Understanding Why A514 or T-1 ® Steel Is Used In Heavy Equipment

In last week’s post we discussed how most excavator buckets are made of A514 or T-1 steel.

This week we are providing additional information because most data on several steel websites are not only inaccurate, a few are outright misleading.

Here is information on A514 steel:

A514 is an ASTM / AISI standard steel grade. Anyone can make and sell A514 steel, as long as they meet the standard minimum requirements.

A514 is a conventional quenched and tempered alloy steel plate designed for structural applications.

Nearly every piece of aggregate equipment uses A514 or T-1 for the main structural framework.


You will see this sticker on many semi-trailer frames. This is because the A514 or T-1 steel has 100,000 ksi tensile strength. If you weld these steels with a standard 7018 welding rod or 70S-6 wire; the 70,000 ksi strength of the weld creates a 30,000 ksi weak point. On a vehicle designed to carry 40,000+ loads daily, you may generate structural problems while attempting repairs.

A514 Is Available In Different Grades
When you search online for A514 steel, you will discover is available in a variety of chemistry grades: B, E, F, H, P, and Q.

The reason one type of steel requires different grades, has to do with the steel thickness. Different chemistry is required when heat treating the various thicknesses, to achieve the same mechanical properties of A514 or T-1 steel.

Heat Treating Differences Between Wear Resistant And Structural Steels

It is important to note A514, T-1 and the various grades of AR400, AR450, etc., contain most of the same alloying elements.

However the heat treat process is dramatically different. T-1 and A514 are tempered at close to 900° F to achieve 100,000 ksi strength. They were not developed as wear resistant steel; but for structural purposes.

JADCO QT Plus ® was designed specifically for wear resistance properties, and is tempered about 450° F. While the resulting strength is 225,000 ksi, it is not designed or recommended for structural applications.

Click Here for additional information on T-1 steel.

T-1 steel was originally developed by the U.S. Steel Corporation. ArcelorMittal USA plate facilities have been a licensee of T-1 steels from USS since 1959. In 2003, the International Steel Group Inc. (now ArcelorMittal USA) purchased the plate assets of USS, which included a special license to the intellectual property rights to the ‘T-1’ trademark.

T-1 is not part of ASTM or AISI standards numbering system.

Here is additional information on why there is often confusion about using T-1 steel in abrasion resistant application.

Other people offer an A514/T1 steel. Notice THIS T1 does not use the hyphen as the US Steel product does.

They list this product for the following applications:

  • Building frames
  • Bridge frames
  • Structural components
  • Earth moving equipment
  • Mining equipment
  • Truck frames and bodies
  • Transport vehicle frames and bodies
  • Storage container support frames
  • Booms (lattice-type and telescopic)

All of these applications require high strength and ductility, which is why A514 and T-1 was designed.

Notice They Don’t List Abrasion Or Impact Resistance

This is because they were not designed for those applications.

One company lists an Abrasion-Resistant “T-1” Plate. The hardness is listed between 321 BHN to 360 BHN; or 35 to 39 Rockwell C for this product.

For comparison JADCO QT Plus ® is 500 BHN or 51.1 Rockwell C.

Combining the greater hardness for abrasion resistance performance increase, with the fact that JADCO QT Plus ® has the same hardness throughout the entire thickness of the steel. This delivers significantly longer life in your most challenging wear issues.

They also list this disclaimer in their information:
It should be noted that the abrasion-resistant “T-1” steels do not comply with mechanical property requirements of ASTM A514.


QT Plus® wear plates were selected for the inside and outside of this bucket by Wear Parts and Equipment to deliver the longest lasting equipment life.

Isn’t it time you experienced the difference JADCO can make in your equipment? JADCO’s QT Plus ® delivers greater wear performance IN YOUR APPLICATIONS than the A514, T-1 or AR400 wear steel you have previously used.

Having the ability to create wear resistant steel having the same hardness through the entire thickness, requires precisely controlled chemistry and careful heat treating.

Why Doesn’t Every Steel Company Make Their Products Last As Long As JADCO QT Plus ®?

This attention to detail from the steel mill in Pennsylvania actually is available to anyone. Yet most steel wear plate distributors choose to limit the proper quantities of these essential elements with the goal of a lower price.

They are planning to sell you more of the same in a few months, robbing more of your profits.

For the last 40 years we have focused exclusively on delivering consistent, longer life for our customers.

Now you understand why we deliver better results for our customers. We think differently by focusing only on your results.

Allow us to help you today by calling (724) 452-5252, or email to:

We will schedule a meeting with one of our local wear plate specialists at a time that best fits your schedule.

Remember, the only thing you have to lose by not working with JADCO, are your profits.

When your usual wear plate gives out, give JADCO a shout! (724) 452-5252

PS: We understand your specific application will likely be a little different, and may require a specialized solution. Send an email with your current challenge to with a description and the best time and method to contact you. We can help get you longer life.