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What Is Not A Wear Plate Steel?

Nothing Is A Greater Waste of Time Than Doing That Which Will Make No Difference – Dan Sullivan.

Installing the best performing wear plate or the worst performing wear plate, requires the same amount of time to install. Often when you install the lowest price wear plate, you are forced to remove it in the not-too-distant-future; only to replace it once again.

What have you gained? Nothing.

You don’t have the extra resources – either budget or labor; to buy and install more of the same underperforming wear plate. Your effort to make a good installation, in the end was simply a waste of time and money, period.

But It Is Not Your Fault…

Because there are ZERO Industry Standards for wear resistant steel, dishonest steel vendors may try to sell you any steel on hand and claim it is wear resistant. And you would never know until it wears out in weeks instead of years.

Here at JADCO Mfg Inc., we take pride in offering you the finest USA made alloy steel and clad plates made in our own factory just north of Pittsburgh, PA. Our trained sales force looks forward to assisting you to get your most challenging wear issues under control.

In several past blog posts, we have told you what to look for and which steel to use where in your specific wear applications.

What about calling out the various types of steel you should avoid using as wear plate? This one is for you.

What Steels You Should NOT Use In Wear Resistant Steel Applications?

Here are four recent examples where the wrong materials were used in wear applications:

1. A514 or T-1 Steel – These are the products used for the steel I-beams in building structure construction, semi-trailer and heavy earth moving equipment frames. It is very strong, and will take a lot of abuse without cracking. While they have many of the same chemical elements as wear plate, they are heat treated for strength, not hardness.

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A514 also known as T-1® from U.S. Steel, is used for structural building supports and heavy equipment frames

Unfortunately A514 is often sold by local steel warehouses for wear resistant applications. This is because it is stronger and has a slightly higher hardness rating than traditional mild steel. Again, they are not designed for use in wear resistant steel applications.

2. Grader Blades – this is a simple Carbon steel with more Carbon added to make it harder. The higher the Carbon content, the higher your steel hardness test numbers can achieve. Unfortunately, just adding Carbon without other alloying elements at the same time, makes the steel far more crack sensitive. The rule of thumb in metallurgy is the higher the Carbon, the greater the potential to crack. Particularly when subjected to impact.

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You can see the grader blade welded into a crusher screen plant. The extreme wear shown at the top of the blade and just below the holes, clearly show the blade was only hard on the surface. Once the abrasion wears below the thin hard surface area, the center wears away quickly.

By adding different alloying elements to the steel such as Nickel, Chrome and Moly; these alloys are used to combat cracking and increase strength in application.

Unfortunately, grader blades have none of these alloying elements, just Iron and Carbon. As a result, it doesn’t take much impact and it cracks easily.

3. Concrete Rebar – One of the strangest applications I have seen was using rebar for wear bars on a loader bucket. If you search online for ‘rebar-physical-properties’, you will see the strengths listed, but nothing at all for hardness.

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Rebar is designed to hold the concrete together and withstand expansion, contraction and movement. That is why rebar manufacturers list the strengths, not the wear resistance. It is not designed for use as wear resistant steel.

4. Stainless Steel – many people want to use stainless steel as a wear resistant choice because it is ‘shiny’ at the start due to the Chromium and Nickel content. Wear steels also have varying amounts of Chromium and Nickel. There are primarily four different types of stainless steel:

i. Austenitic Stainless Steel; this is the most common stainless steel people are used to seeing. This includes alloys such as 304, 316, and 317. Also called 18-8 Stainless because the most common versions contain18% Chromium and 8% Nickel, but very low Carbon – usually 0.08%. Restaurant and food processing equipment is made of Austenitic Stainless as they have the highest corrosion resistance because of their chromium content. They are also non-magnetic. If you need to prevent corrosion wear from caustic chemicals and sulfuric acids used to clean equipment, they are an excellent choice.

ii. Ferritic Stainless Steel is the second-most common form of stainless steel and includes grade 409. These alloys have 0.3% Carbon, are magnetic and are used in high heat applications. This is what your automotive exhaust systems are made from, and why people rarely replace mufflers and tail pipes any more.

iii. Martensitic Stainless Steel is what knives and cutlery are made from. It is also magnetic but has about 1% Carbon, so when heat treated it will remain hard and hold an edge.

iv. Duplex Stainless Steel is a ferritic/austenitic stainless steel, where the most well-known version is 2205 stainless. It has 21% Chromium, 5% Nickel, 0.3% Carbon and 3% Molybdenum. Duplex stainless steel has high strength, and is primarily used in handling high heat, with highly corrosive chemicals in pulp and paper applications. It has been incorrectly used in wear applications in wood industries. The photo below shows an application where it failed in a matter of three months. Another example of a great product used in the wrong installation.

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This 2205 stainless steel screw conveyor flight failed just a few months after start up in a new facility.

If you look online for the physical properties of 316 stainless or 2205 stainless, you rarely see any information on wear resistance. Because they are not designed or intended to be used for use in abrasion or impact applications, they will always fail when used in those applications.

What About Manganese Steel?

While Manganese steel is certainly used in wear environments, it is another material frequently installed in the wrong application. Using Manganese is very common in certain applications, yet it is more complicated and highly misunderstood in other wear applications.

This will be covered in detail in next week’s Wear Plate Wednesday blog post. You will be surprised at the incorrect applications where people use Manganese Steel.

Then how can you tell what makes a good wear plate? Stay tuned to https://www.jadcomfg.com/blog. We have a group of posts coming in the next few months to help you recognize and determine which is the best wear resistant steel for your application; before you even consider writing out a purchase order.

People who have used the examples listed above often used the ‘best guess’ or a suggestion from un-trained people. Another case of they didn’t know what they didn’t know. This is where JADCO sales professionals can assist in making certain you use only the correct materials in your most challenging applications.

Please let us assist you by calling (724) 452-5252, or email sales@jadcomfg.com today. We will schedule a meeting with one of our local wear plate specialists at a time that best fits your day and time requirements.