New Technology Depends on One of America’s Oldest Man-Made Materials

By September 11, 2017News, Your Advantage

From robotics to refrigeration, HVAC duct work to rail cars, steel is the primary structural support for innovative technology in a nearly endless list of applications.

Steel, the near-magic combination of iron and carbon, is one of the oldest working materials created and used by humans.

A timeline, courtesy of Worldsteel Association:

  • 13th century BC: Iron and charcoal come together: Early blacksmiths discovered that iron became harder and stronger when left in charcoal furnaces.
  • Roman Era: With war comes (material) progress. Imperial armies, including those of China, Greece, Persia and Rome, were eager for strong, durable weapons and armor. The Romans learned how to temper work-hardened steel to reduce its brittleness.
  • In 1709 coke (made from coal) is first used to smelt iron ore. Wood and charcoal were less efficient.
  • 1800’s: As farming in the US becomes larger-scale, demand for steel implements grows and drives innovation in steel. Increased innovation also driven by growth of railroads and shipping.   
  • 1850’s: The Bessemer process invented by Henry Bessemer. At the time, the best process for the mass production of steel from molten pig iron, before the development of the open hearth furnace. It enabled the removal of impurities from iron by oxidation with air being blown through the molten iron.
  • From 1875 to 1920 American steel production grew from 380,000 tons to 60 million tons annually, making the U.S. the world leader
  • Early 1900’s: Interests from Andrew Carnegie, Charles Schwab, and JP Morgan created US Steel in 1901. By the 1920’s Bethlehem Steel was a close 2nd in industry leadership.
  • 1969 marks a turning point: The integrated steel mills peak in employment; Inland Steel in ’69 had 25,000 employees; and Nucor is founded, starting the advance of the mini-mills surge in growth.
  • 2000’s – China far exceeds any other country in steel production. By the end of 2011 steel output there was over 680 million tons!

This brings us to today, with advanced high-strength steels made in the US and worldwide, and steel found in space age components, satellite dishes, and robotics. Innovation is the focus not just in IT but in steel also. Worldsteel Association says, “The industry is increasingly adopting a life-cycle approach to increase efficiency, re-use and recycling at every point of a product’s life cycle, from raw material extraction to recycling of end products.”

Heating up for solar, keeping cool in refrigeration, steel is there, and Pacesetter is a supplier of steel for manufacturers producing the durable, reliable systems used for food storage and display by mainline and high-end grocery stores.

Technology? Did you know that steel from Pacesetter can be found in the enormous HVAC units on the new World Trade towers? Also in the HVAC units on the sprawling Tesla factory in California?

Pacesetter’s Technical Services and Purchasing teams work closely with the major steel mills to be at the forefront of technology; to pass on knowledge, technologies, and efficiencies to Pacesetter’s valued customers.  

Pacesetter, like end-use manufactured steel products; is built to last!