STEEL

Touchstone has performed a variety of roll failure investigations for roll producers, heat treatment companies and steel companies.

The following examples illustrate some of our contributions to this business sector:

  • Touchstone has analyzed hundreds of surface defects and stains on a variety of rolled products. Using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), auger, and various light microscopy methods, Touchstone has worked to explain these defects and to help reduce or eliminate them from various steel products.
  • Titanium stabilized, low carbon steel was supplied for a sheet steel practice that involved continuous annealing of full-hard steel coils. The manufacturer found that the mechanical properties of this material differed substantially from previous coil stock. Touchstone was contacted and, within 3 days, set up a laboratory-scale furnace to simulate the manufacturer’s continuous annealing operation. Within a week a new, acceptable heat treatment cycle was developed which would generate the required mechanical properties from the new material, thus avoiding the necessity of selling this material on the secondary market.
  • A manufacturer received a shipment of approximately 750 tons of hot-rolled, low carbon steel, which was ordered as temper-passed, and had difficulty processing the material. Mechanical testing at Touchstone demonstrated that the yield point had not been eliminated, indicating that the steel had not been temper-passed or, at least, had not been subjected to enough cold work to be classified as temper-rolled. During a visit to the steel manufacturer, Touchstone personnel inspected the coils to determine which were temper-passed and suitable for the manufacturer’s process.
  • A nail manufacturer rejected a shipment of steel wire from an offshore supplier because the metal wasn’t acceptable for their operation. A disagreement ensued, and the steel wire supplier sued the nail manufacturer for non-payment. Specifically, the complaint reported that the nail manufacturer could not “cold-head” the nails. Touchstone manufactured a die and cold-headed material from the shipment to demonstrate that cold heading was possible.
  • Cut nails are appealing when used for fastening treated, deck lumber. Because of their head configuration they provide superior-holding power compared to wire nails. Staining from corrosion, however, especially in marine environments, prevents the use of standard carbon-steel cut nails. Touchstone compared the performance of several grades of stainless-steel nails and selected the grade most suitable for this application. The investigation included holding power tests and both accelerated and long term exposure testing. Today, this new product enjoys a good market share.
  • FAA had some concerns regarding the presence of corrosion on landing-light tower structures at an airport. Touchstone evaluated the corrosion damage and found the structure to be essentially sound and advised painting procedures to prevent further corrosion.
  • A manufacturer utilizing pickled, low-carbon steel hot band sheet reported excessive shear-knife blade wear. The company had been acid pickling the steel but recently changed its practice processing to shot peening for scale removal. Evaluation of specimens at Touchstone found a small amount of scale that remained on and in the steel surface that acted as an abrasive causing excessive knife wear.
  • Touchstone, working with two suppliers, developed a coil-coated, painted/galvanized steel product used for the sides and roofs of metal buildings. This material has become the top selling agricultural building product in the United States.
  • Touchstone has performed a variety of roll failure investigations for roll producers, heat treatment companies and steel companies.
  • A manufacturer of commercial air conditioners experienced a problem with premature rusting of localized areas on painted panels. Using the Scanning Electron Microscope, Touchstone identified a residue on the defective areas that was traced to a malfunction in the pre-paint cleaning section of the paint line. The actual cause was identified during a visit to the manufacturer’s facility.
  • Touchstone has performed more than a million dollars worth of research in the development of ingot molds. Over nearly a decade, Touchstone developed a detailed understanding of ingot mold manufacture, chemistry, and physical properties, and their relationship to ingot mold life in various steel making operations.
  • A coiler shaft broke at the location of the boltholes used to fasten the outer segments to the shaft. The failure was caused by a weld repair of the stripped threads where the operator did not preheat the repair area prior to welding. The brittle martensite generated in the weld area cracked under normal bending stress and, once initiated, the crack propagated transversly through the shaft.
  • Touchstone has performed a series of investigations to support the development of a defect manual for a variety of rolled steel products.
  • An apparatus was developed which measures the formability of coil-coated steel products. The program was so successful that two such apparati are currently in use at a steel company. The device measures paint/metal system formability prior to roll forming.
  • Touchstone has performed market/technology studies of culvert manufacturers and product types. A fundamental understanding of culvert aging was developed.
  • In 1998, manufacturers of metal roofing products initiated an investigation to study the causes of accidents resulting from workmen slipping on the roof surface during roofing installation. Touchstone engineers performed a series of coefficient of friction tests using different types of lubricants used in the manufacture of steel roof deck to determine which lubricants left less residue and, therefore, resulted in safer material during installation.
  • In the construction of steel buildings, thermal insulation is bonded to the painted steel ceiling. Because a failure of the painted layer during a fire could cause burning insulation to fall from the roof, there are specifications regarding the heat-resistant properties of the painted layer. The standard test used to measure these properties is expensive and time consuming. Touchstone developed a small-scale test apparatus, which can quickly and inexpensively screen for the same properties, allowing a manufacturer to experiment with a wide variety of coatings and pick the best one before performing the costly, standard testing.

The above examples are only a sample of our work in this area. We would be pleased to provide any additional information you may require. We also invite you to review examples on our website of work that we have performed in support of other business sectors.