Few of us realize that steel and steel products are a major part of our everyday lives. Everything from computers, cars, and steel piles, to supports in buildings and thousands of other products all contain steel. But have you ever wondered how steel is actually made?
Back to the Beginning
In 1886, Henry Bessemer developed the first process to affordably produce steel and it is still used to this day. But it all started with iron ore, which is mined all over the world today. The process entails the crushing of sedimentary rocks that contain iron. Magnetic rollers are then used to separate the iron ore. The iron ore is then mixed with coke – which comes from coal and has a high carbon content – in a furnace to form molten iron or pig iron. Let’s examine the two main types of methods used to accomplish this:
Using the Basic Oxygen Process (BOP) Method
First, the furnace is charged by adding scrap steel to it, which also helps to partly control the temperature within the furnace and provides various other elements to the mix. This mixture varies in composition but usually contains around 25% scrap steel and 75% liquid iron.
Oxygen is then “blasted” into the mix, combining with the impure elements, including some of the carbon. Lime is added to separate the impurities and turn them into slag. To adjust the chemical composition, a sample is taken, analyzed, and supplemented with additional elements.
At this point in the process, the molten steel is poured into a ladle and the slag is separated from the steel. It is then poured into casters and formed into slabs, blooms, or billets and left to cool down. Later, these large blocks are reheated and rolled out or drawn into plates, bars, and beams, which can also undergo further processing including quenching and tempering to further strengthen and may result in abrasion resistant steel as well as other grades.
Using the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) Method
In this process, high current electric arcs are used to melt scrap steel with the help of electrodes attached to the lid of the furnace. An electric arc is passed through the electrodes to melt the scrap.
Other metals and elements are also added depending on the desired chemical composition of the steel. Once everything is melted, the impurities combine with the addition of oxygen, while lime is added to separate the impurities into a slag. The molten steel is then poured into casters, similar to the BOP process.
Abrasion Resistant Steel: The Titus Steel Product Difference
Titus Steel’s WEAR products (ENDURA, ENDURA Dual, Manganese) undergo further processing in order to achieve abrasion resistant steel with high wear and work hardening properties that are necessary to extend the life of the steel and reduce unnecessary down time.
About Titus Steel
The Wear & Impact Steel Specialists
Since 1957, Titus Steel has been serving governments, companies, and engineers across North America with exceptional abrasion resistant steel products. Our solutions and products enable our customers to reduce down time, increase payload, and protect employees. We are driven by quality and innovative solutions.
We work hard to build lasting relationships with our suppliers and our customers and have offices as well as warehouses in Toronto, Ontario and Cartersville, Georgia.
To learn more about how Titus Steel can help you, contact us today.