How Steel is Made

How Steel is Made

We can categorize types of metal into 2 categories: ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous comes from, or contains iron, while non-ferrous does not contain iron. Examples of ferrous metals would be mild steel, cast iron, high strength steel and tool steels while examples of non-ferrous metals would be copper, aluminium, magnesium, titanium and the like.

Considered to be the most widely used metals in the world, steel is cheap, strong and incredibly versatile. With worldwide production running at approximately 750 million tonnes per year, steel is the second mass-produced commodity next to cement.

Steel requires relatively little energy to produce and is completely recyclable. With the extensive efforts by the steel industry, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are less than half of what they were in the 1960s. This makes steel environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Steel is everywhere! From railroads to pipelines to bridges. You can almost make everything with it that’s why metal fabrication is a fast growing industry today.



Making up more than 5% of the earth’s crust, iron is the fourth most abundant element. Production of iron started in around 2000 BC in south-west or south-central Asia. This saw the widespread replacement of bronze with iron for tools and weapons and marked the beginning of the Iron Age. Wrought iron was produced by blacksmiths who would heat the iron and hammer out impurities over an anvil during this era and the resulting iron was tough but malleable.

During the Middle Ages, with the use of higher temperatures, a new type of iron was developed and this was known as cast iron which was harder than wrought but more brittle.

For over three thousand years, iron formed the material basis of human civilization until the mass production of steel in 1870 AD.



All the steel alloys are primarily iron and 0.002-2.1% carbon by weight. Carbon bonds with iron to create a strong molecular structure. The resulting lattice microstructure helps achieve certain material properties, like tensile strength and hardness that we rely on in steel and perfect for metal fabrication.

Different types of steel contain different percentages of each element although steel is made of iron and carbon. It can also include other elements like nickel, manganese, titanium, cobalt and many more. Adding different elements to make steel alloy affects its material properties. The method of manufacture and treatment of steel further enhances those abilities.

All alloys are known commonly as stainless steel if a steel alloys contain chromium which is a different group of steel alloys.




The basic process is by mixing carbon and iron at very high temperatures, commonly above 1500°C.


Primary steelmaking

This creates steel from a product call “pig iron.” The Pig iron is smelted iron, from ore, which contains more carbon than is correct for steel.

A system that bubbles oxygen through melting pig iron is used by the steelmaker. This process creates equal oxidation throughout the molten metal. Oxidation removes carbon. Elements like silicon, phosphorus and manganese are also vaporized or bonded impurities.


Secondary steelmaking

This is done “in the ladle”. It is a process of refining and alloying steel. It is either started by melting scrap or continues a primary process. Elements can be added to get a specific alloy. Surface impurities can also be removed. The ladle is heated and cooled to the temperatures needed for the necessary chemical process.



A lot of fabrication projects are more often times with the use of steel because of its specific properties combined with its relative low cost.


Hardness. Steel can resist indention when pressed with gradually increasing pressure.

Toughness. This describes how far it goes before fracturing, although the material does deform.

Yield strength. It can be gradually pressed with increasing pressure but it has great resistance to indentation.

Tensile strength. It has the ability to withstand being pulled before breaking.

Malleability. Steel can shaped by hammering or pressing without breaking.

Ductility. Steel has the ability to be shaped without losing toughness.



These are the four major groupings of steel alloys:


  1. Carbon Steel – vary mostly by hardness and ductility. Low carbon steels tend to be more ductile compared to other steel but also offer lower hardness. On the other hand, high carbon steels are harder but usually has lower ductility.
  2. 2. Tool Steel – heat treated and quenched to superior harndness are used for tool steels but can be added with other elements like tungsten, vanadium or molybdenum.
  3. Alloy Steel – this type of steel are generally mixed with specific elements for extraordinary material properties. All steels are alloys and have extra elements added to them but alloy steel are unusual steel built for a specific application.
  4. Stainless Steel – rust resistant because it is alloyed with chromium. This is the best type of steel for metal fabrication and is mostly used for steel fabrication and installation.



Metal fabrication is the creation of metal products by cutting, bending and assembling. The steel industry leans more towards metal fabrication with the use of stainless steel as products are easily made with lower costs yet built to last for years. If you are planning to have a metal fabrication project done, try to contact Ferrum, a trusted company with years of experience in steel fabrication in Sydney and are the best steel fabricators in Sydney as well.



Custom steel fabrication is required when you need something created of metal, yet it may be as simple as using an arc welder and a portable cutting torch. Custom steel fabrication is what you actually need when you need anything made from metal that is built to more exact requirements, whether it be for delicate metal embellishments, steel building beams, or something in between.


Process Steps in Custom Steel Fabrication

The following eight steps may be included in a typical metal manufacturing project in part or in full:



The first step in the majority of custom steel fabrication manufacturing processes is to cut sheets of metal into smaller pieces. The product design as well as the capabilities of any required machineries will have a significant impact on the size of these parts.



Metal surfaces are twisted into a variety of forms during folding. Depending on the needs of the design, press brakes and folding machines may be employed to make these bends.



By melting and pushing two distinct steel components to come together, welding joins them. This could entail joining two separate parts by welding them together to form a bigger part or assembling sizable finished elements to finalize a final design. Steel panels, sheets, sheets, bars, and many more metal components can all be welded together.



Various cutting and shaping tools are used in machining to remove portions of a piece of metal. Typically, the product will be chopped into appropriate shapes or sizes by rotating the metal against certain equipment.



Punch presses apply pressure to a piece of metal to provide holes where additional components can be fastened. This procedure can be used to make holes in a sheet that will subsequently be divided into smaller pieces or to enable anchoring of additional components to a bigger product. This procedure can be carried out by a simple manual punch press or a bigger, more complicated CNC punch press, depending on the design and size of the metal to be punched.



Long incisions are made in metal sheets during shearing. Long metal sheets are frequently edge-trimmed using this method.



Molten metal is poured into a mold during casting, where it is allowed to cool and solidify into the desired design shape. The creation of complicated forms typically uses this adaptable production technique.



Basic steel sections are formed into predetermined and unique forms By custom steel fabrication contractors using a variety of processes, making them suitable for use in construction and product manufacture. To turn designs on a piece of paper to reality, fabricators collaborate closely with architects, steel drafters and detailers, customers, and manufacturers. The movement of machinery like routers, welders, and laser cutters is monitored and controlled by sophisticated computer software, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems, in contemporary steel manufacture. Meanwhile, 3D modeling has made it simple to visualize even the most difficult parts. This entails that fabricators may produce extremely precise, specialized, high-quality steel goods. Custom steel fabrication goods also come organized and prepared for installation.

Here are other things you should know about custom steel fabrication:

Preparing materials for bespoke production requires a lot of careful consideration. The fact that not all materials are made equally must be remembered. This implies that the product's creators' expertise must meet rigorous standards. The personnel behind the process have a thorough grasp of the production procedures that will provide the desired results, including strength, malleability, and many other qualities. Different materials have various qualities, thus it takes skill to set up the procedures to produce the end result correctly. Custom steel fabrication contractors are knowledgeable in this area, which will lead to a far superior finished product.

Cleanliness. How well a store is kept affects the quality of the finished product. The final product's quality suffers when equipment or supplies are dirty. As a custom metal fabrication contractor, it is crucial to learn how to properly clean equipment, workstations, and materials as well as how cleanliness influences the final product and how to spot when a product is suffering from a lack of cleanliness.

Value-added. Custom steel fabrication is so useful to customers because it is carefully planned and results-focused. A team that can provide value at each stage of the design and creation of a final product is essential. Innovation is at the forefront of this business, which is always changing, so the final result will be more sophisticated, superior in quality, and time-effective. It sounds like a simple decision to us.



Any company that demands specialized metal products needs custom steel fabrication. Fabricators collaborate closely with the shipbuilding, mining, and automotive sectors as well as product makers in addition to playing a crucial role in both residential and commercial construction. Additionally, for highly specialized private projects, fabricators deal directly with clients.


Custom Steel Types

For a broad spectrum of business requirements, steel fabricators create a variety of unique products. Typical forms of special steel include:

  • All-purpose beams
  • standardized columns
  • Towel joists
  • Platforms
  • Ladders
  • Pipe holders
  • Frames
  • Trusses
  • Grating
  • Skids
  • Metal stairways
  • balustrades on stairs
  • Brackets
  • steel structures
  • steel cupboards
  • Stringers
  • Custom drain grates
  • Additional bespoke designs


The uses of steel have evolved since it has been discovered and optimized thousands of years ago. Today, with the modernization of everything, steel projects have been made easier. You can even select various types of what you want to use to make sure it perfectly fits your needs. When considering for a steel fabrication project make sure to rely on experts like Ferrum who has been in the industry long enough to make small, big or customized projects.


Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now