Winter Uses for Steel

With colder weather beginning to sweep across the country, winter sports and activities are starting to make their appearance. Activities like sledding and ice skating are some of the common winter past times.

But did you know, many of your favorite cold weather activities include steel? Let’s take a look at some of the winter uses for steel.

Hockey and ice skating

While hockey and ice skating are different sports, both take place on an ice rink. They also both take place on skates.

The design of the ice skates depends on their purpose. Figure skates, hockey skates, and speed skates are some of the more common types of ice skates in the U.S. One thing these skates all have in common is their steel blade. The steel used for the specific skate can range from aluminum, to stainless steel, and even chrome-plated carbon steel.

You can also expect to find steel used in other hockey equipment including: goalie masks, hockey sticks, and goals.


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Sledding is also a common place to find steel. Your traditional sled typically has steel skis that navigate the snow. But traditional sleds aren’t the only sled to contain steel.

Luge sleds use steel on the sled runners, more commonly (and appropriately) called steels. This is the only part of the sled that contacts the ice and helps to control the speed and accuracy of the sled.

Skeleton sleds also have metal construction. In 2010, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) restricted the materials in which a skeleton sled could be made. The sled frames are now strictly made using a steel design.

Snow Removal

Although it may not be a favorite part of winter, another place you can find steel during the snowy months is on your snow shovel. While many snow shovels are made using plastic and wood, some are constructed with aluminum. Steel snow shovels are more durable and are able to get closer to the surface to pick up snow and ice more efficiently.

If you have a longer driveway it is likely you are using a snow blower instead of a shovel to remove snow build-up. Snow blowers are also constructed using steel.

Our Processes: Stainless Steel Polishing

It is time to delve into another one of our processes, stainless steel polishing. We offer in-house stainless steel polishing out of our New Jersey facility. The process of polishing enhances the overall surface finish of stainless steel as well as increases the sanitary benefits of the material.

So, what does the process entail? Let’s find out.

Stainless Steel Polishing

O'Neal Flat Rolled Metals polishingThe process of polishing consists of smoothing the metal’s surface using abrasives. At OFR Metals, our polishing lines use abrasives that are attached to a flexible backing to provide a high-quality surface finish.

Our coil-to-coil polishing technology allows for various size coils to be processed. We offer different polished finishes, including No. 3, No. 4, No. 4 Fine, and No. 6 finishes. Custom-matched finishes are also available upon request.

The Metalwest New Jersey facility can process 18-60” wide and 0.016-0.120 thick coils on their two coil-to-coil polishers. The lines also provide two-sided PVC to protect the high-quality surface finish.

Polished Coil Uses

stainless steel polishing adds sanitary benefits to foodservice equipmentPolished stainless steel provides sanitary benefits which make it ideal for the food service and pharmaceutical industries.

You can expect to see polished stainless steel in kitchen equipment, including prep tables, warewashing equipment, sinks, refrigerators, ventilation systems, etc. It is also commonly used for pharmaceutical equipment such as lab carts and tables, as well as processing equipment and storage tanks.

For more uses on stainless steel check out our blog post “Stainless Steel: What it is Used For.” To learn more about our polishing processing and stocking capabilities contact your local sales representative.

Stainless Steel 304 and 316: What’s the difference?

Stainless steel 304 and 316 are the most widely used types of stainless steel. It can be difficult to visually, and sometimes characteristically, tell the difference between the two types of steel. So, what is the difference?

The biggest difference in the types of steel is the presence of molybdenum in stainless 316. Molybdenum is a metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in most characteristics. It is especially used for the strengthening and hardening of steel. The most common make up of stainless 316 is 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum – whereas stainless 304 is typically 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The molybdenum is added to stainless 316 to help resist corrosion to chlorides.

Stainless 304 has excellent resistance to corrosion and rust, but may be susceptible to corrosion from chloride solutions. Stainless 316, however, is ideal for applications that will be exposed to marine, pharmaceutical, and chemical elements.

The infographic below explores more of the differences, and similarities, between the two types of stainless steel.

For more information on which type of stainless steel you should choose for your next project or application contact your local sales representative. You can also find more information on how stainless steel is made here.

Stainless Steel 304 and 316: What’s the Difference?

Stainless Infographic