08 Feb The Difference between Steel and Stainless Steel

All steel is made from iron mixed with carbon. Sheet metal, or sheet steel, is simply mild steel that is pressed out from ingots through a roller several time to achieve the desired sheet thickness (hot rolled and annealed). The higher the level of carbon, the stronger it becomes and the most difficult it is to work with processes such as

Stainless Steel has additional elements added to suit different purposes but a minimum of 10.5% chromium. This creates a chromium oxide film on the surface, which prevents oxygen from permeating and causing rust, thus giving stainless steel its superior anti corrosion qualities.

There are around 150 different types of stainless steel but the most common is Type 304 or food quality stainless steel, typically used in things like drinking water tanks. It is made from 18% chromium and 8% nickel. However, stainless steel water tanks on a yacht are more likely to be made from Type 316. This contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum, which adds additional protection from chlorides found in salt water and dicing compounds.

Stainless steel is more expensive than mild steel sheet and therefore it would normally be chosen only for a specific purpose based on the qualities of that particular type on stainless steel.

Fabricating Mild Steel Sheet

This is one of the most versatile of all metals and found in anything from car panels to trailers. Depending on its hardness, it can be worked using a variety of relatively basic tools and techniques, from shears to drills, and lends itself well to welding. Anti-corrosion qualities can be added through galvanising or through hot zinc spraying.

Fabricating Stainless Steel

Although stainless steel does also come in sheet form (from which flat surface objects like butchers’ blocks are fabricated) it is more commonly pre-formed into more complex shapes that are then fabricated to create a finished product. They are further classified by their crystalline structure of which there are four main categories: austenitic, ferritic, martensitic and duplex. Work hardening stainless steel is the process of cold rolling it to produce ever lighter thickness (gauge), which hardens the material.

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25 Jan How Long Is The Process To Make A Steel Building?

Tarrant GunvilleThere are a lot of factors that can cause issue or delay when it comes to the design and delivery of a steel building. Such factors from redesigns to building complications and even some that may be out of human control can all impact the duration of the delivery. Below are a few common variables that can impact the timeline for constructing a steel building.


When it comes to the design phase, the accuracy of the sketch is what mainly impacts the time it will take to get these drawings engineered created and approved. With engineering drawings, it’s all about the details. The better and clearer the details are the faster these drawings will come together which will speed up the construction process.


Once the drawings have been approved and are ready to go, its time to get the materials together. When it comes to the materials, this can be a tricky process. Materials that are in stock will reduce the fabrication time, while custom materials will take longer to obtain. When dealing with fabrication, it’s all on a case by case basis. The more complex a building the longer the fabrication may take. Shipping materials can also tack on some time. With shipping items, factors such as weather, distance and road conditions can make the construction process lengthier.


It’s no secret that construction schedules tend to go off course from time to time. Its totally normal for construction to be delayed due to weather conditions, equipment delivery delays and more. It’s important to also note that building size plays a large role in the duration of the project as well. Simple standard buildings typically take less time to complete rather than their complex counterparts.

Here at Rowtec, we try our very best to avoid construction delays. We take extra care in the design and planning of delivery to provide our best chances at the project running smoothly.

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evergreen tree

13 Dec How Does The Weather Impact Structural Steel?


evergreen treeWhen metal and water combine, it usually results in rust, which is what many people might worry about when they th

ink about their steel structure in the rain. At Rowtec we are here to ease your stress. An engineered metal building from Rowtec is made of high-quality materials, so you don’t have to worry about little things like rust. In this post we will discuss little things you can do to help your metal building survive this ever-changing English weather.

Rain and an Engineered Metal Building

Much like your home, the best way to protect your engineered metal building from rain is to add gutters to your steel building. By adding gutters, you divert the water away from the building and you don’t have to worry about unnecessary leaks or rust.

Lightning and Other Storm Related Weather

Everyone is familiar with the dangers of being outside during a lightning storm: the biggest warning being that lighting is attracted to metal. So why would anyone want a metal building during a storm then, right? Actually, when struck by lightning, an engineered metal building is designed to disperse the heat and electricity from the strike into the ground. This means that you, your family, and anything else inside the steel building will be safe from harm!

If you are wondering whether a steel building could survive more extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, the simple answer is yes. Engineered metal buildings that have been built correctly can withstand great forces of wind and don’t bend under pressure.


If you live in a climate that gets a lot of snow, there are a few things you should consider when it comes to your engineered metal building. Luckily for you, snow damage is easy to prevent. When you are designing your steel structure or reviewing the options to buy, you want to keep in mind that simple roof structures will be beneficial during the winter months. A complex roof design might collect snow in unwanted areas until the sun can do its job and melt it. This could lead to rust which is something you definitely don’t want.

Another suggestion is to plant a few evergreen trees on the windy side of your building. Evergreens blossom all year round and by planting them on the windy side of your steel building, you are creating a natural barrier against those harsh winter winds. Plus, planting trees is good for the environment so it’s a win-win!

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Welding in hollow section

30 Nov Looking For Structural Steelwork Suppliers

Welding in hollow sectionEven though all steelwork suppliers promise to deliver reliable services, not every company is a true expert in what they are doing. There are surprising things you might not know about them that can help you choose a supplier that offers services at par with the latest standards and specifications.

  • CE Marking – (‘Conformite Europeene’ which means ‘European Conformity’)

In July 2014, steelwork manufacturers were introduced to a new regulation that meant every structural steel fabricator has to have an accreditation that allows them to CE mark their products. It covers every product that is sold for structural properties.

However, companies in the UK have been very slow to implement this regulation and many seemed to hope to continue working without it. From over 9,000 fabricators in the country, only 5% has the CE marking accreditation, and here at Rowtec we are proud to say that we are part of that percentage.

  • Construction Products Regulation

The CPR is another European regulation that covers work in the UK. This regulation aims at improving the reliability of information, which is pf interest to consumers, contractors, and public authorities. The CPR has been developed according to the European Product Standards and Technical Assessments and uses unified assessment methods.

Any company that works with steel, such as structural engineers, component manufacturers, and structural steelwork suppliers should be aware of this regulation.

  • Corrosion Protection

Rust is an iron red oxide that is formed over time by the oxidation reaction of oxygen and iron. It rapidly appears in the presence of air, moisture, and water. Without quality corrosion protection, steel will rust due to these conditions. The amount of rust depends on the severity of environmental factors.

There are different protective methods, such as plastic or paint coating but they are old- fashioned and have drawbacks. For example, when a section of steel gets damaged, the coating will fall away, and this section will become rusty. It happens quite often, which makes these types of protection unreliable. A hot zinc spray treatment ensures that steel, which is exposed to damage isn’t compromised by rust.

  • Local Companies

Choosing to work with the local suppliers instead of a huge chain has many benefits and some may even surprise you. For example, even though may companies offer good service, they can’t do any better than a local owner can with a personal touch.

Local suppliers can offer products that are suitable for your area, your business, and local requirements. This is when you can actually find what you want rather than what a huge chain wants to sell you. It’s also worth mentioning that local suppliers develop their services based on local customers rather than fashionable trends.

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Powder Coating

19 Oct The Powder Coating Process

Powder coating is used very widely to impact a long lasting, durable and anti-corrosive coating to a wide variety of objects including architectural steel parts, such as railings. It is preferred and specified by many designers because of its attractive finish and wide range of available colours.powder-coating-prices-australia

The most common type consists of a pulverised mix of epoxy resin and plastic polymers with particles anywhere from 5 to about 50 microns thick. When heated to around 150°C, the compound melts and the constituent parts fuse to form solid protective coating over the surface of the object. Because of the way it can be formulated, there are many types of powder and a very wide range of colours.

Once the object to be treated has been completely cleaned of all contaminants (often by shot blasting or soda blasting) it is electrically grounded. The powder is then sprayed on using compressed air and a spray gun that imparts an electrostatic charge to the powder. This causes it to adhere evenly across the surface of the object. The object is then heat cured in an oven or by using infra-red heat in situ. While the compound melts the flows to form a liquid coating at about 150°Cit needs to be cured at 200°C. The duration required for the cure varies from about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the formulation and characteristics of the powder.

Most any metal object can be powder coated, from domestic items to handrails in shopping malls. Two characteristics are mandatory in suitable subjects:

  • Must be capable of holding an electrostatic charge, which is critical for the powder to stick.
  • Must withstand the heat of the curing process without sustaining damage

Typical examples of suitable materials include those made from steel and steel alloys such as mild, galvanised and stainless steel as well as others such as aluminium.


  • Powder coating is an environmentally friendly process, with no fumes or odours during the spraying process.
  • Powder coated surfaces are far more resistant to chipping or cracking than conventional paint because of the inherent elasticity of the compound.
  • It is a fast process – an item can be prepared, sprayed, cured and ready with an hour.


  • Powder coating is commonly applicable only to metal items and only those that can withstand the heat of the curing oven without suffering damage. Ultra violet curing with special powders can be performed on plastic but this is a highly specialised branch.
  • After spraying, the powder adheres to the object through electrostatic attraction only and therefore it is easily dislodged if moved or while being placed inside the curing oven, for example.
  • It is not a process suitable for performing on-site and really needs an engineering shop environment for professional work.
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Tarrant Gunville 3

05 Oct Structural Steel or Reinforced Concrete?

Tarrant Gunville 3One of the early decisions that needs to be taken for any structural frame is the use of steel or reinforced concrete. This has long-term effect on the project, including cost and durability. Your choice has an overall impact on different aspects of building design, and its performance. Many businesses comparing structural steel to reinforced concrete find that steel is a more cost-effective solution compared to concrete. But cost isn’t the only factor you should consider when working on construction or civil engineering projects.

When it comes to cost then structural steel has a slight edge over reinforced concrete. Structural steelwork represents only 20% of overall steelwork used in construction, and this is the main reason why steelwork is much cheaper compared to reinforced concrete. The price of construction material has grown overall but the impact of this growth is more on concrete (by mass) than steel.

In terms of construction timing, concrete has a slight edge. It is said that building with concrete can be double the speed compared to a steel structure. But there are different views in support of structural steel as well. Many businesses prefer working with steel due to its versatility, strength and ease of construction.


Here is a summary of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of structural steel and reinforced concrete:

Reinforced Concrete Pros & Cons


  • Better fire-proof quality than steel, wood or brick.
  • Can take any shape with the right moulding.
  • Cost effective construction materials when it comes to certain structures like dams, footings, and piers.


  • Comparatively expensive.
  • When compared to steel it has low compressive strength.
  • Requires mixing, casting and curing. This might result in a change in the final strength of the concrete.


Structural Steel Pros & Cons


  • Cost effective in terms of materials and labour.
  • They are considered as the future of construction, with many innovations improving the quality and versatility of steel year on year.
  • Useful for construction of offices and commercial buildings.
  • Easily available at competitive prices.
  • Space can be optimised.


  • Not all builders are used to this material and it requires special tools to operate.
  • Structural steel components are prone to fire damage compared to concrete.
  • During winter the steel structures get cold easily and this might affect people working or living inside it. (This negative can be counteracted with the appropriate coatings and insulation.
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28 Sep Structural Steel Fabrication and Construction

The construction sector has advanced and with it, many new and improved methods including the use of structural steel. Nearly everything in construction consists of structural steel with skyscrapers, large warehouses and shopping malls springing to mind. In fact, steel framed structures are commonly used across a wide range of construction projects including garages, residential housing and short-term temporary structures and for good reason.

Steel fabrication is used to create various components and products with different qualities for numerous applications. Structural steelwork has been the primary choice for most builders, engineers, contractors and structural steel fabricators. Many industries rely on steel products and fabrication services due its quality, reliability, flexibility, cost effectiveness and sustainability.

Steel Framed Building | Dorset

Durability and Versatility of Structural Steel

Structural steel ductile which means it has the ability to withstand stress for long periods of time and bend without breaking. Steel can be moulded into virtually any shape and needs little maintenance. It’s also reusable and easily recyclable without affecting its properties making it a great eco-friendly option. Standing tall against strong winds and extreme weather conditions make structural steel buildings a sure winner.

Structural steel frameworks are made with exact precision ensuring the highest standards and safer building practices. The durability of steel needs no introduction as these benefits clearly indicate:

o  Resistant to adverse weather and remains rust-free

o  Strong underwater and does not shrink

 Fire resistant through the application of intumescent retardants

 Can apply corrosion and weathering resistant material during steel framework fabrication instead of on-site

 Unaffected by termites and insects

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welder Industrial automotive part in factory

07 Sep Types of Fabrication Techniques

There are many types of fabrication techniques where the most common ones are cutting and machining, punching and drilling, straightening, bending and rolling, fitting and reaming, fastening, finishing etc. A few types of fabrication techniques are listed below in detail:

 Cutting– For cutting there are numerous ways and it is done with the saw, plasma torches, water jets, and lasers.

o  Machining– The process of machining involves removal of the piece of metal from a piece of material. It is performed either on lathe, where the material will rotate against a cutting tool, or in some other kind of cutting machine.

o  Folding – Some parts require bending and with the help of a press brake which has a set of dies to pinch the metal, it is useful for forming a crease. This is performed in specific cases only.

o  Shearing– To make a long cut on the piece of metal is known as shearing and it is performed on a sheet metal.

o  Welding– To join two pieces of metal, welding is done. Various kinds of welding is performed on range of metals used for diverse applications.


In the fabrication process many types of fabrication materials are used. As fabrication process is quite complex the composition of materials which are being used need to have some desired proprieties. Features of these fabrication materials are stated below:

o  Casting raw material – Casting is a fabrication process which is 6000 years old and, in this method, a liquid metal is forced into a mould which is then allowed to cool so it can harden in the required shape. For applications that need complex geometries it is an ideal method. Common metals used for casting are steel, magnesium, gold, silver, iron, copper, etc.

o  Flat metal raw materials – flat metal Is a type of metal that has been rolled or pressed in thin or flat pieces. Thickness of a metal sheet varies greatly and is measured in gauges. Three general categories of flat metal raw materials are foil or leaf metal which is the thinnest type of flat metal, second one is sheet metal and the thickness of this metal is less than 6mm and the third one is plate metal is thicker than 0.25 inches.

o  Formed and expanded metal – the name expanded metal is derived from the process which is used for creating it. To create holes in diamond shape that are surrounded by interlinked metal strands a stock metal sheeting is first sheared in the press and then the shearing expands the metal to its final size. Expanded metal raw materials come in various grating sizes and standard thicknesses.

o  Hardware raw materials– Hardware is defined as the many standardized parts or fittings which are useful to make a product strong, easier to fabricate and more functional. It includes basic raw materials like handles, locks, latches, chains, etc.

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Steel Fabrication Trends

30 Jul Trends in Steel Fabrication

The metal fabrication industry has seen growth in jobs and technology over the past several years. Although there was some anticipation about possible impacts with th3D Printinge new administration change, overall manufacturing has seen positive growth over the past year.

As a whole, metal manufacturing is in a good shape, although recent government intervention and Trump Tariffs are causing big concerns about the future as steel and aluminium prices have surged at record rates. Hopefully, steel and aluminium fabricators will see continued strong demand as the market adjusts to these new pricing realities. The good news is that the economy overall is boiling at a good rate – shops are busy and demand is strong. Here are the top 3 Trends in the industry.


The reshoring trend is due in large part to new technology, automation and advances in speed and productivity, as well as rising costs overseas.

Tube laser Technology

Tube laser technology introduces several significant advantages over traditional manufacturing and fabrication processes. Tube lasers increase the ability to produce more intricate cuts, increase fabrication speed, save on downstream assembly and can reduce costs while improving quality.

3D Printing

Things are looking exciting for the metal industry as metal fabrication businesses invest in 3D printing technology. Metal 3D Printing differs from traditional steel fabrication processes as it invoices the stamping of metals to produce a required design.

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Green Copper

13 Jul What Is Green Copper?

As a result of oxidation, the natural weather process that occurs when air and acidic moisture react with the copper surface. Since copper’s patina is a result of environmental exposure to carbonates, sulphates and sometimes chloride salts, the oxidation process can be quicker in areas with higher exposure to sea salts and pollutants, such as seaside or industrial areas.

Green CopperCopper’s characteristic greenish-blue patina is actually a protective surface coating that presents further corrosion (similar to aluminium corrosion). The visually appealing green patina can be recreated artificially on copper through a chemical process.

At 130 years old, Lady Liberty is still one of the most iconic and easily recognizable women in history. She represents hope, democracy and peace. Standing 151 feet tall atop a 154-foot pedestal, she gives new meaning to the term ‘statuesque’ and has a lovely green pallor.

But the Statue of Liberty wasn’t always green copper. When she was originally assembled in 1885, all 350 pieces were the typical brown colour native to copper. Over the course of the next 30 years the copper brown colour slowly changed, first to a darker brown, then to near black, and finally to the green copper colour we see today.

Copper surfaces can be maintained to avoid further oxidation by periodic oiling with a high-grade paraffin oil. The oil should be rubbed in with a clean, soft cotton cloth and repeated regularly to maintain the natural copper finish.

Copper and bronze have been used in architecture and sculpture for thousands of years. Durable and strong, copper is used today in both architectural and industrial metal fabrication applications. Sheet copper can be used as a lighter-weight alternative to slate or tile roofing materials, and can be shaped to cover domes, chimneys and other architectural features that require a watertight folded seam. Copper alloys used in architectural metal projects include bronze (an alloy of tin and copper), and brass (a copper/zinc alloy).

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