Can you imagine a world without steel? While most of us imagine steel as just something out of which we make utensils, the contribution of steel to modern living is actually far deeper. Steel is a component of many devices and equipments around us, from buildings, cables, machines, infrastructure, ships and furniture. Its tensile strength and low cost of production made it one of the most sought after metal during the industrial revolution.
The use of steel remains just as prevalent. But an important part of this is steel casting. It is the method by which we shape the steel into whatever we want. From the early casting workshops to the modern steel casting exporters, steel casting has moved from being an experiment to the driving force of modern infrastructure, industry and life.
Steel Casting History
Steel is an alloy of carbon and iron with iron forming the base metal. Steel has been in use since the ancient times. Excavations in ancient sites in Anatolia show the first use of steel. Other main centers for steel work in ancient times appear to be Southern India , Sri Lanka and China. India was, in fact, a major centre of steel production with high carbon steel giving it an edge over earlier versions.
It is from India that China, Sri Lanka and the Arab world took the technology and refined it further. Apart from daily use, steel was also important for weaponry. Large scale production of steel started in the European world only in the 17th century. Before this steel was used extensively for weapons and armors. During the 17th century better methods and sources for steel production were discovered and invented.
But steel remained expensive and hence, scarce. It was used for weaponry and cutlery. Most structure were still made of cast or wrought iron. It only changed in 1860 with invention of new methodologies like the blast furnace which used pig iron. The Bessemer and then the open hearth processes of steelmaking finally made steel production cheaper and accessible.
Henry Bessemer was the first person to show how steel could be used as a component in building infrastructure. He introduced steel in ship plates and the railways. Steel soon emerged as the preferred material because of its durability and strength, which was better suited to the railway tracks when compared with iron.
However, in just three decades the Bessemer process was supplanted by the open hearth process. After this came the basic oxygen steel making in the 1950s, which used oxygen in steel making methods. The methodology is still in use. Today, most steel casting exporters use electric arc furnaces. It can be used to reprocessing scrap metal for creating new steel as well as converting pig iron to steel.
Steel Production and Industrial Revolution
Many would say that Britain’s Industrial Revolution was led by its steelmaking industry. High demand for iron and steel, combined with innovation and entrepreneurship changed the way steel was produced and used across the world. Bessemer and the Siemens-Martin processes were innovation that made mass-production possible at economic rates. Steel became an important part of envelopment across the world.
This increased demand and revenues for the British industry, letting them dominate world trade. The development of rail and industry in America further increased the British revenues. It accounted for 47% of world production. However, in shirt time it was overtaken by America with Europe also now becoming self-sufficient.
Modern Steel Industry
Steel is often considered an indicator of the economic state of a country. In a region going through an economic boom, the demand from the industry and a rapidly developing infrastructure naturally drives up the demand for steel. The 21st century saw the economic boom in China and India which drove the local and global industry. Today these two countries lead the industry with the biggest steel casting exporters now from this part of the world.
Most of the steel used today is recycled, amounting to about 40% of overall steel production. However, steel production has seen some downturn in the recent years. Fortunately, experts predict that this will balance out as local demand grows as the government focuses on developing infrastructural projects. The growth in industry will further drive this growth.