Blame it on the Metal

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“Is it the machinery or the operator?” That was always my mother’s question when a piece of equipment wouldn’t cooperate with my demands.  Was it the computer’s fault that the printer kept jamming?  Or perhaps… was it the fault of the operator?

The same applies to the world of welding.  Is it really the metal’s fault when a weld doesn’t hold true?  Can you blame the steel for warping?  Was it the machinery‘s fault, or was it the operator?

‘Bad’ steel — the ultimate scapegoat

By Art Hedrick
August 1, 2009
It seems like every time there is a problem making a good part, the steel is blamed. Often the root problem is the process used to cut and form the steel — the combination of the die, the press, and the lubricant.
What the heck is “bad” steel? It seems like every time there is a problem making a good part, the steel is blamed. Cracking problems? It’s bad steel. Wrinkling problems? It’s bad steel. Springback problems? It’s bad steel. Cold and rainy outside? It’s bad steel. You get the idea.
As a tool- and diemaker, I, too, used to blame the steel for many problems. However, as I learned more about the processes of stamping and metal forming, I quickly came to the conclusion that the steel is not always to blame.
When I’m asked to consult for steel suppliers, the usual scenario is that they are being accused of selling bad steel to their customer, and they want me to go into the stamping facility and defend their honor. To be perfectly honest with you, most of the time nothing is wrong with the steel. Often the root problem is the process used to cut and form the steel — the combination of the die, the press, and the lubricant.
I’m not suggesting that there is never a problem with the steel. Stampers have most certainly received steel that was out of spec. What I am suggesting is that you take a hard look at the data before you make a rash decision.

‘Bad’ steel — the ultimate scapegoat

By Art Hedrick
August 1, 2009

It seems like every time there is a problem making a good part, the steel is blamed. Often the root problem is the process used to cut and form the steel — the combination of the die, the press, and the lubricant.

What the heck is “bad” steel? It seems like every time there is a problem making a good part, the steel is blamed. Cracking problems? It’s bad steel. Wrinkling problems? It’s bad steel. Springback problems? It’s bad steel. Cold and rainy outside? It’s bad steel. You get the idea.

As a tool- and diemaker, I, too, used to blame the steel for many problems. However, as I learned more about the processes of stamping and metal forming, I quickly came to the conclusion that the steel is not always to blame.

When I’m asked to consult for steel suppliers, the usual scenario is that they are being accused of selling bad steel to their customer, and they want me to go into the stamping facility and defend their honor. To be perfectly honest with you, most of the time nothing is wrong with the steel. Often the root problem is the process used to cut and form the steel — the combination of the die, the press, and the lubricant.

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