Cored wires are an essential part of the steel industry and can now be traded on Metalshub. Learn what types of cored wires are available on Metalshub and get insights in the history and current use of the materials here.
Widely used in the steelmaking process, cored wires have become indispensable in the steel industry. Helping maintain high speed in production and control the accuracy of the chemical elements in casting, are just some of the important qualities that cored wires possess.
The elements in cored wires vary from wire to wire, all depending on what exactly the user needs them for. However, one thing is for sure, cored wires have revolutionised the steel industry and made steel production a more efficient and accurate business.
The invention of cored wires
Cored wires entered the market in the 1970s. With industry machines developing, the focus was on ensuring the quality and cleanliness of the steel. In other words, figuring out how to quickly separate the molten steel from the impurities – also known as slag.
Here, the keyword is calcium.
Calcium creates a chemical reaction with the steel and the oxygen that the steel comes in contact with during oxygen furnace and electric arc furnace melting operations. This chemical reaction forms calcium aluminates. These aluminates help generate the formation of the slag quicker and turn solid at steelmaking temperature. This way, it becomes easier to separate the molten steel from the impurities.
However, adding calcium to the heat wasn’t easy, and many different ways were tested. The steel industry was looking for a more efficient process to enable higher and more constant results. This was the reason cored wires were invented. Even though cored wire let the way for a more efficient process, back then it wasn’t all that simple to use. In the early years, cored wire was delivered on wooden spools. It was necessary to not only have injection machines but also to have a complex technology for decoiling – such as e.g., turntables.
Cored wires in today’s steel industry
Today, cored wires aren’t delivered on a wooden spool anymore. Instead, what is being used in the steel mills are so-called “flipping coils”. Flipping coils enable an endless, waste-free consumption of an entire coil as the end of the coil in use relates to the beginning of the next coil. However, this set-up also requires adequate space in the steel mills to have two coils connected next to each other.
Just like back in the 1970s, today’s steel producers need injection machines and other technologies to add the cored wire into the heat of the molten steel. The equipment generally needed to guide the wire is a feeder machine and a wire guiding tube that leads to the ladle, which guides the wire into the heat. The distance between this tube and the bath surface should be as short as possible to enable a proper penetration through the slag. A guiding system from the coil into the feeder machine is another essential tool.
The most common cored wires
Calcium monosilicide (CaSi) cored wire is the most used cored wire quality in the steel industry. In the European steel industry, the most common wire diameter is 13 mm. However, 9 mm wire is used if technical reasons like high powder density of e.g., FeMnN or lower addition rates for pure calcium are requested by the user.
The specifications of cored wires
Cored wires don’t only contain different elements, they also come in many different sizes. So, to describe an entire cored wire coil specification, it’s important to know the following parameters:
The coil type is defined by the producer and depends on the producer’s nomenclature (name of the product). It normally contains the powder content and encrypted information for dimensions and diameters.
The wire diameter means the diameter of the wire itself. In the European steel industry, the most common diameter used is 13 mm followed by 9 mm. In the USA, 16 mm and even 21 mm are used.
The wall thickness describes the sheath thickness used for the production of the wire. It is normally 0.4 mm, but can also be from 0.5 mm up to 1 mm.
This is the inner diameter of the finished coil and depends on the outer diameter of the production equipment where the wire is coiled during production.
Coil-Outer-Ø is the outer diameter of the finished coil and depends mainly on the pallet size, means of transport (truck or container), and on the steel mills’ space to place coils.
The coil height means the width of the coil, from front face to front face. It depends on the width of the coiling equipment at the cored wire producer.
The wire length means the total wire length of the finished coil after production.
Specific filling weight
The specific filling weight describes the powder content in g/m. It is important for the metallurgists and operators in the steel mill to calculate the wire length to be injected to meet their requirements.
Total filling weight
The total filling weight shows the powder weight of the entire coil.
The total wire weight shows the weight of the filling powder and sheath of the entire coil.
The gross weight is the wire weight plus the packaging weight (pallet and cage).
The trend is your friend. This statement has been circulating among commodity traders for a long time. It means that you should trade with the trend of the market to increase your chances of success.
What Is a Trend in Commodity Trading?
A trend means that prices are steadily moving higher or steadily moving lower over a period of time. It's considered an uptrend if prices are rising, and it's a downtrend when prices are declining.
The reasoning behind following the trend is that prices are more likely to continue in the same direction than they are to reverse, so you shift the odds more in your favor. Many professional money managers trade with a trend-following philosophy and many commodity trading systems are built around trend-following formulas.
Proof that trend-following works can be found in the story of "The Turtles." In 1984, a very successful futures trader named Richard Dennis made a bet with another trader, William Eckhardt, on whether he could give a group of individuals a simple set of trading rules that would make them successful. The trading rules consisted of a trend-following system and simple money management skills. It turned out that the experiment was an amazing success and some of the students even went on to pursue careers in trading. The Turtle Trader offers a great deal of valuable information on trend-following.
Tips on Following the Trend
You never know how high or how low a market will move, so you're likely to catch some very profitable moves in the commodity markets if you're following trends. There are two common way to enter the markets when you spot a trend:
- Buy on a pullback: If the market has been moving higher for 10 days in a row, wait for a two- to three-day period where prices decline, then buy.
- Buy when the market makes new highs: You'll never miss entering trend this way, but it's the hardest thing for many traders to do—which is why it's one of the most successful techniques.
Remember that trends don’t last forever. You still have to control your risk and protect your profits.
Volume and Open Interest
There's another old saying in the market and it goes something like this: Follow the trend until it bends. When it bends, a market reverses.
Trends are important when you're trading on a short-, medium- or long-term basis in any market, and commodities are no exceptions. There are a couple of things to remember when you're trying to assess if a trend is strong or weak. Using volume and open interest data should validate the strength of a trend.
Volume is the total number of futures contracts that trade. Open interest is the total number of open long and short positions on a futures contract. Volume and open interest data are available on most market platforms, and exchanges like the CME and ICE publish this data each day on their websites. The CFTC also puts out the commitment of traders' data on a weekly basis.
There are a couple of simple rules to follow when it comes to volume and open interest. When the price of a commodity rises or falls, the rising volume and open interest that accompany the price move validate the move and the direction. They indicate that the price activity is attracting more market participation. Rising volume and open interest are a sign that a trend is likely to continue.
Conversely, when a price rises or falls and lower volume and declining open interest accompany the move, it means that market participants are retreating from the market. Falling volume and open interest are a sign that a trend is running out of steam and could reverse.
There are so many factors that influence commodity prices. Volume and open interest are just two of many metrics you'll want to watch when you're trading in the futures market. But these two tools can be useful as they tell us a great deal about herd mentality and market consensus.
Steel is the world's most popular construction material because of its unique combination of durability, workability, and cost. It's an iron alloy that contains 0.2-2% carbon by weight.1
According to the World Steel Association, some of the largest steel-producing countries are China, India, Japan, and the U.S. China accounts for roughly 50% of this production. The world's largest steel producers include ArcelorMittal, China Baowu Group, Nippon Steel Corporation, and HBIS Group.2
The Modern Steel Production Process
Methods for manufacturing steel have evolved significantly since industrial production began in the late 19th century. Modern methods, however, are still based on the same premise as the original Bessemer Process, which uses oxygen to lower the carbon content in iron.
Today, steel production makes use of recycled materials as well as traditional raw materials, such as iron ore, coal, and limestone. Two processes, basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS) and electric arc furnaces (EAF), account for virtually all steel production.
Ironmaking, the first step in making steel, involves the raw inputs of iron ore, coke, and lime being melted in a blast furnace. The resulting molten iron—also referred to as hot metal—still contains 4-4.5% carbon and other impurities that make it brittle.
Primary steelmaking has two methods: BOS (Basic Oxygen Furnace) and the more modern EAF (Electric Arc Furnace) methods. The BOS method adds recycled scrap steel to the molten iron in a converter. At high temperatures, oxygen is blown through the metal, which reduces the carbon content to between 0-1.5%.
The EAF method, however, feeds recycled steel scrap through high-power electric arcs (with temperatures of up to 1,650 degrees Celsius) to melt the metal and convert it into high-quality steel.4
Secondary steelmaking involves treating the molten steel produced from both BOS and EAF routes to adjust the steel composition. This is done by adding or removing certain elements and/or manipulating the temperature and production environment. Depending on the types of steel required, the following secondary steelmaking processes can be used:
- Ladle furnace
- Ladle injection
- CAS-OB (composition adjustment by sealed argon bubbling with oxygen blowing)
Continuous casting sees the molten steel cast into a cooled mold, causing a thin steel shell to solidify.5 The shell strand is withdrawn using guided rolls, then it's fully cooled and solidified. Next, the strand is cut depending on application—slabs for flat products (plate and strip), blooms for sections (beams), billets for long products (wires), or thin strips.6
In primary forming, the steel that is cast is then formed into various shapes, often by hot rolling, a process that eliminates cast defects and achieves the required shape and surface quality. Hot rolled products are divided into flat products, long products, seamless tubes, and specialty products.
Finally, it's time for manufacturing, fabrication, and finishing. Secondary forming techniques give the steel its final shape and properties. These techniques include:
- Shaping (cold rolling), which is done below the metal's recrystallization point, meaning mechanical stress—not heat—affects change
- Machining (drilling)
- Joining (welding)
- Coating (galvanizing)
- Heat treatment (tempering)
- Surface treatment (carburizing)
An export plan helps you understand the facts, constraints, and goals around your international effort. Use it to create specific objectives, decide on implementation schedules, and mark milestones of your success. It can also motivate your team to reach goals.
The Value of an Export Plan
- Written plans give a clear understanding of specific steps that need to be taken and help assure a commitment to exporting over the longer term.
- Without a plan, your business may overlook better long-term growth opportunities outside of the domestic market.
- Remember that while 59 percent of all U.S. exporters export to only a single market (predominantly Canada), many small exporters sell to more countries than they have employees, and these sales account for a growing percentage of total sales. These mini-multinationals are becoming more common, and your company can be one of them.
Steps to develop your export plan:
- Identify the product or service to be exported and check its export potential,
- Conduct market research on the countries of interest,
- Decide on a pricing strategy for the product or service, and
- Define a strategy to find buyers.
- Keep it simple. The initial planning effort itself gradually generates more information and insight. As you learn more about exporting and your company’s competitive position, the export plan will become more detailed.
- Make a flexible management tool, not a static document. Objectives should be compared with actual results to measure the success of different strategies. Don’t hesitate to modify the plan as additional information and experience are gained.
- A detailed plan is recommended for companies that intend to export directly, meaning selling to an end-user in another country. If your company chooses indirect export methods or sells via your or a third party’s website, you may use much simpler plans.
Elements of an export plan
As you develop an export plan, consider the following questions for each market. This Sample Outline of an Export Plan can help you organize your work.
- Which products are selected for export development, and what modifications, if any, must be made to adapt them for overseas markets? Evaluate your product/service's Export Potential.
- Is an export license needed?
- Which countries are targeted for sales development?
- What are the basic customer profiles, and what marketing and distribution channels should be used to reach customers?
- What are the special challenges (for example, competition, cultural differences, and import and export controls), and the strategy to address them?
- How will your product’s export sales price be determined?
- What specific operational steps must be taken and when?
- What will be the time frame for implementing each element of the plan?
- What personnel and company resources will be dedicated to exporting?
- What will be the cost in time and money for each element?
- How will the results be evaluated and used to modify the plan?
Here are more in-depth questions to answer when building your export plan.
Product or Service
- What need does my product or service fill in the global marketplace?
- What modifications, if any, must be made to adapt my product for export markets?
- Do I need special licenses or certificates from the U.S. to export, or the buyer’s government to import, the product?
- Do I need to modify packaging or labeling?
- What, if anything, do I need to protect my intellectual property?
- What is the cost to get my product to market (freight, duties, taxes and other costs)?
- Given an estimate of the shipping costs, what is my pricing strategy?
- What modifications, if any, should I make to my website for marketing purposes?
- Should I sell on third-party eCommerce platforms?
- What kinds of social media should I use to build awareness?
- Should I attend a trade show where international buyers are present?
- Are the reasons for pursuing export markets solid objectives (such as increasing sales volume or developing a broader customer base), or more frivolous (for example, the owner wants an excuse to travel)?
- How committed is top management to exporting? Is exporting viewed as a quick fix for slumping domestic sales? Will export customers be neglected if domestic sales pick up?
- What are the expectations? How quickly does management expect export operations to become self-sustaining? What level of return on investment is expected?
- With which countries has business already been conducted, or inquiries already received?
- Which product lines are talked about the most?
- Are domestic customers buying the product for sale or shipment overseas? If so, where?
- Is the trend of sales and inquiries up or down?
- Who are the main domestic and foreign competitors?
- What are some lessons learned from past export experiences?
- What in-house international expertise does the company have (international sales experience, language capabilities, etc.)?
- Who will be responsible for the export department’s organization and staff?
- How much senior management time should/could be allocated?
- What organizational structure is required to ensure export sales are adequately serviced?
- Who will follow through after the planning has been done?
- How is the present capacity being used?
- Will filling export orders hurt domestic sales?
- What about the cost of additional production?
- Are there fluctuations in the annual workload? When? Why?
- What minimum-order quantity is required?
- What is required to design and package products specifically for export?
What amount of capital can be committed to export production and marketing?
- What level of operating costs can be supported by the export department?
- How are initial expenses of export efforts to be allocated?
- What other new development plans might compete with export plans?
- By what date must an export effort pay for itself?
- Do you qualify for any type of export financing?
Today, it’s more practical than ever to sell goods and services across the globe. Most of the world’s potential consumers are outside of the United States, and the global affinity for Made in USA products and services is second to none. Many exporters continue to boost their bottom line and build their competitiveness by selling to world markets, and you can too. U.S. small and medium-sized companies—firms with fewer than 500 employees —account for 98 percent of the nearly 280,000 exporting businesses. The internet, improved logistics options, and array of federal, state, and local export assistance has made exporting more viable for even the smallest businesses. In 2019, the value of U.S. goods and services exports was an impressive $2.5 trillion. And as thousands of exporters can attest, diversifying your customer base through exporting can help to weather changes in the domestic and global economies.
If you are looking to export you may have asked yourself, "Is it worth all the effort?" Exporting can be one of the best ways to expand your business:
- Grow your bottom line (companies that export are 17 percent more profitable than those that don’t).
- Smooth your business cycles, including seasonal differences.
- Use production capabilities fully.
- Defend your domestic market.
- Increase your competitiveness in all markets.
- Increase the value of your intellectual property should you choose to license it.
- Increase the value of your business should you choose to sell it.
As the volume of trade grows and barriers to trade fall, competition in a company’s domestic market intensifies, particularly from foreign competitors. Competition in our own backyard and enter new markets for our products and services overseas:
- Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. That’s a lot of potential customers to ignore.
- Foreign competition is increasing domestically. To be truly competitive, companies must consider opening markets abroad.
- Exporting is profitable.
- Exporting helps businesses learn how to compete more successfully.
With significant projected growth in global trade, fueled in large part by newly affluent consumers in China, India, and other developing economies, the challenge for businesses of all sizes in the United States is how to dip into this incredible revenue torrent.
As global trade grows, companies that engage in it report a shift in income derived from their export sales compared with sales in their domestic markets. A study of U.S. exporters found that 60 percent of small companies in the survey derived 20 percent of annual earnings from exports, while 44 percent of medium-sized companies did. When asked whether export sales would grow at least 5 percent per year for the next 3 years, 77 percent of the small companies and 83 percent of the medium-sized companies said they would.
You might reasonably respond by saying, “That’s all well and good, but do I have what a person in another country will buy?” Companies that produce an amazing array of products and services have grown their businesses through exports. Some of what’s sold is unique, but most is not, relying on other factors such as superior customer service or marketing to close the deal. The businesses and people behind them are excellent at business fundamentals and passionate about expanding globally.
Companies that do not manufacture products can profit from exporting by providing wholesale and distribution services.
Another answer to “Why bother to export?” is that exporting adds to the knowledge and skills of everyone in a company. Doing business in a market that’s beyond one’s borders can transform its practitioners. The experience of forming new relationships, getting up close and personal with another culture, figuring out how to meet the needs of others, and learning how to address new business challenges is personally rewarding. It also leads to improvements in products and services and makes companies stronger in whichever markets they compete.
Source: International Trade Administration