Steel is an alloy consisting mainly of iron. In addition, the carbon content is usually between 0.2% and 2.1%. This added carbon improves the mechanical properties compared to pure iron. Typical characteristics of steel are its high strength and hardness. The production of steel involves the melting of pig iron and subsequent refining. As steel has a relatively low corrosion resistance by nature, it is often further refined into stainless steel by alloying it with materials such as nickel, chromium or molybdenum.

Steel can be divided into different categories. Depending on the grade, carbon steel varies in the amount of carbon added, which can change the properties of the steel, such as its strength. Alloyed or stainless steel is characterized by the addition of various elements that can significantly improve corrosion protection and heat resistance, for example. Tool steel is known for its particularly high hardness and wear resistance and is therefore used for demanding applications.

Steel is used in many branches of industry. In construction, steel can be particularly useful due to its high stability, while in mechanical engineering it is valued for its hardness. Tool steel is also very suitable for (cutting) tools due to its high resistance.

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The various Steel types

Material DIN Description Services
S235JR 1.0038 S235JR structural steel is one of the most common types of steel used in the construction industry. This is mainly due to the fact that it has very good formability and weldability and also impresses with its excellent strength. However, as the material 1.0038 does not have a passive layer, it is only very poorly protected against corrosion, which can be improved by an additional alloy. Suitable for applications with high mechanical requirements as well as with multiple weld seams. Sheet Metal Processing, CNC-Machining
C45 1.0503 The unalloyed quenched and tempered steel C45 is characterized by very high wear resistance and strength, making it particularly suitable for applications with high demands on the material and component. Although 1.0503 steel can be easily machined using all production processes, it cannot be welded. Hardening and tempering are particularly suitable heat treatment methods for this steel. Sheet Metal Processing, CNC-Machining
C40 1.0511 Similar to the previous steel, grade C40 is also ideal for applications where the component is subject to high stresses, as C40 has a high level of strength. The unalloyed steel 1.0511 also has very good mechanical properties, giving it excellent formability and cutting properties. CNC-Machining
S355J2G3 1.0570 The unalloyed structural steel S355J2G3 impresses with its very good dimensional stability. It can also be welded using all common processes. However, steel 1.0570 is not suitable for hardening, if at all for case hardening. What makes this steel grade special is that it can withstand high loads at low temperatures without any problems. Sheet Metal Processing, CNC-Machining
90MnCrV8 1.2842 The cold work tool steel 90MnCrV8 has good machinability and is one of the most widely used tool steels. Thanks to its very good core hardness and excellent surface hardness, the steel is extremely wear-resistant and durable, making it perfect for tools and as a knife steel. 1.2842 is oil-hardenable, but not weldable. CNC-Machining
16MnCr5 1.7131 16MnCr5 is a case-hardening steel that boasts high machinability and wear resistance. In addition, the steel is particularly suitable for highly stressed components in mechanical engineering, as it has a high strength. The steel 1.7131 is not weldable and has only moderate corrosion protection, so an alloy is recommended for this steel. CNC-Machining
25CrMo4 1.7218 The heat-resistant tempered steel 25CrMo4 impresses with its high resistance and toughness. Like 1.7131, 1.7218 is also resistant to high loads and is therefore used in industries such as the automotive industry and mechanical engineering. The steel is also weldable and very weather-resistant. Sheet Metal Processing, CNC-Machining
42CrMo4 1.7225 The alloyed heat-treated steel shines with its high strength and toughness. These mechanical properties make it particularly suitable for highly stressed components such as axles or large parts in the aviation industry. 1.7225 is not so easy to weld, but is very easy to harden. Sheet Metal Processing, CNC-Machining
S275JR 1.0044 The structural steel S275JR is frequently used in the construction industry. Its mechanical properties, such as good formability, make it very practical for all applications. In addition, 1.0044 also impresses with its good weldability. As this steel does not have a passive layer, an additional alloy is recommended for corrosion protection. Sheet Metal Processing
S235J2 1.0017 This unalloyed structural steel is characterized by its mechanical properties such as increased hardness and strength and is therefore also suitable for use in highly stressed applications. This is the case, for example, in bridge construction or for other steel structures. S235J2 differs only slightly from standard 235, only the hardness is improved. Sheet Metal Processing
DC01 1.0330 The cold-rolled steel DC01 is also known as St12 or bright steel. It is particularly suitable for all components in the sheet metal group, whether partition walls in cabinets or thin and smooth surfaces for other applications. The steel 1.0330 also has excellent weldability and very good formability. As this steel grade is particularly uniform in its quality and properties, it is ideal for all post-processing and processes such as bending or lasering. Sheet Metal Processing
XC48H1/C45E 1.1191 This steel grade is particularly characterized by the fact that it is very easy to harden. Hardening can improve mechanical properties and, in particular, resistance and surface hardness. Other features of 1.1191 steel are its good weldability and machinability. This steel is suitable, for example, for the production of small parts such as sturdy screws. Sheet Metal Processing
X153CrMoV12 1.2379 This cold work steel has a chromium content of 12% and is very strong. Due to the chromium layer, the steel is particularly well protected against corrosion and is therefore rustproof. Although it is easy to polish, the steel should not be welded. It is also very suitable for hardening and can be used in many applications. Sheet Metal Processing
100MnCrW4 1.2510 100MnCrW4 is a cold work steel that also has a comparatively high chromium content. The material 1.2510 impresses with its excellent toughness and wear resistance and is also very stable in its shape, even after heat treatment. Its excellent robustness makes this steel ideal for tools and knives. It is only oil-hardenable and only moderately machinable. Sheet Metal Processing

Steel: Pros and Cons


Steel is a material that is very durable. Due to its high strength in particular, steel is highly resistant to external influences such as impacts or loads, which is why it is often used for structures in construction or car bodies. Another advantage of steel is its excellent mechanical properties. Thanks to the ideal composition of the material, products made of steel can be manufactured in a wide range of shapes and sizes using all manufacturing processes such as CNC milling, turning or casting and also sheet metal processing. In addition, steel is also known for being cost-effective to produce, unlike other metals. This makes steel a recommended material option not only for large construction projects, but also for small quantities and components. Finally, steel is also suitable as a material because it is not only highly recyclable, but can also be converted into stainless steel using various alloys such as chromium to improve positive properties such as corrosion protection.


Depending on the complexity of the alloy, stainless steel can be more expensive to produce than steel or other types of metal. However, the durability of stainless steel usually means that these additional costs are quickly amortized. In addition, when using stainless steel, care must be taken to observe the temperature limit of the respective stainless steel type and only use selected chemicals for cleaning and care to prevent damage to the corrosion protection.

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