To work a material into a finished state by machining, forming, or joining.
A producer of intermediate products that does not also produce primary metal. For example, a rebar (see Reinforcing Bar) fabricator purchases rebar and processes the material to the specifications of a particular construction project.
An accounting rule established in 1990 that requires companies to change their accounting for the cost of their retirees’ future nonpension benefits (life insurance and health services). What were once “pay as you go” or “cash basis” expense items were changed to an accrual basis. Such costs are now recognized during the employees’ working years.
When the steel companies shifted to the new accounting rule, most companies charged the “catch-up” to equity in large one-time write-downs as they established the new liabilities on their balance sheets.
An accounting rule for deferred taxes that requires companies to explain within their financial statements the difference between the tax expense found on the income statement and the check actually sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). (This rule superseded FAS 96 and APB 11.)
Some steel companies carry net operating losses (NOLs) on their balance sheets as assets that can be used to offset future taxes. Under the rules of FAS 109, however, a valuation allowance may be recorded to reduce these NOLs unless there is a high probability that they will be used.
A process to directly reduce iron ore to metallic iron pellets that can be fed into an electric arc furnace with an equal amount of scrap. This process is designed to bypass the coke oven-blast furnace route to produce hot metal from iron ore. It is also one of several methods that minimills might use to reduce their dependence on high-quality scrap inputs (see Direct Reduced Iron and Hot Briquetted Iron).
Any raw material. Substrate.
The second-largest class of stainless steel, constituting approximately 25% of stainless production.
Ferritic stainless steels are plain chromium steels with no significant nickel content; the lack of nickel results in lower corrosion resistance than the austenitics (chromium-nickel stainless steels). Ferritics are best suited for general and high-temperature corrosion applications rather than services requiring high strength. They are used in automotive trim and exhaust systems, interior architectural trim, and hot water tanks. Two of the most common grades are type 430 (general-purpose grade for many applications, including decorative ones) and type 409 (low-cost grade well suited to withstanding high temperatures).
A metal product commonly used as a raw material feed in steelmaking, to aid various stages of the steelmaking process such as deoxidation, desulfurization, and adding strength. Examples: ferrochrome, ferromanganese, and ferrosilicon.
An alloy of iron and chromium with up to 72% chromium. Ferrochrome is commonly used as a raw material in the making of stainless steel.
Metals that consist primarily of iron.
The process reduces iron ore fines with gas in a descending series of fluidized bed reactors. The reduced iron is hot briquetted.
The surface appearance of steel after final treatment.
The portion of the steelmaking complex that processes semi-finished steel (slabs or billets) into forms that can be used by others. Finishing operations can include rolling mills, pickle lines, tandem mills, annealing facilities, and temper mills.
The last stand in a rolling mill, which determines the surface finish and final gauge.
Category of steel that includes sheet, strip, and tin plate, among others. Produced by passing ingot/slab through pairs of rolls.
An iron cleaning agent. Limestone and lime react with impurities within the metallic pool to form a slag that floats to the top of the relatively heavier (and now more pure) liquid iron.
Phrase that explains whether the transportation costs of the steel are included. “FOB Mill” is the price of steel at the mill, not including shipping.
A common industry practice when a mill sells steel outside its geographic area; it will assume any extra shipping costs (relative to the competition) to quote the customer an equivalent price to get the business.
A metal part worked to predetermined shape by one or more processes such as hammering, pressing, or rolling.
Hot rolled pickled steel that is cold reduced to a specified thickness and subject to no further processing (not annealed or temper rolled). The product is very stiff; it is not intended for flat work where deformation is very minimal.
Full Hard Cold Rolled steel produced to a Rockwell hardness of 84 and higher on the B scale.
Bending and forming plate or sheet products into customer specified shapes and sizes with press brakes.
A galvanized product coated with 95% free zinc, 5% aluminum and traces of mish metal in the coating; provides extra corrosion protection with lighter coating weight; has improved formability over regular free zinc coatings (hot dipped galvanized regular products).
Coatings on hot-dipped galvanized steels processed to convert the coating completely to zinc-iron alloys; dull gray in appearance, have no spangle, and after proper preparation, are well suited for painting.
Free zinc coatings applied to a hot-rolled or cold-rolled steel to produce Galvanized steel. The coating can be applied by the hot-dip or electrodeposition process.
Steel coated with a thin layer of zinc to provide corrosion resistance in underbody auto parts, garbage cans, storage tanks, or fencing wire. Sheet steel normally must be cold-rolled prior to the galvanizing stage.
Steel is run through a molten zinc coating bath, followed by an air stream “wipe” that controls the thickness of the zinc finish.
Zinc plating process whereby the molecules on the positively charged zinc anode attach to the negatively charged sheet steel. The thickness of the zinc coating is readily controlled. By increasing the electric charge or slowing the speed of the steel through the plating area, the coating will thicken.
Electrogalvanizing equipment is more expensive to build and to operate than hot dipped, but it gives the steelmaker more precise control over the weight of the zinc coating. The automotive manufacturers, because they need the superior welding, forming, and painting ability of electrogalvanized steel, purchase 90% of all tonnage produced.
Steel sheet with a unique coating of 55% aluminum and 45% zinc that resists corrosion. The coating is applied in a continuous hot-dipped process, which improves the steel’s weather resistance. Galvalume® is a trademark of BHP Steel, and the product is popular in the metal building market.
An extra tight coat of galvanizing metal (zinc) applied to a soft steel sheet, after which the sheet is passed through an oven at about 1200 degrees F. The resulting coat is dull gray without spangle especially suited for subsequent painting.
The thickness of sheet steel. Better-quality steel has a consistent gauge to prevent weak spots or deformation.
A measure of energy. A GigaJoule equals 1,000,000,000 Joules. A 100-watt light bulb turned on for one second consumes 100 Joules.
Involves grinding the top and/or bottom of carbon or alloy steel plate or bars into close tolerance.
New metalmaking complex that is built “from scratch,” presumably on a green field.
An exotic alloy usually obtained as a by-product of zirconium production with outstanding corrosion resistance and good mechanical properties. It is added to specialty alloys for use in jet engine parts and as control rod material in nuclear reactors.
Process that increases the hardness of steel, i.e., the degree to which steel will resist cutting, abrasion, penetration, bending, and stretching.
The increased endurance provided by hardening makes steel suitable for additional applications.
Hardening can be achieved through various methods, including 1) heat treatment, where the properties of steel are altered by subjecting the steel to a series of temperature changes; and 2) cold working, in which changes in the structure and shape of steel are achieved through rolling, hammering, or stretching the steel at a relatively low temperature.
Defined in terms of the method of measurement. Usually the resistance to indentation
Altering the properties of steel by subjecting it to a series of temperature changes.
To increase the hardness, strength, or ductility of steel so that it is suitable for additional applications.
The steel is heated and then cooled as necessary to provide changes in the structural form that will impart the desired characteristics. The time spent at each temperature and the rates of cooling have significant impact on the effect of the treatment.
A general term given to rolled flanged sections that have at least one dimension of their cross sections three inches or greater. The category includes beams, channels, tees and zees if the depth dimension is three inches or greater, and angles if the length of the leg is three inches or greater.
Steel with more than 0.3% carbon. The more carbon that is dissolved in the iron, the less formable and the tougher the steel becomes. High-carbon steel’s hardness makes it suitable for plow blades, shovels, bedsprings, cutting edges, or other high-wear applications.
A specific group of steel in which higher strength, and in some cases additional resistance to atmospheric corrosion or improved formability, are obtained by moderate amounts of one or more alloying elements such as columbium, vanadium, titanium, used alone or in combination.
A coil of steel rolled on a hot-strip mill (hot-rolled steel). It can be sold in this form to customers or further processed into other finished products.
Direct reduced iron that has been processed into briquettes. Instead of using a blast furnace, the oxygen is removed from the ore using natural gas and results in a substance that is 90%–92% iron. Because DRI may spontaneously combust during transportation, HBI is preferred when the metallic material must be stored or moved.
The section of a steelmaking complex from the furnace up to, but not including, the hot-strip mill.
The name for the molten iron produced in a blast furnace. It proceeds to the basic oxygen furnace in molten form or is cast as pig iron.
The rolling mill that reduces a hot slab into a coil of specified thickness; the processing is done at a relatively high temperature (when the steel is still “red”).
Product that is sold in its “as produced state” off the Hot Mill with no further reduction or processing steps aside from being pickled and oiled (if specified).
A rolling mill of several stands of rolls that converts slabs into hot-rolled coils. The hot-strip mill squeezes slabs, which can range in thickness from two to ten inches, depending on the type of continuous caster, between horizontal rolls with a progressively smaller space between them (while vertical rolls govern the width) to produce a coil of flat-rolled steel about a quarter-inch in thickness and a quarter mile in length.
Processes for producing DRI and HBI developed by Hylsa. The processes reduce iron ore lump or pellets with reformed natural gas in a vertical shaft furnace. The HYL I process uses four fixed-bed reactors; HYL III uses a single-shaft furnace.
An aluminum oxide with three molecules of chemically combined water.
A forming process in which a tube is placed into a forming die. The tube is then formed to the shape of the die through the application of internal water pressure.
The hydroforming process allows for severe shape deformation, making it ideal for automotive structural parts such as engine cradles, radiator supports, and body rails. Various shaped and sized holes can be punched in the tube almost anywhere during the process.
Structural sections on which the flanges are tapered and are typically not as long as the flanges on wide-flange beams. The flanges are thicker at the cross sections and thinner at the toes of the flanges. They are produced with depths of three inches to 24 inches.
Import Administration, within the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce, enforces laws and agreements to protect U.S. businesses from unfair competition within the U.S. resulting from unfair pricing by foreign companies and unfair subsidies to foreign companies by their governments.
A form of semi-finished type of metal. Liquid metal is teemed (poured) into molds, where it slowly solidifies. Once the metal is solid, the mold is stripped, and the 25- to 30-ton ingots are then ready for subsequent rolling or forging.
Inmetco is a coal-based process similar to FASTMET that uses iron oxide fines and pulverized coal to produce a scrap substitute. Mill scale and flue dust, inexpensive by-products of steelmaking, can be mixed with the iron oxide fines. Inmetco, unlike other direct reduction products, is intended to be hot charged into an EAF, with attendant energy savings.
The process includes three steps. First, iron oxide fines, pulverized coal and a binder are formed into pellets. Second, the pellets, two to three layers deep, are heated in a gas-fired rotary hearth furnace for 15–20 minutes to produce sponge iron. Subsequently, the iron must be desulfurized. The coal in the pellets provides much of the energy required in the second phase.
These facilities make steel by processing iron ore and other raw materials in blast furnaces. Technically, only the hot end differentiates integrated mills from minimills. However, the differing technological approaches to molten steel imply different scale efficiencies and, therefore, separate management styles, labor relations, and product markets. Nearly all domestic integrated mills specialize in flat-rolled steel or plate.
A recently developed sheet steel product with very low carbon levels that is used primarily in automotive deep-drawing applications. Interstitial Free Steel’s improved ductility (drawing ability) is made possible by vacuum degassing.
One of several substitutes for high-quality, low-residual scrap for use in electric furnace steelmaking. Iron carbide producers use natural gas to reduce iron ore to iron carbide.
Mineral containing enough iron to be a commercially viable source of the element for use in steelmaking. Except for fragments of meteorites found on earth, iron is not a free element; instead, it is trapped in the earth’s crust in its oxidized form.
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