When it comes to tried and tested materials in the construction industry, few come close to the quality that construction steel provides. Being the main material used to build structures like buildings, bridges, manufacturing facilities, commercial centers, railways, and other projects, steel is one of the most versatile building materials around.
Known for being highly durable, flexible, and strong, construction steel is a versatile material that can be shaped and molded into different forms as well. The qualities that construction steel possesses can be stemmed from its manufacturing process, which is a step by step procedure that ensures the quality of steel products would always be properly maintained at all times.
How is construction steel manufactured?
Construction steel is manufactured through a series of processes that involve finding the best ore, melting the raw material, adding other metals into the mix, fabrication, testing, and distribution. Let us take a look at these different processes and how they work to create high-quality construction steel.
The first step in producing construction steel is the crushing and sorting of iron ore. This ore is the raw material that would make up the primary structure of construction steel, which is why it would go through a series of refinement procedures to get the best iron ore. The best iron ore would then be sorted accordingly, and would be then molten and used to create the final product.
Along with iron ore, carbon is also added in the form of coke, which is coal carbonized in high-temperature ovens. Other materials included in the manufacturing process include limestone, which is a sturdy material that would be able to strengthen the steel product.
Once the materials have been sorted out and added, the next step is to place all of them inside a blast furnace. A blast furnace is designed to melt and refine the raw material that has been distributed from the top of the furnace’s cylinder. These materials would eventually sink deeper into the furnace, melting down the material even further to remove the impurities that are present.
As the materials go down, the limestone would then form a substance called slag, which is waste that is a result of impurities being removed during the melting process. The slag would then reside on top of the molten iron, which would then be drained to get the iron below. While the iron is being melted, oxygen would slowly be removed in the iron ore, and silica would be dissolved into the iron itself. Once the melting process has been finished, the molten iron can now be released from the blast furnace.
After releasing the molten iron out of the blast furnace, the iron would go through another heating process. This heating process would allow steel manufacturers to add more metals into the steel to strengthen it further. These materials include manganese, which is a crucial material used to improve overall steel strength. The heating process will also remove the excess carbon present, as a high carbon amount might compromise the durability of steel. Once the carbon content has been reduced, steel is finally produced.
After the steel has been produced, the next step is to fabricate and welded to create construction steel products. Steel can be formed in different shapes, allowing them to become bars, beams, piping, plates, and railings. Most steel products use welding to create different steel products, as it is a more cost-effective and reliable process that creates stronger products.
Along with welding, other processes involved when producing steel include tempering, galvanizing, drilling, and cold rolling. Once the steel has been shaped into the final product, it cannot go through the testing and distribution phase. Tempering is a heat treatment process that aims to make it more resistant to high temperatures. Galvanizing is a process that involves adding a protective layer of zinc, which is important to products like piping. Drilling involves placing holes on the steel to provide space for rivets and screws during construction. Lastly, cold rolling is a process that strengthens steel by gradually reshaping it.
After the final products have been manufactured, the steel would then be tested to see if it adheres to the manufacturing standards. The process includes strength and stress testing, which is an effective way of seeing if the steel product would be able to withstand heavy weight and impact. Once the products have passed quality standards, the steel products can now be distributed and used for construction projects.
Manufacturing steel is a lengthy process that involves delicate procedures and materials to produce the final product. By identifying the different steps of manufacturing steel, you would be able to know the process that steel goes through to become a high-quality construction material.