As we’ve written about before, the steelmaking process is an extensive one that starts with simple iron ore, goes through extensive heating and filtering, then ultimately becomes a glossy product ready for use and distribution.
The early stages are worth understanding because they represent the genesis of steel. But later stages are just as critical, especially for those of us at Pacesetter whose services specialize in this arena. Our clients and partners come to us for quality flat rolled steel that is processed and finished exactly to their needs.
Finishing touches are customizable to the needs of each customer; at Pacesetter we offer a variety of services that help to meet these requests. Here is an overview of the various finishing touches we provide, and what type of end products our customers can expect.
One important and common type of finishing, for steel, is pre-painting. Why “pre”? Prepainting is more than just a layer or two of Behr on a rod; it’s very specialized coating process by which the metal is cleaned, primed, and painted to exact specifications.
The coating material is more than just decorative, though this is certainly one element of this type of finishing. Beyond aesthetic, the combination of metallic coatings and paint systems aid in corrosion resistance at extremely high levels and can be readily formed without degrading the quality of the paint.
Most coatings are liquid and applied through a process called “coil coating,” which coats steel in large batches. This process can be very cost-effective for fabricators of painted steel products since it requires no in-plant painting thus eliminating the costs of paint facilities.
Embossing is another common finishing touch that may be applied to steel products. Embossing is a stamping process that produces raised or sunken designs in steel products. Any pattern or design can be embossed into steel whether it is coated or uncoated.
It takes the right combination of heat and pressure to emboss steel, depending on the exact type of embossing required. In most cases, a metal sheet is drawn through roller dies, then “ironed” to apply the design onto the metal.
Embossing can be either aesthetic or functional. Aesthetic embossing is mostly decorative, and can be found on to appliances, panels, and trim, while functional embossing improves the product’s use by creating better traction, decreasing friction, or enhancing other performance characteristics.
At Pacesetter, embossing is typically utilized on food casing, restaurant equipment, or other exteriors.
Perforating is a finishing process that punches small holes into a steel product in a specific diameter and pattern. It’s commonly seen on products like speakers or intercom systems.
The perforation process has improved dramatically over the years. Once a laborious process involving painstaking manual work, perforation machines today punch holes more efficiently, typically using a rotary pinned perforation roller. This roller is a large cylinder complete with pointy, sometimes heated needles that poke holes into metal sheets as they rotate beneath it.
Other methods include “die and punch” perforating, which involves the rotational pressing of a large sheet with needles, and laser perforation, which perforates with lasers instead of needles.
At Pacesetter, it’s our honor to provide these services and much more to ensure the finest quality steel products go from our door to yours.