important to understand the difference between hot rolled vs. cold rolled steel to determine which is right for a particular application.

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    What Is the Difference Between Hot-Rolled Steel and Cold-Rolled Steel?

    The key difference between hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel is the technique used to fabricate these metals. While hot rolling is a process that uses heat, cold rolling is completed at room or near-room temperature settings. These processes factor into the general performance of the final product and the designated application. However, they are not to be confused with specific grades and formal specifications of steel, which are associated with performance ratings and the steel’s metallurgical composition.

    The different specifications and grades of steel, such as stainless steel, carbon steel, and others, can be either be hot- or cold-rolled, and the type you choose depends heavily on your specific application. Understanding the differences between hot- and cold-rolled steel is crucial in making the proper decision. By choosing the right type, you can avoid spending too much on raw materials while also saving time and money on additional processing.

    A stack of hot rolled steel

    Why Is Hot-Rolled Steel a Better Option Than Cold-Rolled Steel?

    There are a few key advantages of hot-rolled steel over cold-rolled steel. Not only is hot rolled steel a more cost-effective option, but it also cools at room temperature, making it essentially normalized. This means it doesn’t have the internal stress that results from work hardening or quenching. Ultimately, if an application has more requirements around the strength of the material rather than its dimensional tolerances, hot-rolled steel is often the better choice.

    It’s also more suitable for applications that don’t have strict surface finishing requirements. However, if surface finish is a key requirement, it’s possible to use acid-bath pickling, grinding, or sandblasting processes to eliminate scaling. Following the removal of scaling, you can apply certain mirror or brush finishes, along with surface coatings and paints.

    Get Reliable Hot-Rolled Steel Products at McDonald Steel

    Hot-rolled steel products are used for a wide range of applications across many industries, including automotive, construction, and railroad, among many others. If you require hot-rolled steel for your next project, McDonald Steel has more than 500 symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes available to meet the specifications of nearly every application. Our equipment and expert technicians allow us to create top-quality hot-rolled steel forms with exceptional shape control and reliable mechanical properties.

    To learn more about our various offerings and how your application can benefit from them, contact us today.

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  3. Is Hot-Rolled Steel Right for My Project?

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    Rolling is a metalworking technique used to improve the grain orientation and strength of a material to facilitate future fabrication operations and applications. At its most basic, the process involves passing the material through a pair of rollers to achieve the desired shape and thickness. However, it can be adapted to prepare metal for various applications.

    Rolling operations can be classified into two main categories: hot rolling or cold rolling. As suggested by the name, hot rolling involves working with metals that are heated above their recrystallization temperature, while cold rolling involves working with metals that are below their recrystallization temperature. The difference in material temperature at the time of rolling results in processed materials with distinct properties that make them suitable for different applications.

    One of the most commonly rolled materials is steel. Below, we highlight the typical steps in a steel hot rolling operation and discuss how hot-rolled steel compares to cold-rolled steel.

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    Understanding Hot-Rolled Steel

    Steel hot rolling operations typically require processing temperatures over 1,700° F since that is the recrystallization temperature for most steels. These high temperatures make the material easier to form and work, allowing for greater freedom in creating shapes. It can be shaped into bars, sheets, tubes, and more.

    The basic steps in a steel hot rolling process are as follows:

    1. The billet—i.e., a large, square or rectangular piece of metal—is heated and flattened to prepare it for the rollers.
    2. The heated and flattened material is pushed through a series of rollers at high-speed to achieve the desired dimensions.
    3. Once the material is the right size and thickness, it is further processed depending on its form. For sheet metal products, the material is rolled into coils and allowed to cool. For other product forms (e.g., bars and plates), the material is divided into sections and packaged for delivery.

      Hot steel being rolled to shape in mill in steel manufacturing plant.

    Advantages of Hot-Rolled Steel vs. Cold-Rolled Steel

    While hot-rolled steel has a few disadvantages, such as scaled surface textures (due to the material cooling from high temperatures), it also offers many advantages over cold-rolled steel. For example:

    • It requires less energy to make. The high-temperature conditions in hot rolling operations reduce the deformation resistance of the steel material, making it easier, faster, and, consequently, cheaper, to work.
    • It accommodates a wider range of sizes and shapes. Unlike the cold rolling process, the hot rolling process can handle various material sizes and shapes. It can perform small and large reductions and work the material into different forms, including, but not limited to, bars, billets, slabs, sheets, and tubes.

    Hot-Rolled Steel Products at McDonald Steel

    Hot-rolled steel is used in a wide range of applications where dimensional tolerances and surface finish quality are equally as important as strength and cost, with typical industries that utilize the material including construction and railroad, bridges and infrastructure, automotive, and many more.

    Need a hot-rolled steel supplier for your next project? McDonald Steel has you covered. Equipped with tooling for over 500 symmetrical and asymmetrical hot-rolled steel shapes, we can provide materials for a variety of applications across multiple markets.

    To learn more about our material offerings and how they can benefit your project, contact us today. For pricing details, request a quote.

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