Entries by Michael Ross

Light Gage

Every once in a while, I have to engage in something that smacks of shameless sales dialog. This is one of those times. So, grit your teeth, send small children out of the room and just get through it. If you are involved with heavy plate fabrication, and more specifically, if you occasionally handle hardened wear plate, you may want to give some thought to a product we carry that seems to be useful to […]

Inventory Turns – Somebody Pays

Recently we touched upon blanket orders. Today, we are going to look at them specifically as to how they might relate to inventory management. So, my favorite cautionary snippet warns about “Not shooting pool with anyone who’s first name is the name of a major city.” To an extent, there is wisdom in that. Unless of course you’re THAT GOOD! And, most of us are not. When it comes to the idea of keeping steel […]

Partnering

The “partnering” discussed here, in the steel industry, will refer to a working relationship between supplier and end-user, where benefit is derived by both parties. One specific example that has been very effective is the blanket order, or blanket contract. Both parties need the potential advantages of a well-constructed blanket contract. The vendor gets a bit of predictable inventory usage and potential predictable cash flow. The customer will benefit from: continuance of supply, firm pricing, […]

Are There Different Types of 4140 Alloy Steel?

Is all 4140 alloy steel the same? It is common for 4140 alloy steel to be supplied in either the annealed (soft) condition, or Quench & Tempered (Q & T), the hardened condition. The hardened condition is used where added strength or resistance to wear is desired. The softer condition is used where considerable machining may be required, or where more ductility is required. And then of course there are different surface conditions, shapes, etc. […]

Using 4140 Alloy Steel

Iron ore, found lying around near the surface of the earth, can be heated and primitively refined (a cave man could do it) to become iron. Iron is soft and pliable, great for lots of things and better than a poke in the eye, but begging for improvement. With minimal additional elements and a bit more refining “mild steel” made its debut. Mild steel is the leanest form of carbon steel. It is generally considered […]

Steel Mills Are Changing – Take 3

You are here The producing steel industry that survived looks much different than our grandfather’s steel industry. “Standard Sizes” have taken on a whole new meaning. Bread and butter items that represented the largest tonnage sales require larger and larger purchase orders that are cost prohibitive to only the largest users or resellers. The plethora of smaller, more efficient mini-type-mills have made any return of the old steel business model doubtful. Into this new landscape, […]

Steel Mills Are Changing – Take Two

Shortly following the end of WWII, many special military grades of steel became available to feed the ravenous growth in industries like housing and manufacturing. During that boom, the commercial sector found uses for new steel grades developed by the military, and price was not an object. Existing steel mills previously occupied with feeding into the war effort, misjudged the massive needs of a burgeoning private sector. Armor Plate became wear plate liners for steel […]

When Hot Rolled Steel? – When Cold Finished Steel?

Whoever said; “Cuts like butter, or, Machines like butter”, may not have meant that was a good thing. Visualize butter; not cryogenic butter. The thing is, you need a little hardness (read as strength) if you are expecting decent cutting and machining. Generally, cold finished steel; which takes into consideration both Cold Rolled and Cold Drawn, provides higher hardness and higher strength than Hot Rolled Steel. Hot Rolled Steel here, means Hot Rolled Annealed (softened) […]

Hardening Steel With Heat

We have touched on the topic of the effects of heat on steel in the past. These little reminders are directed at those of us who are not accomplished thermal treaters of steel. And, that is based on the assumption that you wouldn’t be reading this article if you are already proficient in hardening steel. NOT INSTRUCTIONAL! “Random thoughts on hardening steel” in his article are strictly for information purposes only. To a large part […]

Cut To Length Steel And Random Bar Lengths

Some time ago we posted an article about random bar lengths. The attention from that blog contributed to this follow-up about cut-to-length bars. More importantly, how that term differs from random (rdm) bar lengths. Random bar lengths can be anything the distributor deems beneficial to his selling of the steel bars in  his, or her, inventory. It is most common in the general steel marketplace to see random bar lengths listed as 10/12ft rdm, stainless […]