When buying stainless steel strip and coil, there are many aspects that have to be taken into consideration. Quality is, of course, of paramount importance. But the product also has to be safe. And herein often lies the stumbling block. Quality and safety cost money. And no company can afford to waste that. Stainless Band has managed to meet all three requirements – a safe product, obviously; a quality assured product, obviously; but at the same time a product that is extremely cost-effective.
How has this company achieved this so successfully? First of all, it ensures that its feedstock meets, and indeed even exceeds, all the relevant specifications. If you can’t guarantee the quality of the material you are processing, there will be a less than successful outcome, not least for the customer. This is why Stainless Band has invested heavily in the latest scientific equipment to check conformity and specification.
All materials arriving at Stainless Band are quality checked for both weight and specification. This means that its customers can already be assured that their requirements can be met. But, the process does not stop there. Samples are taken throughout the production process to check hardness and tensile strength. And in a final step, PMI checks are made using the latest Niton analyser, providing a full analysis of the grade being supplied, coupled with a final quality check. These measures, together with the fact that all processing is done in-house at Stainless Band’s own facilities, mean that the company can be sure that it is supplying precisely what its customers need. Conformance with external internationally recognised certification – such as BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 quality management and BS EN ISO 14001:2004 environmental management – provides, if needed, further assurance, that Stainless Band will deliver what it promises and, something that is becoming more and more important in today’s world, in accordance with the latest environmental regulations.
While this explains the quality assured aspect, it does not ensure the safety aspect, which for many companies is a key consideration in their purchasing decisions. This is where the company’s investments in edge dressing lines, as a result of which it now operates five updated lines, really come into their own. Edge rounding and dressing eliminates the sharp edge that occurs during the production of strip and coil. The edge conditions available from Stainless Band include bevelled edge used for spiral wound gasket production, with 900 angles; standard slit edge with a maximum burr 5% of the material thickness; flat rolled edge, as well as fully rounded edge. As well as improving product performance, material processed at Stainless Band can therefore significantly reduce any health and safety issues that could arise when handling sharp materials.
And finally, of course, the question has to be addressed: how can Stainless Band provide all this, but still deliver a product that is cost-effective for its customers? This is where the company’s oscillating wound material makes a real difference. Oscillated wound coils, produced on a line representing a total investment of around £100,000, and which now incorporates a brand new continuous strip welding machine, can be supplied as large as 1,000kg. This means that if you use narrow strip in your production process, the coil needs to be changed less frequently, which reduces the potential for start-up problems, reduces downtime, and therefore significantly increases machine output (by as much as 40%) on pressing lines. One could add here that longer tool life may be an additional benefit. All of this saves costs giving Stainless Band customers a significant advantage over the competition, whether the final product is being supplied to the construction industry, the automotive industry, or any of the other industries that use products made from stainless steel strip. Oscillated wound material is available from Stainless Band in the thickness range 0.40mm to 3.00mm, and widths from 10mm to 80mm.
Likewise, Stainess Band offers bobbin wound material which is, for example, used extensively in the gasket sealing industry. Bobbins can be supplied up to 15kg in weight, speeding up changeovers and reducing scrap losses. This again translates into lower costs and greater efficiency for Stainless Band customers, thereby significantly increasing their competitiveness in the marketplace.
To sum up, Stainless Band has demonstrated that with the right business model – and this does entail significant investment in staff, quality control, and production facilities - it is possible to meet ALL the requirements of customers – quality, safety and cost-effectiveness.
Written by Richard Clark, Editor and journalist, in conjunction with Stainless Band