Engineering
Valast® 450: Beauty that doesn’t fade
Red vehicle component showing Valast surface finish

Valast 450 can help make your products more beautiful for longer, as well as your manufacturing processes more efficient and sustainable.

    If you are reading this, then you will already know the typical benefits of using an abrasion resistant (AR) steel, either as a lining to a structure or in place of a structural steel. AR steels, by their very definition, are extremely hard-wearing and have a high yield strength. With a guaranteed Brinell value (HBW) of between 420 and 480 – our Valast® has a typical Brinell value of 450 – AR steels are ideal for use in heavy-duty vehicles and components such as tipper trucks, waste collection trucks and concrete mixer trucks to name a few. However, not all AR steels are created equal. In order to provide your customers with a product that is beautiful and long-lasting, there are a few important considerations to make.
     

    Reliable beauty

    Selling a heavy-duty vehicle is not so different from selling an exotic sports car. Both are technically advanced, deliver exceptionally high performance and can easily be worth in excess of €100,000 . So, just like a sports car manufacturer, we know that if you produce a heavy-duty vehicle, it needs to be beautiful enough to grab the buyer’s attention and help them understand the quality of the product. Therefore, you need a high-quality gloss to your product, which can be achieved by using a steel with superior surface quality… more on this point later. Going back to our sports car analogy – in the same way that the owner of the latest Ferrari or Porsche would expect their car to work faultlessly for many years – imagine the disappointment of your heavy-duty vehicle customer if, after a year’s use, components look overly tarnished and worn. If you are involved in the design and production of heavy-duty vehicles, by now you will know that this is often the case. However, the wear needn’t be so severe.
     

    Superior scale jacket

    This is where the type of AR steel you are using is so important, and where Valast 450 comes into its own. Valast450 offers superior surface quality compared to even the market-leading AR steel producers, and this is predominantly because of its scale jacket. In any steel production process, there is a build-up of oxide layers on the surface of the steel, called a scale jacket. AR steel is most commonly produced in a reverse plate mill that includes a quench and temper process, in which the steel is cooled and hardened using water and air. This process creates a considerable build-up of scale, which is usually uneven. In contrast, Valast®450 is produced in a continuous hot strip mill, which replaces the quench and temper process with a simpler cooling method. This, combined with Valast 450’s unique lean chemistry, results in a lighter, more homogenous scale layer.
     

    World-class surface quality

    So, what does this mean for the surface quality of the steel? Valast’s lighter scale jacket means that there is less need for shot blasting, while the fact that it is more homogenous gives you a more predictable result once the oxidation is removed.

    After shot-blasting a typical AR plate steel, you’ll find that there are many imperfections to the surface, which require filling. This is because the plate’s scale jacket comes away in larger fragments that create dents and scratches as it is blasted away.

    While you can still achieve a good surface finish without Valast it is much more time-consuming, and the results will not last as long. First, you will have to use a filler on any dents or imperfections and rub that down to create a smooth surface. Next you will need to prime and paint the surface, which will often highlight an ‘orange peel’ effect, which again is an after effect of the scale jacket, requiring the paint layer to be rubbed down and re-applied until the surface is smooth and glossy.

    This process not only wastes a lot of your workforces’ time and resources, it also effects the longevity of your product. Once your product is in use, the surface that your team has lovingly prepared will be subjected to incredible forces and impacts, which may cause it to fail.

    The reason for this is the filler – in no time it will be worked loose from the surface of the steel, peeling away the paint and causing the steel to rust. The product that your technical team has carefully designed, your technicians have lovingly produced, and your customers have parted with considerable sums of money for, looks old, abused and tired.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because of Valast’s more homogenous scale jacket, the resulting surface quality is much greater. It will require less shot blasting and no filling, while the ‘orange peel’ effect is also reduced when painting, meaning you can use less of it. All of this results in less preparation time, which makes the production process more efficient. Meanwhile, because it doesn’t require fillers, the surface finish will look beautiful for longer.

    So, there you have it – now you know how you can keep your heavy-duty vehicle product looking beautiful for longer with Valast 450.

    To find out more about how Valast 450 can help make your products more beautiful for longer, as well as your manufacturing processes more efficient and sustainable, click here.

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