Electro-Galvanized Steel: How it is Made

Recently we discussed how galvanized steel is made. It is a very interesting process, at least I think so.

electro-galvanized steel coilHow Electro-Galvanized Steel is Made

Today, however, we are going to take a look at a different process application of zinc, electro-galvanization. In the galvanizing process the finish is obtained through a hot-dip or continuous galvanization process. Electro-Galvanized is made through an electrochemical process.

Electrochemical Process

The electrochemical process involves the steel being immersed in a cold zinc bath while an electrical current is run through it. This is also known as electroplating.

electro-galvanized, electrolythic bathThe zinc acts as an anode to protect the steel. An anode is the positively charged electrode (electrical current) that attracts electrons and anions (a negatively charged ion). The steel is preserved from corrosion by cathodes. Cathodes are the negatively charged electrodes that attract cations (positively charged ions).

Conversion coatings are then applied to the metal to enhance the corrosion protection even more. This builds up an additional layer of zinc and chromium hydroxides resulting in a blue tinted finish to the material.

Now that we have had our chemistry lesson for the day, let’s discuss the benefits of electro-galvanized steel.

Benefits of Electro-Galvanization

The electrochemical process allows for a thinner zinc deposit layer so the steel has a higher corrosion resistance and higher performance.

The finish of electro-galvanized is readily paintable. This is an important quality to industries creating products such as trailers, appliances, and agriculture equipment.

Contact your local sales representative to learn more about the quality of our electro-galvanized steel. And stay tuned to learn a little bit more about what electro-galvanized steel is used for.

The Good News is the Aluminum Market

Well Buzz Readers, January was an interesting month. If you are anything like me, you are probably a bit tired of article after article talking about the drop in steel prices. While buyers are hesitant to buy, the market is continually looking for a floor. It seems no one is sure just when falling prices will let up as the market continues to watch oil prices (which rallied over the past two weeks) and global economics.

So….you may wonder with all this negative press where to look for a silver lining for the metals industry.

Aluminum Market, silver lining

Skip basking in a silver lining on the beach

Look no further than the aluminum market and some high-tech, high-volume ventures that have allowed companies like Novelis to triple their earnings last quarter alone (Platts, 2015). Below I’ll discuss trends in the aluminum market that are keeping demand high.

Automotive Demand.

If you’ve followed the aluminum market (or this blog) at all you know that automotive companies throughout the world are increasing demand for high-cost (relative to steel), low-weight aluminum. While fuel efficiency isn’t a hot topic right now from a consumer cost standpoint (low oil prices at work again), fuel efficiency is still a hot topic for government regulations and environmental concerns. As automotive uses of aluminum continue, demand for aluminum will remain high.

Welding Technology.

If you understand the properties of steel and aluminum this next-generation welding technology should catch your eye. Though the cost of welding steel and aluminum are still too high for mass-production, companies all over the world are eyeing this technology that was once thought impossible because of its importance in the high-end automotive sector. Aluminum paired with steel could become a powerful force in combining the best of both worlds (Wall Street Journal, 2015).

Outages.

Domestic aluminum production at the Logan Mill has tightened up the supply side of the aluminum market, increasing the need for imports from mills in Asia and South America. Though the mill expects to make-up for the three-week outage (Dec 29-Jan 17) in February and March, (Platts, 2015) outages like this demonstrate the high demand of aluminum right now and the market’s need for aluminum sheet, particularly in the beverage can and automotive industries.

Certainly the metals industry is facing some uncertainty ahead, but as we move forward, OFR Metals looks to the future with hope as we understand the market forces and respond accordingly.

Aluminum: What it is Used For

Uses for Aluminum

Aluminum is used for many applications. In this post we will discuss some of the more common industries we supply to; the first of which is the truck and trailer industry.

Aluminum Horse TrailersTruck and Trailer

The truck and trailer industry widely uses aluminum for the construction of trailer bodies. Livestock/horse trailers, sport trailers, and cargo trailers are all typically constructed from aluminum 5052 because of its strength and corrosion resistance. This is an important characteristic for a trailer that might be stuck in the elements.

If you don’t own a horse or motorcycle and don’t have the need to haul anything, well, maybe you need a trailer to hit the great outdoors. Many pull travel trailers are also constructed with an aluminum frame-typically painted aluminum.

commercial lighting, aluminumCommercial Lighting

OK so you don’t like the great outdoors, don’t own a horse or motorcycle, and don’t have the need to haul anything. Well, aluminum is also used in commercial lighting so you can comfortably stay indoors.

Lighting is used just about everywhere you go. It is an important aspect to our everyday lives. But I bet you didn’t know that the frames holding the lights are largely constructed of aluminum (sometimes carbon steel). This is especially true if the lighting is found in a commercial building.

Outdoor Furniture

Now, take a step outside. Although they may be covered up depending on your weather situation, your patio furniture and the outdoor tables at a restaurant are most like made of an aluminum frame. Because aluminum provides excellent corrosion resistance it is ideal for outdoor furniture.

Other uses for aluminum include: heat exchangers, roofing and siding, door hardware, window frames, storage tanks, mailboxes, etc.

Hammes Named Vice President of Supply Chain

Tony Hammes, VP Supply ChainO’Neal Flat Rolled Metals (OFR Metals) announced that Tony Hammes will join the company as the vice president of supply chain.

“I am pleased to welcome Tony Hammes to the OFR Metals team,” said Jeff Simons, president and CEO of OFR Metals. “Tony’s career experience and track record of success positions him well to have an immediate impact on the management of our inventory and supply chain.”

Hammes joins OFR Metals with over 25 years of industry experience. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. During his career he has worked in a variety of positions, including information technologies, operations management, and outsides sales. Hammes also served as vice president of procurement for two metals industry organizations.

In his new role, Hammes will have responsibility for all activities related to purchasing, supplier relations, and managing inventory performance for the company.