Global Steel Outlook

Metal stampers have experienced a lot of changes in recent years. Whether it’s tightening governmental regulations, materials being removed from the marketplace or the evolution of light-weighting materials and press technologies—the “status quo” isn’t what it used to be.

One factor drawing closer scrutiny since April has been the global steel market: more specifically, the potential of the United States taking action under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. This action would interject “national security” concerns over steel sourcing in the U.S. The statute provides the President with flexibility to impose trade restrictions, such as tariffs, tariff-rate quotas, import fees and/or voluntary restraint agreements. At this point, invoking Section 232 is merely under consideration—but the Dept. of Commerce is expected to continue their investigation into this option and speculators began to initially drive up steel prices as a result.

While invoking Section 232 can be potentially very good for domestic steel mills in the ways of profit and filling capacity, it may also lead to increased prices for goods and increased manufacturing costs for metal-stampers. The cost of scrap and reworked parts would increase and availability of certain grades of steel may tighten dramatically—this can change how production is scheduled and parts are stored and processed—in short: tying up more money and resources.

Typically, the way metal-stampers offset these cost increases is through process changes in production flow. Increasing efficiencies through minimized lubricant application, lubricant optimization for increased tool life and less downtime and lessening the impact of lubricant residues on welding and pretreatment systems are some of the numerous ways IRMCO has been a leader in driving production costs down.

Even though Section 232 has taken a recent backseat to more critical global events—it still looms in the distance. The investigation continues and Dept. of Commerce recommendations will eventually be made. Let IRMCO show you how the right lubricant, applied the right way can help offset the potential steel price increases and maximize your efficiencies.


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