Cold Rolled and Hot Rolled Steel

Rolled steel is rolled steel, right? Well, that’s what you may have thought until now. Hot rolled steel and cold rolled steel both have characteristics that make them the right fit for different uses. Whether you’re interested in manufacturing or are choosing materials for your next project, it is essential to be aware of the differences and how they affect performance. 

Hot Rolled 

Named for the simple production process, hot rolled steel is exactly what it sounds like. The steel is put into a furnace followed by a series of rollers where it’s made into the right shape, thickness, and width. Following the rollers, the steel is coiled and left to cool.  

The short production process allows the steel to be made at a lower cost. Because of the elevated temperatures that the steel is produced at, it has great workability, making it easy to form and shape. There are also not going to be any internal stresses that would cause warping because the steel cools slowly, allowing its structure to settle correctly. Once produced, it typically needs to be buffed and smoothed before it can be painted. The process makes the steel a great fit for the production of car parts, agricultural equipment, or construction materials.  

Cold Rolled 

Cold rolled steel takes a few extra steps. Once the steel is cooled, it is put through more rollers. Since the steel has cooled and is not as malleable, these extra rollers apply more pressure to achieve the desired shape and size. Additionally, these rollers give the steel a smoother finish and an oily texture. This removes any scaling or rust, making it easy to paint or chrome once it enters further production processes. Cold rolling gives the material extra strength and hardness but also leaves a chance for internal stress. This has to be fixed or else it could cause warping as it’s used over time. Overall, this final product is more precise, with a sharper edge, and cold rolled steel sheet can hold tighter tolerances. Because of this precision, it’s often used in roof and wall systems, home appliances, metal furniture, furniture, and even aerospace. 

There is no answer to which is better as each is made with different use cases in mind. Hot rolled steel provides a cost-effective way to get a large job done. Its workability gives options for shapes and sizes while also ensuring the steel will not warp with use. Cold rolled steel takes more time and money to produce but will have a sleek finish and provide precision with its sharp edges. The craftsmanship used to make the steel into new products is what counts, and here at Strong Hold, we pride ourselves in just that.