General information on steel channels
Steel channels also referred to as c or u channels are long metal sections that consist of a web and two parallel flanges. Flanges can either be of equal length or longer than the web. Kloeckner Metals UK supplies standard hot rolled channels which can be subjected to a variety of additional procedures and treatments to manipulate shape or mechanical properties. Channels can for example be cold rolled, oiled or shot blasted to establish a particular design aesthetic. The fact that metal c channels are easily manipulated make them a very versatile steel product that is widely applicable throughout multiple industries.
How are steel channels manufactured?
The manufacturing of steel channels typically begins with the melting of primary steel products. Blooms, ingots and billets are rolled at ambient temperature (approx. 1100°C) allowing the drastic reshaping of material using only a few rolling cycles. Hot rolling generally has a greater effect on material shape than mechanical properties. Exposure to ambient temperature also causes mill scale to be formed on the product surface. If left untreated mill scale can help protect u channel steel against light corrosion. Mill scale can however also be removed using descaling. A descaled channel has a polished surface and therefore greater design appeal. Quick cooling after hot rolling limits abilities to manufacture u channels according to precise measurements. They hence tend to be utilized in industries where precise tolerances and aesthetic appeal are deemed less important. If exact dimensions and design are important, subsequent cold rolling techniques can be applied. Since rolling temperature has a direct influence on mechanical properties of steel it should be chosen to suit end product application.
What are the benefits of steel channel sections?
Like the majority of steel products, channels are 100% recyclable and thus a uniquely sustainable material. A low carbon content of c channel steel causes these to be easily manipulated without the need of specialist machinery or tooling. Channels are easily customised in terms of shape and length but also in terms of mechanical properties and design appeal. They are hence very versatile and thus suitable for a wide range of applications and industries. This versatility together with the fact that large quantities of channels can be manufactured quickly and at a low cost increases popularity throughout multiple sectors.
Which industries utilise metal channels in their manufacture?
Metal channels are utilized in various different industries ranging from agriculture, energy, engineering, construction to oil & gas, transport or fencing. In fact, we are surrounded by steel channels on a daily basis. Common applications include door and curtain tracks & sliders. Channels can also serve to protect the edges of walls and are especially suited for framing. Metal c channel is for example commonly found in window and door or vehicle frames.