In the global manufacturing industry and in Canada, metal supply is still an important factor when arranging logistics for a factory. That is because metal is one of the most important materials in manufacturing. Companies use metal to manufacture everything from household fixtures to automobiles.
The term “metal” actually encompasses a variety of materials with different properties and uses. Understanding supply and demand as they function in manufacturing means understanding which supplies of metal are important to secure.
- Steel Metal Supply
Steel is one of the most important metals that industrial manufacturers need. Steel is the backbone of heavy-duty manufacturing, including oil and gas supplies, construction, as well as manufacturing for more household objectives such as the automotive industry.
Steel is an incredibly durable metal, which is why it is so highly requested in different industries. Because it is an alloy of carbon and iron, it is hard and durable. However, it is also flexible, making steel easier to weld and shape compared to other hard metals.
Manufacturers can buy steel in different percentages of carbon. Low-carbon steel is softer and more pliable, while high-carbon steel is even more durable than regular steel.
Iron is a metal that has been used in manufacturing since ancient times—literally. The most advanced civilizations were those with easy access to an iron metal supply. Although technology has evolved significantly since the dawn of the Iron Age when humanity discovered how to use more durable metals that are easier to work with, iron still has an important role in manufacturing.
Iron on its own is not used that often in manufacturing anymore because it is very brittle, but it has the benefit of combining easily with other metals. Iron alloys include steel (mentioned above) and cast iron. Iron may not be the industrial powerhouse it once was, but it still plays an important role in manufacturing.
Aluminium is a much softer metal than iron or steel. However, its relative softness gives it an advantage in certain subsections of manufacturing. For example, aluminium’s flexibility makes it a popular choice for making sheet metal, which is formed by passing the metal through rollers that squeeze it thinner and thinner. Then, the metal is strong and supple, perfect for constructing cars and other vehicles—including rocket ships.
Aluminium also has more mundane usages, such as for making cutlery.
Copper, like aluminium, is a soft metal. It is distinct from the other metals on this list due to its red-orange colour. Like aluminium, copper’s softness means that it cannot form the core of intense manufacturing projects such as steel, but it has its own uses.
One of the most important properties of copper is that it can conduct electricity well. It is also naturally resistant to corrosion. Industrialists use copper for any parts where they have to make complex electrical conductors.
Maintaining a titanium metal supply is incredibly expensive, which is probably why this very useful metal is not used more widely. However, titanium has properties that make it very useful in manufacturing. It has a great strength-to-weight ratio, which means that it is lightweight yet strong. It is also naturally resistant to corrosion.
Most industries settle for less expensive metals that have similar properties to titanium, even if they don’t perform as well. However, in industries where such precision matters, such as the aeronautics industry, titanium is used.
This is a basic guide to some of the most important metals used in manufacturing and why having a regular metal supply is important for factories in all industries.