End products of steel

Steel is society’s most important industrially produced material. Just think of what would be missing in our everyday life if steel didn’t exist! Without steel our existence would be prehistoric. Our society is wholly dependent on steel and on how we use it.

A large share of the finished steel products e.g. plate, strip, rods and bars, profiles, wire and tube are further processed by the engineering industry into products for their intended applications i.e. the end products. Certain finished products are used directly within the construction industry e.g. bars and profiles (sections). Some product fabrication also occurs at the steel companies. This so-called manufacturing spans a wide area: from high-purity stainless steel tubing for the electronics industry, metal injection moulded safety components in motor vehicles to welded profiles for structures. 

Where would the world be without steel?

Steel is to be found everywhere. Often it is not visible since it is hidden by other materials e.g. paint, plastic, concrete or other metals. Here are some examples of steel products:

  • Buildings: metal roofing, steel beams, reinforcing steel and mounting brackets.

  • Vehicles: private cars, trucks, trains and cycles.

  • Infrastructure: Bridges, steel safety barriers for roads, lighting and high voltage pylons, railings and railways.

  • Art and design: sculptures and jewellery.

  • Machines and tools: press tools, cylinder blocks, lathes, saws and drills.

  • Industry: rollers, pipes, machines, cranes, overhead cranes, rushers and drills.

  • Medicine: scalpels (lancets), hip implants, suture needles and surgical pins.

  • Everyday use: paper clips, scissors, kitchen sink units, radiators, cutlery, saucepans emergency stairways, domestic appliances, sporting equipment and computers.

Steel as a material is, in many cases, unique. For certain applications no other material can compete with steel, except possibly an even better steel. Moreover, it is often the case that steel is required for producing and working other materials.

General advantages of using steel:

  • Steel is the world’s most widely used metallic construction material. An important reason for this is steel’s combination of competitive price and high performance.

  • Steel gives off no emissions that can damage human health.

  • Buildings with steel frames offer good safety, high comfort and satisfactory sound insulation. Steel does not retain damp which – in the long term – may cause allergies and health problems.

  • Steel has a long useful life.

  • Steel can be used advantageously where high hygiene standards are required e.g. in the food industry and healthcare.

  • Steel copes with extreme environments, e.g. corrosive liquids or high heat or pressure.

  • All steel can be recycled and reused − over and over again!

  • Steel’s magnetic properties mean that steel products can be dismantled easily and sorted for recycling or reuse.

To handle the great variety in areas of application, a corresponding variation is required in respect of steel’s properties. Steel is therefore a classification comprising many different materials with different properties, so-called steel grades. 

The development of steel grade properties – such as strength, corrosion resistance and workability – is an ongoing process and there is much to gain from this development continuing. The steel industry’s products are wholly necessary for bringing into being a more sustainable society – steel shapes a better future! 
Find out more about how steel creates environmental benefit.