Working With Steel and Alloys in a Factory

Metal ranks among the most important construction materials that the human race has ever used, alongside wood, glass, and rubber, among others. In fact, a few prehistoric eras were named after the most commonly used metals of the time, such as the Iron Age or the Bronze Age. The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s pushed steel production to new heights, which allowed the construction of railroad cars and tracks, I-beams for skyscrapers, steam ships, and much more. Both then and now, different grades of steel and high yield steel are being used for all sorts of projects, and steel is much stronger and lighter than iron is. But don’t forget the various examples of alloys, such as Cupro Nickel 70 30 or A286 alloys and the like. Today’s factories might order sheets of steel and aluminum, as well as these alloys to produce a variety of goods, anything from battleship hulls to chemical plant valves to car rims and surgical tools. Another factor is stainless steel machinability, and knowing stainless steel machinability can help a factory run more smoothly.

Working With Steel and Aluminum

Many of today’s factories are going to include drills, laser cutter heads, saws, and more that are designed to modify metal, or machine it, to the correct shape. Even the smaller workshops may do this. So, what is there to know about stainless steel machinability? For one, steel with a high carbon content is too difficult to work with, since it is so tough it may actually damage the machining tools (like drill bits) used on them. The other extreme of stainless steel machinability is steel with such a low carbon content, it’s too soft and gums up whatever tools are used on it. The ideal medium means the steel will have a carbon content around 0.20% or so for ideal results.

From the 1800s to now, steel has been produced by melting down iron, removing impurities, and forging it into sheets and rolls. Such raw metal can then be machined, such as being cut into smaller and precise shapes, welded together, and having holes drilled into it during the manufacturing process of an item. Steel may come in more than one variety, too. At first, steel sheets are hot rolled, meaning that the metal is passed through pressurized rollers at a high temperature. This results in steel with imprecise dimensions, but that is ideal for applications such as making I-beams and railroad tracks. Meanwhile, hot rolled steel can be passed through the rollers again but at room temperature, and this is known as cold rolled steel. Such steel is precise in dimensions and has a protective coat, and it is useful for producing all kinds of manufactured parts and items. Stainless steel, in particular, resisted rust and corrosion and may be used to make surgical equipment and kitchen cutlery.

There’s also aluminum, a useful metal that is even lighter than steel is. Often, aluminum is used to make parts for electronic goods, and aluminum is also being used more and more often to make vehicle parts so that a car or train is lighter and thus more fuel-efficient. Aluminum is also the metal of choice for making car tire rims.


Some jobs call for specialized metals with particular properties where even steel might fail. So, composite metals, or alloys, are put to use. An alloy will have two or more ingredient metals in specific ratios, such as steel and iron, copper and brass, nickel, and titanium. Such alloys can endure extremes of corrosion, heat, cold, or pressure without suffering from distress, such as the alloys used to make the hulls and inner components of battleships and military missiles. Meanwhile, copper alloys are ideal for making undersea pipes that are constantly exposed to salt water both inside and outside, and these alloys resist corrosion. The same is true for making pipes, tanks, and valves in a chemical plant. Other alloys, which can endure extremes of heat and pressure, are used to make engine parts for trains and jets, and components for space shuttles and other space-bound vehicles and items. Alloys can also be used to make metal bellows, which can carry pressurized and heated contents without rupturing or melting.