The application of steel and related products is currently increasing in our daily life. Due to its high mechanical properties such as strength, ductility and weldability, steel is widely used in construction of building and rails, automobiles and ships. Steel is produced through combination of iron, alloy and carbon melting together under right proportion. Steel can be classified as alloy and carbon steel according to material properties. Alloy steel have more ductility, toughness and anti-corrosion properties. Carbon steel is harder than alloy steel and becomes harder as amount of carbon is increased during the process.
Steel can be processed through hot rolled and cold rolled method. Hot rolled steel is produced through heating steel above the recrystallization temperature of the metal. These help the manufacturer to produce steel of high malleable properties which can be used to form steel of different shape and size. Cold rolled steel is produced at normal room temperature followed by annealing process. These help cold rolled steel to have high tensile strength, turning, corrosion resistant and polishing properties. Cold rolled steel have smooth surfaces and can be used for automotive and electronic applications. Cold rolled steel is preferred for vehicle body manufacturing due to smooth surface.
Steels can be classified as flat steel, long steel and tubular steel depending upon product type. Flat steel finds its application in automotive, heavy machinery, packaging and construction. Long steel include wire rods, rebars and blooms which are used in railways, constructions and energy. Tubular steel are consist of rods and pipes which are used for construction building and bridges.
Steels are basically produced near mining area in form of batches. Later, according to the requirement of the customer, the manufacturer cuts the steel to the length and width in a steel processing center. Therefore, large steel manufacturers have setup steel processing centers in different parts of the world to cater their customers. Steel is transported to the processing center as per the requirement from steel plants. Thus, steel is produced in advance in a steel plant and stored in the warehouse. Although, due to volatile market environment, the demand of steel from customer decreases which affects the manufacturer inventory. Therefore, manufacturers are finding new ways to overcome these challenge and thereby reduce inventory cost. The market is dominated by regional players to cater the growing demand of consumers. However, the quality of regional player steel varies compared to international steel manufacturers. In recent years, steel processing industry have seen some major acquisitions and mergers by global players in order to expand their market.
The demand for steel is expected to increase in North America and Asia Pacific region in coming years. Most of the European steel manufacturers have setup these plants in Asia Pacific region due to low production cost and availability of cheap labor. The application of steel is expected to increase in construction, shipping, transportation, automotive, packaging, energy and heavy machinery equipment manufacturing.
Some of the leading steel processing manufacturers are Steel Authority of India Limited, ThyssenKrupp AG, Jiangsu Shagang Group Company Limited, Severstal PAO, Hebei Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Hyundai Steel Co., Bridon International Ltd, Kobe Steel, Ltd., Maanshan Iron & Steel Company Limited, Tata Steel Ltd, United States Steel, ArcelorMittal S.A., POSCO, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, JFE Holdings, Inc., Angang Steel Company Limited, Shanghai Baosteel Group Co and Gerdau S.A.