From towering skyscrapers to delicate medical instruments, metal shapes our world. But have you ever wondered about the journey it takes before it lands in your hands?
Enter MG Metals, one of the UK’s top metal suppliers. We specialise in delivering a wide range of stainless and mild steel, aluminium, brass, bronze, and copper components, all precisely cut to fit your needs. Below, we’ll walk you through the typical path metals take from their source to delivery at your doorstep.
1. Sourcing and Processing Raw Materials
The first step in the process is obtaining the materials required for making the metals. These materials, such as iron ore, bauxite, and copper concentrate, are mined from the earth and then processed into their usable metal forms using a variety of techniques.
Here are how some of the most popular metals are processed:
- Steel is derived from iron ore, coal, and limestone using the blast furnace process. In this method, iron ore, coke (obtained from coal), and limestone are heated in a blast furnace to smelt the iron ore, resulting in molten pig iron containing carbon from the coke. This pig iron is further refined in a basic oxygen furnace or electric arc furnace to produce steel, which can then be cast into stock for later processing.
- Aluminium is extracted from bauxite ore through the Bayer process. Initially, the bauxite is crushed, ground, and mixed with sodium hydroxide at high temperatures and pressure to dissolve aluminium oxide from the ore. Impurities are then filtered out, leaving alumina. Alumina is electrolysed via the Hall-Héroult process to produce pure aluminium, which is cast, rolled, extruded, or otherwise processed into various products.
- Brass, a copper-zinc alloy potentially containing other elements to enhance its properties, is produced by melting raw copper and zinc together at specific ratios based on the desired brass composition. The molten brass can then be cast into ingots or shapes and subsequently rolled, forged, machined, or processed in other ways.
- Bronze follows a production process similar to brass, using copper and tin as the main elements. Additional metals such as aluminium, manganese, or nickel can be added to achieve desired bronze characteristics. Like brass, bronze can be cast, rolled, forged, machined, or otherwise worked.
- Copper production begins with mined copper ores. The ores are crushed, ground, and concentrated via froth flotation to collect copper minerals. The resulting copper concentrate is smelted to produce copper matte, which undergoes refining and casting to yield pure copper cathodes or other shapes and stock.
2. Distribution to Suppliers
Once the metals have been processed and refined into various usable forms (plates, sheets, bars, etc.), they’re shipped in bulk from the production facilities to distributors like MG Metals. At these distribution centres, the metals undergo thorough inspections to identify any imperfections, using methods like visual checks, dimensional assessments, and advanced testing. They’re then sorted based on criteria such as type, grade, size, and finish. Finally, the metals are stored in controlled environments to extend their lifespan and preserve their desired properties.
3. Custom Cutting (Optional)
Some journeys end here, with metals delivered in their standard forms. But for those who need specific dimensions or shapes, or want to save time and reduce waste, certain distributors like MG Metals offer precision cutting services. They use advanced equipment to cut each component to your exact thickness, width, and length, so you don’t need to worry about handling processing yourself.
Finally, the metal is shipped out to arrive at its destination – your project site! It’s usually wrapped in protective materials to guarantee it reaches you in the best condition possible. For example, metal sheets will be covered with a protective film to prevent scratches during transit.
Why Choose MG Metals as Your Speciality Metal Supplier?
While the core journey remains the same for all metal suppliers, we at MG Metals stand out through our commitment to quality and innovation. Here’s how:
- We invest heavily in the latest processing machinery, from high-precision saws and CNC machines to advanced sorting and inspection systems. This guarantees unmatched accuracy, minimal waste, and consistent quality in every piece.
- Our team is made up of experienced professionals who understand the intricacies of metal and its applications. We have a deep understanding of different grades, properties, and best practices, ensuring you receive the perfect metal for your needs.
- We implement rigorous quality control measures throughout the entire process, from sourcing to delivery. This guarantees that our metals meet international standards and your specific project requirements.
- We boast a vast network of suppliers and a sophisticated inventory management system, guaranteeing we have the right metal, in the right quantity, right when you need it.
- We understand that each customer has unique needs, and our team is dedicated to providing personalised service. We’ll work closely with you to understand your project and recommend the best solution.
By choosing MG Metals, you’re not just getting metal; you’re getting a commitment to precision, quality, and customer satisfaction every step of the way