If you ask someone about their occupation and they respond by telling you that they’re “in the steel business”, they aren’t telling you very much. In fact, it’s almost like asking someone’s address and getting the answer, “Ontario.” There are many different types of Ontario steel companies making and selling a wide variety of steel products and services, and all are part of a vast and complicated supply chain. To help you to understand how complex the steel industry is, let’s break down the most basic rung of the supply chain: (more…)
Not all steels are the same. In fact, there are over 3,500 different grades of steel, each encompassing unique physical, chemical, and mechanical properties to make them ‘custom-tailored’ to suit specific applications. Even within certain groups of steel like Abrasion and Wear-Resistant steels (AR steel) there are many different grades, each with different chemistry and mechanical properties that yield different performance. (more…)
Heat treating is an extremely useful process. Through its proper application, it can change the properties of steel, hardening materials that need extra wear resistance, or softening materials to make them more suitable for cold forging or deep drawing. Tool, Die, and Mold steels can all achieve extremely impressive properties in part from the heat treatment of the steel. However… (more…)
Since the federal government imposed tariffs on steel products imported from Canada, we’ve had quite a few people ask us what we think of the policy, the impact it has on the American steel industry, and if it affects our ability to bring you abrasion resistant steel and other products whose raw materials come from across the border. (more…)
Today, the United States seems to be going back to a protectionist policy that was in place for 250 years from 1789, through to the end of World War II. The average tariff during that period on goods entering the US was 38%. However, the US didn’t do this to punish countries or control the influx of products. The main reason the US charged tariffs is because they did not introduce income tax until 1917, and relied on Tariffs to finance its activities including war. At the end of WW II, most of America’s competitors’ (England, Europe, Japan, Korea, China) industrial base had been wiped out by the war. America believed it had a significant competitive advantage and wanted to export goods and services to rebuild these economies on a “tariff free basis”. The US did not fear competitive imports from these war-ravaged countries and signed on to GATT in 1947. (more…)
After World War II in 1945, “The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” (GATT), was established along with other institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. GATT was the governing body for trade around the world until 1995 when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established replacing GATT.
The WTO is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade. In 1995, 124 nations signed the agreement. It is the largest international economic organization in the world. The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and most important, providing a “dispute resolution process” aimed at enforcing members’ adherence to WTO agreements.
Each country, through a series of WTO negotiations, sets their individual tariffs on various goods and services using a common HS code (Harmonized Item Description and Coding System). Through WTO negotiations, country tariffs are continuing to be reduced and eliminated. For example, the average Tariff for goods entering the US is 2.5%.
In addition to participating in WTO negotiations, each country may also negotiate and sign separate trade agreements under the general guidelines of the WTO. For example, Canada, the US and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1997. In 2017, Europe and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). These agreements are designed to reduce and then eliminate all Tariffs between the participating countries. However, they use the WTO guidelines as a basis for their agreement, including dispute settlement mechanisms which are usually referred back to the WTO dispute system. WHO’s decision is final on participating WTO members but may also be appealed which can take many years to render a final decision.
Quality dies, molds, fixtures, machine parts, and cutting and punching tools are at the very heart of manufacturing operations. Everyone who constructs, uses, and/or maintains these components must ensure that their quality is sufficient and cost-effective for meeting long-term production requirements. As such, the cheapest option isn’t always the best.
While steel is generally considered to be a symbol of modern times, these remarkable modern composites that are available to us today are the result of over 6,000 years of progress and development.
A Gift from the Gods (Pre-Historic Iron)
Though iron—the primary metal in steel composite—is usually associated with the later ages of mankind, archaeologists have found that metallurgists have been working with iron as early as 4000 B.C.—hundreds of years before the start of the Bronze Age—using iron from meteorites to make weapons, ornaments and tools. This iron was known as the “Gift from the Gods”, and even into the Iron Age, meteorite iron was prized.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
In our many years of experience in this industry, we have found that some purchasing managers tend to forget this truism when buying abrasion resistant steel materials for their operations. On occasion, some may believe that by paying the lowest price, they are helping to lower production costs and ultimately, make more profit.
There are 2 spellings for armor. One without the u, “armor”, which is American, and one with the u, “armour”, which is British.
Not-with-standing the spelling, armor plates have been used for over 3000 years. It began with leather and evolved through various reinforced woods to steel and modern composites such as Kevlar and ceramics. The goal of all developments in Armoring is to provide greater protection using the “lightest” materials available.