As a manufacturer of steel storage systems we use high grade steel every single day. Manufacturing over 2500 kilometer of steel products every year we can encircle the earth with the products we manufactured in the last 16 years.
Let’s roll back time, drive back the 40.000 kilometers of steel products and look at our manufacturing process. 16 years ago we designed a new manufacturing line, code named “Beauty”. This manufacturing line was created with multiple goals in mind, “reduce manufacturing time and cost for our customers” and “save resources where ever we can” were just two of them.
Saving resources we did, the manufacturing line helped save: 300.000m3 gas, 10.000 kilograms of chemicals, 20.000 kilogram of chemical waste and 13.000m3 of water.
Oiled vs Unoiled steel
A large contribution to this saving was the switch from oiled steel to unoiled steel. Steel is usually (pickled and) oiled when it leaves the steel manufacturing facility, to prevent corrosion and extend the “shelf life”.
We all know that oil is a fossil fuel, it is also quite a harmful substance for nature. Reducing the wastage of oil is beneficial in almost every way. Using unoiled steel means that oil (among other products) does not have to be applied to the steel, but it also means that the oil does not have to be removed before our production process begins.
There are many benefits to not having to apply the oil to the steel in the first place, but for this article we will only focus on our manufacturing process. So the logical first step would be to remove the oil from the steel.
Removing the oil
The steel is washed with a mixture of water and chemicals, the resulting “sludge” is a mixture of water, chemicals and oil. This sludge needs to be disposed, normally a facility will burn the sludge releasing fumes into the air. The steel is then treated to a phosphate coating, to increase corrosion resistance and serve as a foundation for further coatings or painting.
In our manufacturing process, we use the unoiled steel directly. This is possible through many advancements in our manufacturing process. We are also able to powder coat the steel before it is shaped. This ensures a 100% coating that requires a lot less powder coating. Using less raw material is again an incredible step forward.
So why doesn’t everyone use unoiled steel?
In order to use unoiled steel we had to change our entire manufacturing process and facility. An enormous investment in time, money and knowledge. Working together with machine builders, steel suppliers and our expert personnel.
We changed our logistical process in ordering the steel and we had to change the powder coating together with our supplier, developing a whole new product.
After manufacturing our products for 16 years with unoiled steel and reaching the 40.000 kilometer mark makes us, above all, very proud. Being able to deliver the highest quality products to our customers and help save the environment is a win-win situation.
The fact that a lot of other manufacturing companies are now looking into unoiled steel is a positive sign, one that we are very eager to support. In the past 16 years we have received many questions about our manufacturing process. From (steel) manufacturing companies and others. Many have already visited our factory and seen first hand what the incredible benefits can be.