Before steel products are sold on the market, the steel must first be processed into more functional pieces. Raw steel cannot be of use while in its pure form, thus it has to be cast into shape. The freshly made steel, which is still in the form of a metal bar or rectangle, is called steel billet.
Billets, or ingots (as they sometimes referred to), are not of practical use until they have been formed into more functional shapes and sizes. While they have already been put in the furnace, they still require a series of shaping and molding procedures such as hot and cold working, milling and cutting before they are sold in hardware stores, or used for different applications. The unformed billets, however, can be used in striking currency such as coins and as reserves, similar to gold bars.
Steel billets became popular in the early 1800s, just after the British colonization of the United States ended and American entrepreneurs began to manufacture brass and bronze billet, which later became one of the fast-rising industries in the new country. Copper and iron were almost not to be found in the United States back then, as the British transported all American copper to Britain for further molding and processing.
Steel billets have distinct characteristics as compared with already furnished steel bars and products. Billets have a specific grain structure, which enables the metal to be processed more intricately. Steel billets are also known for their malleability and ductility, especially when exposed to varying temperatures during shaping and molding.
Steel billets are considered fresh and raw, and they must undergo a series of manufacturing processes before they can be used for various purposes. Billets are made by means of freezing molten liquid, and are later exposed to extremely low temperatures in order to allow the metal to take shape and solidify in chemical structure. The temperature manipulates the metal's physical properties, and tones its strength and durability. The subsequent processes provide the metal's curved mold design so that it can fit the allotted space provided by other machines, which complete the finishing procedures.
Proper casting of steel billet is important, as it determines the quality of the steel product upon going through the final processing stages. These include the billet's strength and flexibility. The billets undergo a number of tests before they are sold. Billets that develop cracks and voids in between heating and cooling processes are rejected, as such defects make the product useless.
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