what you didn't know about structural steel

What You Don’t Know About Structural Steel

Structural steel beams form the backbone of many construction projects. But what is structural steel and how is it used?

Many people don’t know that structural steel is not one single alloy. Different concentrations of alloying elements are added to accomplish different objectives. Here are some of the most commonly found structural steel alloys:

Cold Rolled ASTM-A1008 is a low carbon steel material that comes in formed shapes such as channel and angle, for general structural applications. The additional steps for cold rolling give the steel a finer finish and improved dimensional accuracy.

Hot rolled (HR) ASTM-A36 mild (low-carbon) steel contains up to 27% carbon – more than standard mild steel. It has a minimum yield point of 36K, and is easily weldable and formable. It is one of the most widely used structural steels in a range of applications, including support frames, machinery and equipment braces, and transportation frames. HR A36 is also available in Galvanized form, for added corrosion resistance.

Hot rolled (HR) ASTM-A529 Grade 50 steel is stronger than A36, meeting the standard of 50K minimum yield strength. This steel is used for supports and structural components in bridges, buildings and other structures requiring increased strength. It can be welded, bolted, riveted, machined and fabricated easily.

Structural Cross Sections

Structural steel comes in different cross sections, including channel, angle, beam, and tee. These cross sectional shapes can either be formed or welded. Because they’re available in a huge variety of sizes and styles, steel structural shapes are used to build everything from furniture to skyscrapers. Common applications include:

  • Marine piers
  • Architecture & building construction
  • Shipbuilding
  • Truck trailers & shipping containers
  • Furniture
  • Heavy equipment
  • and more

Steel Angle Shape

Angle – Steel angle is available in different grades, including Cold Rolled ASTM A-1008, Hot Rolled ASTM-A36 Steel Angle, and Galvanized A36. Steel angle is used for a wide range of applications, including construction equipment, farm implements, manufacturing and repair, and fabrication. Its 90° angled shape adds an abundance of strength and rigidity to numerous projects and it is easy to weld, cut, form and machine.

Tee Shape

Tee – The “T” shape of hot rolled steel tee makes it favorable for applications where large loading bearing capabilities are a must, including fabrication, manufacturing, frames, trailers, etc. The top (flange) provides compressive stress resistance while the vertical section (web) resists shear stresses and bending. This product is also easy to weld, cut, form and machine.

Channel Shape

Channel – Steel channel can be constructed with cold rolled mild steel, hot rolled mild steel or hot rolled ASTM-A36 steel alloy. The interior may be fabricated with radius corners or 90° angled corners. Hot rolled steel channel has a mild steel structural C shape with inside radius corners that are ideal for all types of structural applications. The shape of this product is also ideal for added strength and rigidity over steel angle when a project’s load is vertical or horizontal, and can be easily welded, cut, formed and machined.

Beam Shape

Beam – Hot rolled steel I-beams provide great load bearing support when used horizontally or standing as columns. They are also used regularly throughout the construction industry when heavy load support is required, such as bridges and skyscrapers.

Industrial Metal Supply offers a full line of durable, long-lasting, and versatile structural steel shapes, including steel channel, steel angle, steel beams, and steel tees, a range of standard sizes and lengths. We also provide cut-to-length services as needed to give you steel shapes that match your design requirements.


where do metals come from

Where Do Metals Come From?

To answer the question of where metals come from, first we need to define the word, “metal.” Pure metals are basic elements of matter. There are 118 known elements either found in nature or created in the lab. Most of these elements are metals, but there are a small number of non-metal elements, such as carbon, and a few “in-between” elements, called metalloids.

What Are Metals?

Metals have certain physical properties that distinguish them from non-metals and metalloids. The most obvious difference is that metals conduct heat and electricity very well. They are typically hard when solid, and have a glossy shine. Another important quality of metals is that they are ductile, which means they can be hammered, or worked, into different shapes. They also can be melted and cast into molds, or cut with machine tools to create useful objects.

All of the metals that we find on Earth originated billions of years ago. Inside the ultra-hot environment of the stars, simple hydrogen and helium atoms fused together to create heavier elements. After the original stars exploded, dust and gas from the explosion found its way to our local galaxy and was caught up in the making of our own solar system. Particles swirling around the new sun clumped together into planets, including Earth.

How Do You Make Metal?

A lot of the metal on Earth, especially iron, is found in its core. Metal is scattered unevenly throughout the Earth’s crust, mixed with rock and combined with oxygen and other elements. Some types of rock, such as granite, only hold trace amounts of metal. The metal we use to make buildings, computers, cars and trucks, and many other products comes from underground deposits of mineral ores containing high concentrations of metal.

The earliest humans discovered small bits of naturally abundant metals, such as copper, tin and gold, which they hammered into ornaments and other objects. They learned to mix metals together to create new metals, called alloys, which improved their characteristics. For example by mixing copper with tin, they created bronze, which is much harder and better for weapons than pure copper. An important metal alloy is steel, which is iron mixed with small amounts of carbon.

How Metal Alloys Are Made

The first step in making metal alloys starts with mining the ore from the ground. The ore must then be processed to extract the metal from non-metals, such as rock. The extraction process may include:

  • crushing the ore into powder
  • heating it to high temperatures
  • rinsing it with water or a chemical bath
  • filtering the sludge
  • precipitating out the liquid
  • applying an electric current to break strong chemical bonds

Once the metal has been extracted, it can be used for an enormous number of purposes, from aluminum cans to steel scaffolding, from galvanized roofs to electronic circuits.

For a wide assortment of metal bar, sheet, plate, tubes, pipe, and other shapes, in aluminum, steel, stainless steel, cast iron, brass, and bronze, visit Industrial Metal Supply.


Tips to Advance Welding Skills

7 Tips to Advance your Welding Skills

Whatever your project – whether mending a metal fence or repairing teeth on a backhoe bucket, the following advanced welding tips will help you get the job done faster, and with less waste and effort.

1. Make Good Use of Magnets

Choose from a wide range of specialized magnets or clamps to use as “third hands.” These can securely hold welding tabs, brackets or gussets to the workpiece, lids on a box, or corners perpendicular during the welding process. Use an adjustable welding table to support smaller items. Don’t remove magnets until the weld has completely cooled, so that the hot metal doesn’t shrink and ruin the alignment.

2. Welding Out of Position

If you can’t fix your workpiece in a comfortable, flat welding position using magnets and clamps, it’s important to remember that the weld puddle may drip. If welding overhead, move quickly and steadily using a circular motion but keep the puddle narrow. To allow the puddle to cool faster, maintain a lower electrode temperature by reversing polarity, and use less voltage so that the puddle remains small.

3. Completely Clean Out the Area to Be Repaired

Impurities such as oil, grease, dust, and moisture, can cause problems later if they are absorbed into the metal. Clean out the area thoroughly using a sander or wire brush and wipe away any debris. If repairing cracks, grind them out with a grinder before welding. Where the shape and size of the crack make it impossible to reach the bottom, use a slower welding speed, which allows time for impurities, such as hydrogen bubbles, to rise to the surface before they become trapped.

4. Beware of Hydrogen

Hydrogen is the enemy, when it comes to welding. Certain metals, such as high-strength steel, are more susceptible to hydrogen cracking, which may occur long after the weld is completed. Welding thick or highly restrained pieces can also cause cracking. Before welding, seek and destroy any alien material, such as paint, dust, or grease. Then preheat the metal before, during, and even after welding for a few hours. This slows down the cooling time so that more hydrogen can escape before the metal solidifies.

5. Bead-Laying Tips

With stick welding, it’s important to run a straight bead by keeping an even travel speed – and maintain the angle of the rod so that the slag trails behind. When you get to the end of the weld, run the rod back in the other direction an inch or so, in order to prevent a crater developing that could crack later.

6. Choose the Best Electrode for the Job

For general use stick welding, choose a 6011 electrode, but for thinner material, go with a 6013. Rod diameter should be higher for thicker metal and smaller for thinner stock.

In the case of high-carbon or other high-alloy steels that are harder to weld, it’s important to use low-hydrogen electrodes. Be sure to leave them in the package until the last minute, to expose them to air for as short a time as possible.

7. Be Aware of Aluminum Welding Differences

When welding aluminum, different materials and techniques are required. Aluminum should be welded with either a TIG or MIG process. Before welding, remove oxides from the aluminum surface using a stainless steel brush and solvents. These oxides have a very high melting temperature, which can inhibit the filler from welding with the metal. Use only argon-helium or argon gas to shield the weld. Preheat the area, but don’t overheat, which could cause burn-through. At the end of the weld, don’t leave a crater, which will inevitably lead to cracking. Instead back weld for an inch or so.

For all your welding supplies, including tools, consumables, and accessories, visit Industrial Metal Supply.


how to make tool steel

How Tool Steel is Made

Tool steel, as the name suggests, is often used to produce and repair machine tools and hand tools (among other applications). Known for its extreme hardness, tool steel has good abrasion resistance and can hold a cutting edge at high temperatures.

Different grades of tool steel are made by adding different amounts of carbon, as well as other elements such as chromium, tungsten, and molybdenum. Each type and form of steel is produced with different methods, depending on the characteristics desired.

The most popular forms of tool steel are O-1 and A-2 tool steels, which are both part of the cold-work group of tool steels.

  • O-1 is a general purpose oil-hardening steel with good hardness, strength, and wear resistance. It is mainly used for items like knives and forks.
  • A-2 is an air hardening steel with good machinability along with a balance of wear resistance and toughness. A-2 is the most common variety of air-hardening steel and is often used for blanking and forming punches, trimming dies, and injection mold dies.
  • How to Make Tool Steel

    The basic process of making tool steel starts with recycled steel scrap which is melted in an electric arc furnace, along with any alloying elements. The molten mixture is poured into a giant ladle and mixed with chemicals to prevent oxidation. After impurities are removed through this refining stage, the steel is allowed to flow down into large molds to make ingots.

    After un-molding, the red-hot ingots are forged with huge mechanical dies to press them into the desired size and shape. The finished forgings are annealed by re-heating to reduce internal stresses formed during the forging process. Then they are allowed to cool slowly either in water, air, or an oil bath, allowing the metal crystals to re-form. This annealing process keeps the steel soft enough to work without cracking. It can then be cold- or hot-rolled into the desired shape.

    Advanced Methods

    An alternative method of making tool steel is to position the ladle of hot molten steel over a vertical open-ended mold. The molten steel runs down through the cooled mold, and begins to harden near the mold’s inner surface. As more steel passes through the mold, the partially hardened metal continues to move down and then out onto water-cooled rollers. The result is a long, continuous bar or rod of steel.

    For a tool steel with better surface quality and fewer imperfections, manufacturers use a process called electro-slag re-melting (ESR). Giant water-cooled molds are filled with a pool of heated slag containing reactive chemicals. A consumable steel ingot, called an electrode, is lowered down into the slag. An electric current passed through the electrode causes it to melt, its liquid drops of steel pulled by the current towards the bottom of the mold. As the drops flow downward through the hot slag, impurities react with chemicals in the pool and float to the top. Only pure steel droplets reach the bottom, where they solidify and eventually build up a homogeneous steel ingot inside the mold.

    Another, more advanced process uses powdered metal to form tool steel with improved hardening and machinability. This process has better results for tool steel with higher percentages of carbon and alloying material, required for applications such as aerospace components.

    Industrial Metal Supply offers tool steel bar in O-1 and A-2 grades. Note that not all sizes and alloys are stocked in every IMS location, but we can get it to you in any case.


    tips for preventing rust

    6 Tips For Preventing Rust

    Rust is the name for the orange-brown flakes of iron oxide that form on the surface of any metal containing iron that is exposed to air and water. It is a type of corrosion that can be highly destructive, as well as unsightly. In this article, we will share tips on how to prevent rust.

    The rusting process begins when iron reacts with oxygen in the presence of water, saltwater, acids, or other harsh chemicals. As the iron oxide flakes off the metal surface, it exposes fresh iron molecules, which continue the reaction process. Eventually, large areas of rust form that may cause the entire metal structure to disintegrate.

    A ferrous metal is one that contains iron and only iron can rust. Common ferrous metals include carbon steel (1018, 12L14), alloy steel (4130), and stainless steel (304, 316). Non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum and copper, contain little if any iron, and so cannot rust, though they can corrode.

    Keep It Clean and Dry

    Water is enemy number one when it comes to rust, because it’s the oxygen in water molecules that combines with iron to form iron oxide. That’s why metals left outdoors, such as cars, gates, or tanks, are more likely to rust. If the object is located in a humid indoors environment, such as a garage or basement, install a dehumidifier. Any type of mud or dirt adhered to the surface can hold water, so it’s important to keep metals clean.

    Prevent Scratches

    Scratches or cracks in the metal expose more metal and hold water, allowing it to remain in contact with the iron. This is why cold rolled steel is more corrosion resistant than hot rolled steel, because cold rolling creates a smoother surface without texture that can trap and hold water.

    Apply A Protective Coating

    Dipping metal objects, such as clocks, into a bluing solution of water, sodium hydroxide, and potassium nitrate, provides strong corrosion resistance. Commercially available rust prevention products in the form of aerosol sprays or cloth wipes also can protect metal objects, including tools, outdoor gear, vehicles, and large metal parts.

    Use Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel alloys contain iron, but it resists rust because it also contains a high percentage of chromium which is even more reactive than iron. The chromium in the alloy oxidizes quickly to form a protective layer of chromium oxide on the metal surface which prevents oxygen from reaching the underlying steel.

    Use Galvanized Metal

    Galvanization is a process used to preserve steel rust-free for many years. In the galvanizing process, a piece of steel is coated with liquid zinc. The zinc protects the steel in three different ways. First, the zinc coating acts as a barrier preventing oxygen and water from reaching the steel. Second, even if the coating is scratched off, the zinc continues to protect nearby areas of the metal through cathodic protection. And third, zinc is highly reactive to oxygen and quickly forms a protective coating of zinc oxide which prevents the iron from further oxidation.

    Regular Maintenance

    Because rust spreads quickly, it’s important to scrape it off as soon as it appears. Then, scrub with warm water and soap and apply a metal conditioner or other protective coating to prevent further oxidation. If necessary, apply a new coat of paint to the area.

    Industrial Metal Supply is the Southland’s largest supplier of all types of metal and metalworking accessories, including rust prevention products.


    best metals for welding

    Best Metals for Welding

    The best metals for welding depend on the project design and budget, the skill and experience of the welder, and the welding process to be used. Almost any metal can be welded, but some are easier than others for creating a high-quality, defect-free weld.

    Some types of metal require special equipment, such as a vacuum or gas chamber, limits on heat exposure, or pre- and post-welding heat treatment. Some perform better with different types of welding, whether stick, TIG, or MIG. Choosing the right electrode and filler material for the base metal and following prescribed welding procedures is essential. Each specific situation depends on the base metal’s chemical makeup.

    Low Carbon Steel

    Also known as mild steel, low carbon steel contains a very small percentage of carbon (less than 0.3%) and up to about 0.4% manganese (AISI 1018 steel). This commonly used steel is very ductile, due to its low carbon content. High ductility means high weldability because it reduces the chance of brittleness in the heat affected zone (HAZ), which can lead to hydrogen cracking. Low carbon steel can be welded using almost any type of equipment and is one of the best metals for welding.

    Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel can be quite weldable, depending on the grade. Ferritic and austenitic stainless steels can be welded fairly easily, but not martensitic stainless types, which tend to crack. Stainless steel tends to warp under high heat, which can affect the shape and strength of the final workpiece. Another issue is that the chromium in stainless will combine with carbon during the welding process, leaving the piece more susceptible to rust without its chromium oxide protective layer. To prevent this problem, don’t heat the workpiece above the recommended temperature, or choose a low-carbon stainless grade.

    Aluminum

    Creating a defect-free weld in aluminum is different than welding steel, but can be done by following the prescribed guidelines. Choosing the proper grade is important, as some types are much easier than others to weld. Because of aluminum’s high thermal conductivity, heat is transferred away from the weld very quickly. Equipment with a higher welding current may be required to supply the necessary heat. As it cools, aluminum shrinks significantly more than steel, so special care must be taken to prevent craters and cracking. Finally, the natural aluminum oxide coating on the base metal can add contaminants, and should be removed prior to welding to avoid porosity in the weld.

    Other Metal Types

    Other metals, including magnesium, copper, cast iron, titanium and superalloys such as Inconel, can be welded. These will typically require special equipment and expert skill, making them less weldable for traditional job shops and hobbyists.

    Industrial Metal Supply is your one-stop shop in the Southwest for all things metal. Visit our catalog for a wide selection of metal products, including steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, as well as all the machines, supplies, and accessories you need for welding.


    what are the strongest metals

    What Are The Strongest Metals?

    Although there are several different definitions of strength, including hardness, yield strength, and compressive strength, this article focuses mainly on tensile strength, which is the force required to stretch an object or pull it apart.

    The first three metals on the list are elements found in nature, while the last three are man-made mixtures of elements (alloys) crafted for applications requiring high strength. The strongest pure or natural metals can’t match the strength of alloys specifically designed for high strength, along with other useful properties such as heat resistance, durability, biocompatibility, and corrosion resistance.

    Chromium

    Chromium metal rates highest on the Mohs hardness scale, but it is brittle, and must be mixed with other metals for greater tensile strength, for example, in stainless steel.

    Tungsten

    Tungsten has the highest tensile strength of any pure metal – up to 500,000 psi at room temperature. Even at very high temperatures over 1,500°C, it has the highest tensile strength. However, tungsten metal is brittle, making it less useable in its pure state.

    Titanium

    Pure titanium has a higher tensile strength than standard steel, but it is less dense, giving it a very high strength-to-weight ratio. However, steel alloys are stronger than pure titanium.

    Inconel

    Inconel is an alloy of nickel and chromium, with several other elements, such as molybdenum. Inconel comes in several different grades, and is known for high strength at high temperatures, as well as corrosion resistance.

    Steel Alloys

    Steel itself is an alloy of carbon and iron. Alloys of steel with additional elements added, such as carbon (tool) steel and stainless steel can be crafted that are much stronger than standard steel. Each alloy is specifically designed to optimize different properties for different applications. Tensile strength, corrosion resistance, hardness, impact resistance, yield strength, and other properties, depend on the alloying elements chosen and the processes used.

    Magnesium Alloys

    Scientists continue to develop and test new alloys with even greater properties. In recent years, several different university research groups have announced new types of magnesium alloys that exhibit exceptional strength, along with light weight and high corrosion resistance. These new materials are already being used in smartphone and laptop cases, electric batteries, and medical implants.

    Contact Industrial Metal Supply for in-stock supply of carbon steel and stainless steel bar, sheet, and plate, as well as tubing, pipe, and structural shapes.


    cleaning stainless steel

    Ways to Clean Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel is a wonderful material, providing a strong, attractive, waterproof and “stainless” finish to many different types of products, such as appliances, hand-rails, tanks, etc. But stainless does not always remain rust-free, and it often needs cleaning, especially outdoors or in environments around food, pharmaceuticals or other chemicals. At the same time, when preparing stainless steel for fabrication or finishing, it’s essential to ensure the surface is clean. There are fundamental differences in these two ways of cleaning stainless steel.

    Cleaning Stainless Appliances

    When cleaning the surface of stainless steel appliances, vent hoods or tanks, start with the simplest solutions first. Water, a drop of dish soap, and a microfiber cloth applied with elbow grease can accomplish a lot. Be sure to dry off any leftover water to prevent streaking. To shine the finish, rub a cloth containing a couple drops of mineral oil in line with the metal grain. If the surface shows cloudy oxidation or rust, use a non-toxic, non-acidic product such as Flitz Polish to remove the oxidation. For heavier stains, grease, mold or rust, use a commercial stainless steel cleaner that contains a degreaser.

    Metal Surface Preparation

    In the process of making a stainless steel product, oxide scale can form on the steel as a result of hot rolling, thermal treatments, welding, and brazing. Lubricants and coolants may be applied to the stainless during cutting and forming operations and bits of metal from cutting tools may become embedded in the surface. Shop dirt, fingerprints, and grime may accumulate on the stainless during handling and storage, and even protective paper or plastic sheets may permanently adhere to the surface over time. All these contaminants must be removed in the surface preparation process before welding, priming, painting, electro-static painting, and powder coating stainless steel.

    Is Stainless Steel Really Stainless?

    Stainless steel contains at least 10 percent chromium, which is a highly reactive metal. The chromium on the surface of a piece of stainless oxidizes (rusts) quickly in the presence of oxygen or water molecules in the atmosphere. These oxidized chromium molecules form a very thin, tight film, called a passivation layer that acts as a barrier against the surrounding air, preventing any further oxidation of the steel.

    But when this protective film is broken up in the process of manufacturing, a heavy scale can form on the surface. This scale could cause a welding or adhesion failure, and it is removed by “pickling,” or applying a combination of acids to the surface. Typically nitric acid is part of the solution, because it encourages the passivation layer to form. Another method for removing scale from stainless steel is sandblasting.

    Certain types of welding can create a light scale or a heat tint discoloration on the surface. Any type of screw holes or other attachment points that create a break in the passivation film leave the stainless susceptible to rust.

    Applying a pickling solution or metal degreaser to remove oil, grease, scale and rust should be followed by a protective coating to prevent further rust and leave a brighter surface finish.

    Industrial Metal Supply carries cleaners, polishers, and degreasers for stainless steel and a range of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.


    Selecting Tool Grade Steel

    4 Things To Consider When Selecting a Tool Grade Steel

    Known for their distinct hardness, tool steels are used to make cutting tools including knives and drills, as well as to create dies that stamp and form sheet metal. Though selecting a tool steel may seem straightforward, the process requires tradeoffs – making the task an art as well as a science. Choosing the optimal tool steel grade will depend on many factors, including:

    1. Characteristics of available tool steel grades
    2. The specific application
    3. The history of failures in similar applications
    4. Tool steel cost

    Tool Steel Grades and Corresponding Applications

    Tool steels are available in a wide range of grades, based on their composition, the temperature range in which they were forged or rolled, and the type of hardening they have undergone. The AISISAE general purpose grades of tool steel are O-1, A-2, and D-2. These standard grade steels are considered “cold-working steels,” that can hold their cutting edge at temperatures up to about 400°C. They exhibit good hardness, abrasion resistance, and deformation resistance.

    O-1 is an oil-hardening steel with high hardness and good machinability. This grade of tool steel is mainly used for items like cutting tools and drills, as well as knives and forks.

    A-2 is an air-hardening steel containing a medium amount of alloying material (chromium). It has good machinability along with a balance of wear resistance and toughness. A-2 is the most commonly used variety of air-hardening steel and is often used for blanking and forming punches, trimming dies and injection mold dies.

    D-2 steel can be either oil-hardened or air-hardened, and contains a higher percentage of carbon and chromium than O-1 and A-2 steel. It has a high wear resistance, good toughness and low distortion after heat treating. The higher carbon and chromium levels in D-2 steel make it a good choice for applications requiring a longer tool life.

    Other tool steel grades contain a higher percentage of different types of alloys, such as high-speed steel M2, which can be selected for high-volume production. A variety of hot working steels can maintain a sharp cutting edge at much higher temperatures of up to 1000°C.

    How Does Tool Steel Fail?

    Before selecting a tool steel grade, it’s important to consider which type of tool failure is most likely for this application by examining failed tools. For example, some tooling fails due to abrasive wear, in which the material being cut wears down the tool surface, though this type of failure is slow to occur and can be anticipated. A tool that has become worn to failure needs a tool steel with greater wear resistance.

    Other types of failure are more catastrophic, such as cracking, chipping, or plastic deformation. For a tool that has broken or cracked, the toughness or impact resistance of the tool steel should be increased (note that impact resistance is reduced by notches, undercuts, and sharp radii, which are common in tools and dies). For a tool that has deformed under pressure, hardness should be increased.

    Keep in mind, however, that tool steel properties are not directly related to each other, so for instance, you may need to sacrifice toughness for higher wear resistance. This is why it’s so important to understand the properties of different tool steels, as well as other factors such as the geometry of the die, the material being worked, and the manufacturing history of the tool itself.

    Cost Of Tool Steel

    A final issue to consider when selecting a tool steel grade is cost. Cutting corners on the choice of material may not result in lower overall production cost if the tool proves to be inferior and fails prematurely. A cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken to ensure that the tool steel material chosen will provide the performance required.

    Industrial Metal Supply offers a variety of shapes and sizes of tool steel bar in O-1 and A-2 grades.


    steel diamond tread plate

    How Are Diamond Plates Made

    How Are Aluminum Diamond Plates Manufactured?

    Diamond plates go by several names, including tread plate, diamond tread plate, deck plate, and checker plate. All these names refer to the same basic product: metal sheet, or plate, with a three-dimensional diamond-shaped or bar-shaped pattern embossed on one side.

    Diamond plates offer a rugged, maintenance-free, slip-free surface that makes stairs, ramps, vehicle running boards, and walking surfaces safer, especially when wet. It provides protection to bumpers, docks, walls, columns, toolboxes, etc. Aluminum diamond plates also makes an attractive backsplash or wall covering or decorative accent in modern industrial-style interiors.

    Diamond tread plates comes in different types of aluminum alloys, and steel, but it is called floor or tread plate when made of steel. There are two basic methods for making diamond plate – stamping and rolling.

    Stamping Diamonds

    A sheet metal stamping machine uses a metal die on a room-temperature metal sheet to create the raised diamond pattern. After the molded die presses down to emboss a small section of the sheet, the automated machine moves the sheet along a bed of rollers, and then the block stamps the next section until the entire sheet has been embossed.

    Rolling diamonds

    Most metal sheet is created through the process of rolling, in which pairs of heavy rollers gradually compress a block of very hot metal to create the desired thickness and cross-section. Diamond plate can be created near the end of the rolling process while the metal is still hot, or in a separate process after the metal sheet has cooled. Either way, one of the rollers is covered in a raised diamond pattern. By using just a single patterned roller, the resulting diamond plate will remain smooth and flat on the back side, making it easier to install.

    Industrial Metal Supply offers steel tread plate that meets ASTM A786 standards, and aluminum tread plate in 3003 and 6061 alloys. Four styles are available:

    • Tread Brite is the most common type of aluminum tread plate. It has a shiny appearance and can be used for a wide variety of applications, including architectural and decorative, as well as functional.
    • Embossed Firetruck-Quality (FTQ) Tread Plate has the same pattern as Tread Brite, but with a slightly modified textured diamond¬¬ which provides an even better grip. FTQ meets NFPA industry safety regulations.
    • 5-Bar Tread Plate has a unique pattern of individual blocks of five parallel bars positioned perpendicularly with neighboring blocks like the squares on a checkerboard.
    • Mill Finish Tread Plate comes in aluminum or steel with a matte-finish diamond pattern. It is used primarily in structural applications that do not require bending.

    Contact Industrial Metal Supply for all your diamond tread plate needs.