Category Archive: Materials

High Cost of Raw Materials: How to Save by Understanding the Supply Chain

Raw material sourcing issues can have a significant impact on the overall supply chain. Volatility and price fluctuations involving raw material markets create a trickle-down effect that touches every sector. COVID-19 has affected industries more intensely and for a much more extended period than ever anticipated. With an approximately 18% higher Raw Material Price Index last year as compared to 2020 and material prices averaging up due to prolonged instability, despite analysts expecting some stabilizing this year, suppliers would be wise to prepare for the potential of future price increases and volatility.

Raw Material Issue

The beginning of the coronavirus pandemic saw a decrease in demand for most raw materials as consumers and business owners alike shifted their focus to keeping themselves, their families, and others safe by staying home. With diminished demand came decreased production. This, combined with supply chain disruptions and economic instability, has resulted in upheaval and increasing market prices for raw materials. For those suppliers closer to the bottom of the supply chain who depend on raw materials as a large portion of their overall costs, lack of access to cost-effective raw materials can be devastating.

The procurement of raw materials and part sourcing can create an unwelcome disturbance that is not limited in scope. The following industries are just a small number of examples of the widespread impact of problematic raw material sourcing:

  • Apparel
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Industrial equipment
  • Oil and gas

Solutions

Global shipping and supply chain

The first step to decreasing the impact of rising raw materials costs and shortages is to create a snapshot of your sourcing strengths and vulnerabilities. In determining the actual raw materials used in part production and how that corresponds to demand for parts, you can better forecast your comprehensive material requirements.

  • Financial modeling. Procurement departments that are skilled at in-depth monitoring of expenses and evaluating any inherent risk, limit, or variation possibilities enable the broadest hedging options.
  • Intensive review of the supply chain. All stages of the supply chain should receive careful consideration to minimize waste, evaluate raw material sourcing locations, and analyze the balance between sustainability and value, with the goal of creating cost savings over time.
  • Measurability and sustainability. Leading companies are enacting more environmentally friendly techniques like new recycling methods or reworked product modifications that take both organizational reputation and cost into consideration.

Additionally, OEMs lessen the burden on the part supplier by capturing the contract manufacturers’ raw data for each part. This allows OEMs to better forecast the raw material requirements, allowing for the timely purchase of what they need. Doing so can result in the following:

  • Better pricing from suppliers
  • Favorable contract terms for procurement departments
  • Improved efficiency in supply chain operations
  • Shorter lead times for receiving raw materials

Finally, scrap materials can be a significant cost, particularly for larger components. By modifying parts instead, companies can maximize material yield and save on scrap metal expenses. Additionally, another way to cut costs is to consider changing the type of material used if the current material is in high demand or requires additional steps to process.

Looking to the Future

Creating a greener economy starts with business leaders who embrace a futuristic vision and adopt stewardship measures. Traditionally, OEMs, contract manufacturers, and suppliers have looked to the past or to guesswork for forecasting raw material demand in the future. However, choosing to better understand the supply chain and the raw materials used in products, then sharing that information with the sources of those materials, allows OEMs to improve their cost of doing business both now and in the future.

Metal Craft Spinning and Stamping has over 56 years of experience and has grown to produce thousands of items for supply to customers across North America. With a commitment to exceeding our customers’ expectations through quality products and innovation coupled with on-time delivery, we can provide precise, accurate metal parts to fulfill your project requirements.

Contact us today or request a quote, and we will be in touch to see how we can meet your metal forming needs.

Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel: Which Is the Better Choice?

Both stainless steel and galvanized steel are strong and durable, but each one has specific advantages, depending on the application. When it comes to galvanized steel vs. stainless steel, you have to understand the difference between the two and consider what type of product you’re making and what demands it will face in its environment. From there, the best choice for you will become clear. 

What Is Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel?

Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel
Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to protect it from rust, while stainless steel is an alloy made with at least 10% chromium for the same reason: to guard against rust and corrosion. There are several types of stainless steel, each determined by the type and amount of additional materials, like chromium, as well as nickel, titanium, manganese, and/or molybdenum, present in the steel: 

  • Austenitic stainless steel
  • Ferritic stainless steel
  • Long-wearing martensitic steel
  • Duplex stainless steel
  • Precipitation-hardening stainless steel

Benefits & Drawbacks of Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel

The strengths and weaknesses of each type of steel will help you determine whether it’s right for your application:

Galvanized Steel

galvanized steelGalvanized steel is water-resistant, but it does not hold up well under salt water. When compared to stainless steel, it’s easier to work with and much less expensive. For many construction applications, galvanized steel is a trusted, economical choice, as long as it won’t be in contact with salt water.

However, one drawback is in the welding process: the zinc coating releases toxic fumes that can contribute to flu-like symptoms and discomfort, so it’s important for welders to have the proper protective equipment. Because welding removes the zinc in the welding area, that area is subject to corrosion. In many situations, it may be preferable to galvanize the steel after the welding process is complete. 

Stainless Steel

Steel sheets in warehouse, rolled metal product. 3d illustrationExceptionally strong and rust-resistant, stainless steel withstands contact with both fresh and salt water—but not chlorinated water, which will cause the steel to degrade quickly. It offers more corrosion resistance than galvanized steel, making it a great choice for marine and aerospace applications.

One major drawback is the cost: stainless steel can be about five times more expensive than galvanized steel. It also requires highly skilled welders with exceptional patience and control. Further, stainless steel can weld itself together if two pieces are in contact and the friction rubs through the coating, which could be a concern in certain applications.

Applications of Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel

click to expandGalvanized Steel vs Stainless Steel Which Is the Better Choice

Hinges, gaskets, and fasteners like nuts, bolts, screws, and nails are often made of galvanized steel to withstand extreme weather conditions. In high-moisture environments, like automobile exhaust pipes, marine applications, and the aerospace industry, stainless steel is typically the best choice. 

Choosing between galvanized and stainless steel comes down to your application. For example, galvanized steel is not effective in marine applications. In that situation, stainless steel is essential.

However, in most circumstances, galvanized steel is going to be the more economical option. Materials and labor are both more affordable, and you can still depend on galvanized steel’s strength and long service life. 

At Metal Craft Spinning & Stamping, we’ve been producing high-quality products for our clients for nearly 60 years. As a fourth-generation family-operated company, we’re committed to building long-term, trusted relationships with our clients by providing on-time delivery, a collaborative process, and a personalized approach to every project. Request a quote today, or contact us to learn more about our products and services and whether galvanized steel or stainless steel is best for your project.

Aluminum vs. Steel

Steel and aluminum are materials found in virtually every industry for a variety of industrial and consumer products. While they look similar, there are considerable differences between the two. In this blog, we’ll discuss both materials and their differences to help you determine the best one for your application.

Strength and Malleability

Aluminum is more elastic and ductile, allowing it to be bent, extruded, or stretched without cracking or breaking. It increases strength in colder environments, although it is susceptible to dents and scratches. In contrast, steel is tough and resilient but has the added risks of rust and corrosion, as well as cracking or ripping during spinning due to reduced malleability and ductility. However, it is a much harder and more durable material than aluminum, making it resistant to bending or warping from heat, weight, or force, or heat.

Weight

Aluminum vs Steel
Aluminum vs. steel weight is a significant determinant in which material is preferable for applications where every extra pound can decrease speed, aerodynamics, and fuel efficiency. In those applications, aluminum is clearly superior as it is lightweight, easy to handle, and less expensive to ship. When durability is the primary concern, the weight of steel makes it the optimal choice due to the high concentration of carbon that results in 5x the weight and density of aluminum. However, shape and structural rigidity are other significant factors in the strength of a material, making aluminum a viable option at half the weight of steel.

Corrosion Resistance

Aluminum reigns supreme for corrosion resistance without additional treatments for protection after being extruded due to a naturally occurring oxide film that is an inhibitor to rust. Various optional finishes can enhance aluminum’s aesthetic appeal, such as brushing, painting, powder coating, anodizing, painting, media blasting, polishing, or chemical washing. In contrast, steel must be treated or painted to get the same level of protection from rust and corrosion. If steel is required for applications exposed to moisture, humidity, or abrasion, it must be treated appropriately to keep it from degrading.

Cost

When comparing stainless steel vs. aluminum cost, steel is frequently less expensive per pound than aluminum. However, the price of metals fluctuates constantly depending on fuel costs, price and availability of bauxite ore and iron, and global supply and demand. The price of steel can also depend upon the type. Carbon steel and mild steel are generally less expensive, while the cost of stainless steel can exceed that of aluminum.

Quality Services From Metal Craft Spinning & Stamping

There is no one winner when comparing aluminum vs. steel. They each have beneficial qualities that make them highly desirable and widely used across numerous industries and applications. Metal Craft Spinning & Stamping has over half a century of experience supplying hundreds of customers across North America with accurate, dependable services for both aluminum and steel, including stamping, and metal spinning services. We use cutting-edge technology and equipment along with a company-wide dedication to quality.

Contact us today to discuss your needs or for questions about our services and capabilities. Get pricing by submitting a quote request with a few details about your project.