Every product developed requires the designer to select materials that are best suited to help the product perform to a required set of standards. Today, we see many products manufactured in countries around the world. Many of these companies choose to build low cost and low quality products that just last a short period of time and then wear out or fail. This is shortsighted and all who are involved in product development need to consider “Quality” as the most important element of product design.
When developing products requiring strength, yet modest weight requirements, Steel is a very good choice. Characteristics of Steel are: excellent impact and tensile strength, durability, and good ductility for many applications.
Anyone who has purchased a tool or machine for domestic use has discovered what happens when Engineers trying to cut cost, substitute plastics where a Metal part, is a much better choice. Operating a turning part and experiencing a break or fracture on a product, under the strain of a light load, during its first or second use can be infuriating. This is where choosing Steel can be of great benefit. Metals by their nature are very forgiving when exposed to increasing loads. They exhibit properties of ductility and to a certain extent stretch. Now that doesn’t mean that anyone should expose a metal object to conditions that exceed its Tensile Strength, but Steel provides a little resiliency where plastics will snap and fracture. There are of course many other metals for designers to choose from and they all have a niche that they can serve. But Steel is an excellent choice where strength and durability are mandatory.
In the past, other civilizations were noted for their discoveries of Copper and later Brass or Bronze tools. Later,Iron products improved the strength of tools and structures. But limits were reached quickly and kept the tools of mankind from really reaching for the sky. With the discovery of Steel and the improvement of its various alloys, new products and construction have become available and the norm. Buildings are now incredibly tall using a Steel inner structure. Cars are light and fast with a strong Steel outer skin and inner Steel frame.
We have all come to expect this since most of us have grown up with these products already in existence. It is important to consider how much progress has been made in a relatively short period of time. Keeping strong durable Steel parts in the tool that a company plans to manufacture is almost always a good choice. Substitution of materials like plastics may save money, but can create the environment for making unhappy customers. Nothing is worse than when a customer begins to realize that they have wasted their money and worse yet, their time. The repair and replacement of the product just compounds this factor.
How many times have you heard a senior citizen make the statement that they have used a product and it has provided good life and service for a long period of time? What they are really saying is that the “Quality” is there. Most people do not object to buying a new tool or product after a long life of service as they are remembering the “Quality”. That memory of “Quality” is your best Salesman, and will promote repeat sales. But in the beginning it all starts with the designer, choosing The King of Metals, Steel.