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How Structural Steel Is Made

How is structural steel made? Structural steel production involves mixing iron, carbon and potentially other elements at extremely high temperatures.

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Walk around any city or town in Australia, and you’ll see many examples of buildings that have been created using structural steel. Drive on any roads and you’ll cross bridges that are only possible because of the product.

While you might not know it, structural steel is practically everywhere in your life. It may even be in the home you’re living in now.

Have you ever wondered how structural steel is made? It’s not a material that’s pulled from the ground. It has to be meticulously crafted to ensure that the buildings, bridges, and other structures made from it stand the test of time.

The process of making structural steel

Structural steel is the backbone of modern construction. It supports skyscrapers, bridges, and countless other architectural marvels. 

However, behind its strength and durability lies a meticulous process involving precision, expertise and unwavering commitment to quality. 

At the heart of structural steel production are raw materials such as iron ore, coal, and limestone. These ingredients undergo a complex process known as smelting in blast furnaces, where they are heated to extreme temperatures to extract molten iron. This molten iron is then refined and treated to remove impurities, resulting in pure steel.

Often, structural steel can contain other elements. Elements such as nickel, manganese, chromium and nickel. These materials can be added to enhance specific properties like hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance.

The process of making structural steel

Forming and shaping

Once the raw steel is obtained, it undergoes a series of forming and shaping processes to achieve the desired dimensions and properties. 

This involves heating the steel to high temperatures and passing it through rollers to shape it into various profiles, such as beams, channels and plates. Skilled technicians meticulously monitor this process to ensure precise dimensions and uniformity throughout the steel components.

Quality control

Quality control is paramount at every stage of structural steel production. 

Experienced inspectors rigorously test the steel for strength, ductility and other mechanical properties to ensure compliance with industry standards and specifications. Advanced testing techniques, including ultrasonic testing and magnetic particle inspection, are employed to detect any defects or imperfections that could compromise the integrity of the steel.

Fabrication and assembly

Once the steel components are formed and tested, they are ready for fabrication and assembly. 

Skilled welders meticulously join the individual pieces together using advanced welding techniques, such as arc welding and gas metal arc welding. Careful attention is paid to weld quality and integrity to ensure the structural integrity of the final product.

Surface treatment

To enhance durability and protect against corrosion, structural steel may undergo surface treatment, such as galvanising and painting. 

Galvanising involves coating the steel with a layer of zinc to provide sacrificial protection against rust and corrosion. Painting further enhances protection and can also be used for aesthetic purposes, allowing architects to achieve their desired finishes.

Installation and erection

The final step in the process is the installation and erection of the structural steel components on-site. 

It may be the final step, but it’s as important as the other steps. It involves experienced steel erectors carefully lifting and positioning the steel beams, columns and other components according to precise engineering specifications. 

Advanced lifting equipment and techniques are employed to ensure safe and efficient installation, minimising downtime and maximising productivity.

The ingenuity of structural steel 

While raw materials are important in the production of structural steel, in reality, it’s about expertise and ingenuity. The process of making structural steel is a testament to human inventiveness, precision and dedication to quality. 

From the raw materials to the final installation, every step requires expertise, experience and attention to detail to ensure the production of structural steel that will withstand the test of time. 

As the backbone of modern construction, structural steel serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and excellence in engineering.

The ingenuity of structural steel 

You create the need, Kelly Steel will provide the know-how

While you now know more about how structural steel is made, when it comes to the process, you should leave it to the experts at Kelly Steel.

At Kelly Steel, we specialise steel fabrication for industrial, commercial and residential projects. With our adept skills, extensive experience and profound expertise, we craft steel structures tailored to our clients’ needs and specifications.

However, our commitment extends beyond mere construction. Fueled by our passion for the industry and dedication to our clients, we prioritise cultivating lasting relationships.

This dedication has cemented our position as a trusted steel fabrication partner for the past three decades. Moving forward, this unwavering commitment will continue to fortify our reputation and drive our success for the next thirty years and beyond.

Will structural steel produced today still be around in 100 years

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