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The challenges of higher-strength steel and lubricants
By: Jeff Jeffery
Among the challenges facing the metal stamping industry is
the increased use of high-strength steel (HSS).
Because of the lower cost and greater ease of welding and processing,
HSS platforms continue to be attractive to automotive makers. While HSS substrates offer many positive aspects,
these alloys can be challenging in the pressroom. These alloys possess higher work-hardening
rates, higher tensile strengths, and can be thinner than conventional
steel. With increased use of more
advanced and ultra-high-strength steel, press shops face much higher
deformation temperatures, causing more tool abrasion, galling, edge cracking
and other issues solved by using “honey oil”.
Historical practices would dictate the use of oil-based
lubricants or products heavily fortified with chlorine and sulphur-based EP
additives. While these methods may
address the forming of the parts, welding and pretreatment processes may be
negatively impacted by the increased amount of oil, and cause difficulty in
The EPA has begun the process of banning the use of most chlorinated
paraffins. A specific end date has not
been announced, but an alternative to the product will be necessary in the near
future. With the increased use of HSS,
press shops have increased the use of chlorinated paraffins that have been the
“go-to” solution for these issues for more than 60 years. The EPA considers 99 percent of chlorinated
paraffin used in the United States as hazardous and the ban includes their use
and import in all metalworking fluids.
Lubricant manufacturers are offering new chlorine-free products to help
solvesthe issues caused by increased use of HSS and still comply with the
latest EPA regulations.
Many companies have been using products containing
chlorinated paraffins for a considerable period of time and their operations
depend on it. These companies must evaluate
their use of these products and adjust both the types of lubricant used and the
customary use of these products. By
addressing both the bad habits of over-application and transitioning to
chlorine-free paraffins, your press-room can be compliant and effective in
addressing issues caused by stamping HSS.
Jeff Jeffery is the
CEO of IRMCO, a leading lubricant manufacturer.
The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) appreciates and relies on
Jeff’s expertise. Join Jeff and other
experts at the Deep Draw Seminar, February 23-24, 2016.
President Trump yesterday signed a proclamation placing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports. Mexico and Canada are exempted from the tariffs for now. The tariffs take effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 23. The President’s action is the result of recommendations from two Section 232 (national security) investigations conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department.
According to the proclamation, within 10 days, the Commerce Department will announce the process for filing a request for an exclusion for steel and aluminum products not available in the U.S.
These tariffs will place at risk the jobs of millions of Americans who are employed in the metalforming, metal stamping and other U.S. industries that use steel. Restricted availability and increased costs for raw materials will likely lead to current customers sourcing finished products from overseas competitors, who will produce them with foreign steel or aluminum and import them tariff-free.
Blogger: Kathy Kiernan Senior
Vice President & Managing Partner, APPI Energy Retail electricity prices are largely driven
by natural gas prices. Even though your
system operator (PJM, ERCOT, MISO, NEPOOL) is procuring power from a variety of
sources—hydroelectric, wind, solar, nuclear, coal, gas—the way system operators
pay generating plants is based on the last fuel used to meet demand, which is
almost always natural gas. Therefore, the amount you pay per kWh is determined
primarily by the current price of natural gas in your region. Retail electricity prices tend to follow
trends in natural gas prices. Gas prices, however, are significantly more
volatile than electricity prices. For example, when we see gas prices
fluctuate by as much as 70% in a single month, corresponding electricity prices
will generally move in the same direction, but by only around 10%. The change
in electricity prices will also typically lag behind gas prices by a couple of
the financial secto…
Guest Blog: Laurie Harbour President and CEO, Harbour Results, Inc.
In 2016 the U.S. manufacturing industry was relatively stable with overall production slightly up from previous years. Specifically, the automotive tool and die industry was predicted to be busy with forecasted tooling spend on the rise. However, taking a closer look, the year proved to be a bit more challenging. Data collected through the Harbour Results’ Harbour IQ pulse survey (a business intelligence tool for performance, financial, operational, trend and market data), which was completed by more than 100 tool shops globally in the second quarter of 2016, has shown that capacity reached a low of 81 percent among die shops in late 2015 and early 2016, but was expected to rebound to 78 and 86 percent respectively by year end.
So what caused the slow down? Program delays—on average, just over 20 percent of vehicle launches were delayed in 2015 and 2016. Work on hold—in early 2016, 18 percent of all work that had been …