General information on steel flats
Steel flat sections have many different names including flat steel, flat bar, flat metal or steel bar. Generally, flats are long solid steel sections with flat or convex edges. Kloeckner offers standard hot rolled flats in different quality alloys, surface treatments and cut to length to suit your industry specific needs. Their popularity stems from the fact that steel flats are easily manufactured at great speed and at a comparably low cost. Additionally, flats are easily connected to other materials, significantly broadening their spectrum of application.
How are flats manufactured?
The general manufacturing process of steel sections typically begins with the melting of primary steel products. These (blooms, billets and ingots) are heated using a billet heating furnace. The resulting product is rolled at an ambient temperature of approximately 1100°C allowing drastic reshaping using only a few rolling cycles. A series of different rollers help reduce the cross-sectional area while also elongating the channel. This process is referred to as hot rolling. High temperatures lead to the formation of mill scale on the material surface. Mill scale can be removed through pickling, oiling or shot blasting. It can however also protect steel against light corrosion and is therefore sometimes not removed. When material passes through the finishing mill, it cools down to approximately 900°C. Rapid cooling limits control to produce flats according to precise measurements. The rate at which steel cools generally affects material properties and should therefore be carefully monitored in order to insure product suitability for specific application purposes. Generally, production method and rolling temperature should be determined according to specific mechanical characteristics required for application purpose.
Which industries utilise flat steel in their manufacture?
As tolerances tend to vary, hot rolled flats find application in industries where precise measurements are less important. When tighter tolerances are required, a different material or manufacturing method can be chosen. Industries that utilize flat sections range from agriculture and engineering to transport, presswork as well as storage & infrastructure.
Cold rolled steel flats, stainless and aluminium flats are harder and more refined in terms of finish and therefore utilized in indoor and outdoor architectural applications. For example as handrailing or furniture.
What are the benefits of metal flats?
Metal flats are extremely versatile in application. This versatility stems from the fact that steel bar is not only easily manipulated without specialist machinery & tools (which helps reduce machining costs) but also easily connected to other materials. Enhanced performance and strength due to low carbon content and a low yield point heighten usability of metal flat bars. Other benefits include quick, low cost manufacturing of hot rolled flats as well as their unique sustainability. Like most steel products, flats are fully recyclable and hence universally available in large quantities.