The importance of international steel standards
In this article, we will address the topic of international regulations and their impact on ensuring quality and consistency in manufacturing processes across various sectors. We will discuss the significance of having an international standard (in any field of application) to ensure quality and consistency in manufacturing processes, ranging from the construction sector to the aerospace industry.
We will focus on international steel regulations, aimed at ensuring the quality and safety of products in our industry. These regulations establish minimum quality requirements, technical specifications, and necessary testing methods to achieve consensus on quality and safety standards.
This ensures that products meet the minimum requirements and are fit for their intended use, thereby helping to protect the health and safety of workers and end-users, as well as enhancing consumer confidence in the products manufactured in our industry.
In addition, international standards also promote innovation and continuous improvement in the industry by fostering research and development of new technologies and production techniques that comply with the requirements set forth in the standards.
Let’s take a look at some data regarding the existing regulations in our sector.
Different regulatory areas
As mentioned before, international steel and casting standards are crucial to ensuring that the materials used in our industry meet the necessary requirements of quality and safety. They provide a set of technical specifications and performance requirements that apply to steel and casting materials worldwide.
However, it is important to highlight that these standards address different areas and have distinct specific requirements. International steel standards focus on the mechanical properties and chemical composition of the material. On the other hand, casting standards focus on the morphology and microstructure of the material, as well as other specific aspects of casting.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between them.
Differences between steel and casting standards
International steel and casting standards have different approaches. On one hand, steel standards primarily focus on the mechanical properties and chemical composition of the material. They establish requirements for the chemical composition, purity, and content of specific elements in steel, such as carbon, manganese, nickel, silicon, among others.
Regarding the mechanical properties, they establish requirements for tensile strength, hardness, ductility, toughness, and fatigue resistance. Additionally, they specify maximum levels of impurities and the necessary chemical composition for the steel.
On the other hand, casting standards focus on the morphology and microstructure of the material. They concentrate on requirements for porosity, density, grain size, phase distribution, and other microstructural characteristics of the material. They also include specifications regarding the shape and appearance of the casted piece, the location of inclusions, the presence of cracks, or the material’s uniformity, among other specific aspects of casting.
Sectors with different standards for the same steel
Often, different industrial sectors have specific regulations for the same type of steel or casting. For example, the steel used in construction must meet certain requirements for strength and durability that may differ from the requirements for steel used in automobile manufacturing.
In other words, specific regulations for steel and casting vary not only based on the scope (national or international) but also based on the sector. Consequently, the same steel alloy or casting can have different regulations and requirements depending on the sector in which it is used.
Therefore, it is important to consider the specific standards and requirements of each sector when selecting materials for a particular project. In some cases, it may be necessary to comply with multiple different regulations for the same material, which may require additional testing and certifications to ensure that the material meets all necessary requirements.
International steel standards
International steel standards are issued by various organisations worldwide and ensure the quality and compatibility of materials used in product manufacturing.
Here are some of the most important standards in the field of steel:
- American standards (ASTM) – Issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), these standards are widely used globally and establish requirements for chemical composition, mechanical properties, and other aspects related to steel.
- European standards (EN) – European standards, known as European Norm (EN), are issued by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).
- International standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – ISO issues international standards that establish requirements for steel and other materials.
International foundry standards
International foundry standards are essential for ensuring the quality and reliability of materials. In this section, we will focus on some of the most important standards:
- American standards (ASTM) – Similar to the steel sector, ASTM plays a significant role in establishing technical standards for materials and products used in the foundry industry.
- European standards – In Europe, specific standards for foundry exist, including German, Spanish, and French standards. Additionally, these standards still use traditional nomenclature for steel designation, which can be useful for professionals in the industry who are accustomed to this classification method.
British and Japanese standards – British and Japanese standards are also significant in the field of foundry.
Standardisation and harmonisation of international steel and foundry regulations
One of the primary efforts to standardise international steel and foundry regulations has been led by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO has worked closely with other international organisations such as the International Organization for Standardization of Iron and Steel (ISNI) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to develop harmonised international standards that are accepted worldwide.
Another significant effort in the unification of international standards has been the simplification of the international steel procurement process. For this purpose, material coding systems and reference standards have been developed, facilitating the identification and procurement of materials needed for product manufacturing. In this regard, the European Commission has developed the Harmonized System (HS) coding system to standardise the trade of steel and other materials.
Applications of steels and international standards
We already know that steel is an essential material in the modern industry due to its mechanical properties and adaptability to different environments. International standards play a crucial role in the manufacturing and use of steel in various sectors, establishing minimum quality and safety requirements for steel products worldwide.
Different industry sectors have their own standards for steel manufacturing:
- In the aerospace industry, steels are used in critical components such as engines, wings, and control systems. To ensure quality and safety in the manufacturing of these components, international standards such as AS9100, which establishes requirements for quality management systems in the aerospace industry, and ISO 9001, widely used in aerospace component manufacturing, are applied.
- In the automotive industry, steels are used in the production of bodies, engines, and other components. Applicable international standards in this sector include ISO/TS 16949, which sets requirements for quality management systems in the automotive industry, and ISO 9001.
- In the energy industry, steels are used in the manufacturing of pipes, tanks, and other equipment for the extraction and transportation of oil and gas. In this sector, international standards such as API 5L, which establishes requirements for steel pipes used in the oil and gas industry, and ISO 3183, which sets requirements for the manufacturing of steel pipes for the transport of hydrocarbons, are applied.
These are just a few examples that showcase the complexity and importance of the ecosystem of regulations governing international trade. At Freeze Cast, we are committed to complying with all certification requirements in our industry, thus ensuring the utmost quality and reliability of our products.
Certification of quality in international standards for steel and casting
Quality certification is a key aspect in the steel and casting industry, as it ensures that the materials used meet the requirements established by international standards. To achieve this, there are various certification systems that are recognized worldwide.
How do international standards address quality certification?
International standards for steel and casting address quality certification by establishing specific requirements for the quality management systems used by manufacturers.
For example, the ISO 9001 standard sets the requirements for an effective and efficient quality management system that can be used by any organisation, regardless of its size or sector. At Freeze Cast, we understand the importance of ensuring the quality of materials.
Among our certifications, we have the following:
- ISO 9001: Sets the requirements for an effective quality management system in all areas of the company.
- ISO 14001: Focuses on environmental management systems.
- ISO 45001: Focuses on occupational health and safety.
- TÜV AD 2000 WD: Internationally recognized German standard for the manufacturing of pressure equipment.
- ASME III and RCC-M: Used in the nuclear industry and ensure quality in the manufacturing of equipment and components for nuclear power plants.
- NORSOK M 650: Sets requirements for material selection in demanding environments, such as the oil and gas industry.
M630 D46 Gr4A, M630 D56 Gr5A, and M630 D56 Gr6A: Focus on the quality of alloy steels used in the manufacturing of specific products.
Freeze Cast, we are committed to complying with international quality certification standards to ensure that our steel and casting products meet the necessary requirements and are of the highest quality.