Federico Forastieri Appel
Commercial Director
SSAB Americas

Swedish High Strength Quenched and Tempered Steel Plates

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 12:07

SSAB (Swedish Steel AB) is one of the world’s leading steel producers that specializes in high strength steel for a vast array of different applications across many industries. Headquartered in Sweden, the company has a North American division, in addition to two steelworks in the US. In recent years, the mining industry has become an attractive market segment for SSAB’s products. Equipment and tools for mining-related applications mainly use the company’s high strength quenched and tempered (Q&T) steel plates. SSAB markets this type of steel under the trademarks Hardox, an antiwear capacity plate, and Weldox, a high elastic limit plate, in order to offer steel with high abrasion resistance.

“The company started operations in Mexico 10 years ago and from the beginning it has been mainly focused on the Mexican mining industry,” says Federico Forastieri Appel, Commercial Director of SSAB Americas. “Hardox wear plates, with hardness ranging from 400 to 600 HB, have become the most popular products for the company within the Mexican mining market.” The main uses for this type of steel in mining are in mobile equipment, light equipment and operations machinery. Its unique quenching process and well-balanced alloy chemistry provide the plates with high uniformity and low levels of impurities, according to Forastieri Appel.

 “The main advantage of using SSAB’s steel plates is that they have a longer lifespan. The service life cycle of our steel plates is three to five times longer than that of conventional steels, depending on the activities for which they are used,” says Forastieri Appel. “These types of steel plates can be used either in open pit or underground mining activities.”

Another advantage of using Hardox wear plates is that, despite their hardness, their low carbon composition and low levels of micro-alloying facilitates high quality welding, cutting and bending and provides the applications in which they are used to defend against wear, dents and cracks. SSAB lives up to its motto “For a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world” not only by producing high-strength steel, but by taking into account environmental concerns while manufacturing its products. “SSAB has developed steel plates with low carbon content, which in turn also reduces carbon emissions,” says Forastieri Appel. “Lighter and stronger equipment not only has a longer lifespan, they also require less maintenance and involve a smaller outlay of funds to buy fuels and tires for transportation purposes.”

In a market like Mexico, the price issue is always a priority as well as a sensitive topic for the majority of mining companies. However, Forastieri Appel explains that “final users are ultimately looking for the same thing: a product that offers a longer service life cycle and brings less maintenance-related problems.” He also adds that SSAB’s products offer a higher cost-benefit ratio, with great quality and high technology at very competitive prices.

SSAB is more than just a high-strength steel manufacturer. It is also an integrated service provider offering addedvalue services to its clients. The company has developed a concept for its customers called “Hardox Wearparts”, an international network of companies producing parts made with Hardox wear plates. This group of companies receives technical training from SSAB staff, which ensures that Hardox wear steel is cut, milled, drilled or welled according to the Swedish company’s high standards. Forastieri Appel points out that five companies operating in Mexico have already been certified and are active members within this network.

“SSAB plans to keep growing in Mexico and Latin America and replicate the success its products have had throughout Europe and the US,” says Forastieri Appel. He adds that even though the company still does not have any plans to open a manufacturing facility in Mexico, SSAB is looking to take advantage of all the opportunities that the rapidly growing Mexican mining industry has to offer. “Our company is growing at a steady and solid pace. With just 10 years of operation in Mexico, SSAB already has three storage facilities. We expect this growth to continue in the years to come.”