Our Processes: Slitting

packaged slit coil at OFR MetalsIn part two of our processes series, we will discuss slitting. Slit coil is used for a variety of end products. Some of the more common include: HVAC duct, lighting fixtures, architectural trim, roof drain pipes, and many more.

So what does the slitting process entail? Well, the simplest definition is… slitting is a process where steel coils are fed through a slitting machine and cut into narrower widths.

But there is more to it than just making smaller coils.

Slitter Machines

slitting machine at work at OFR MetalsMachines used to create slit coil typically consist of stations for uncoiling, slitting, and recoiling. The thicknesses and widths that a coil can be cut to depend on the machine. Here is a list of our branch capabilities.

Machines used for the slitting process can run both ferrous and non-ferrous material and depending on the machine, may be used for sheet metal or rolled coils. At Metalwest, our machines process steel coils.

Blades used for slit coil vary depending on the job requirements. Different blades are used based on the gauge and type of material as well as the tolerances specified by the customer.

The Slitting Process

Quality check by our slitting team at OFR MetalsCoil slitting, or roll slitting, is the process in which a large master coil is uncoiled and sent through a set of two circular wheels, or shears. These shears are set at a predetermined width and cut the coil into a series of narrower rolls. The narrow rolls, now called strands, are then hand-measured by the teams on our slitter machines to ensure the customer specifications are met and tight tolerances are held.

After the quality check by our team, the strands are recoiled and packaged to produce customer-specific slit coils.

At Metalwest we can process slit material in a variety of gauges and widths to meet the demands of our customers. To find out which of our locations slit material and what the different tolerances are, contact your sales representative.

Check back to discover more about our processing capabilities.

3 Ways to Prevent Corrosion

What is Corrosion?

Corrosion is the gradual destruction and wasting away of metal. It is a natural process which is caused by a chemical reaction from the surrounding environment; the most common is oxidization.

Oxidization (a chemical reaction between iron and oxygen) results in rusting on the surface of the metal. But oxidization is just one example of corrosion. Other reasons metal corrodes include exposure to moisture, wind, and electrical currents.

OK. So now that we have covered the basic definition of corrosion, how do we prevent it from happening?

There are many ways to prevent corrosion, but in this post we are going to focus on three of the more common methods.

3 Ways to Prevent Corrosion

Environmental Impact

Corrosion is caused by chemical reactions between metal and environmental elements. By changing the environment the steel is exposed to, metal deterioration can be decreased.

This can include limiting the contact of the material to moister, wind, or outside air.

Choosing the Right Metal

The type of corrosion is only half the story. It also depends on the steel you choose for a particular application.

Aluminum, for example, is a corrosion resistant material. This makes it ideal for applications that will be exposed to the elements.

In stainless steel, the corrosion resistance depends on the different types of metals used to create it. The most commonly used types of stainless, 304 and 316, are both corrosion resistant.

Carbon steel, however, is iron based and susceptible to corrosion. Adding a protective layer like a zinc coating or paint, helps to make it more corrosion resistant.

Surface Treatments


Coatings include painting and plating. They are used to protect metals from environmental elements. They work by providing a protective layer of corrosion-resistant material between the steel and the damaging environment.


Aluminum alloys are often anodized. Anodizing makes a material more resistant to weathering and corrosion and is commonly used on metal applications where the surface will be in constant contact with the elements.


Galvanized metal is coated with a thin layer of zinc to protect it against corrosion. The zinc oxidizes when it is exposed to air creating a protective coating on the metal surface.

For more tips on preventing corrosion or to find a metal that is the best fit for your application contact your local sales representative.

Aluminum Alloys 3003 and 5052: What’s the Difference?

Aluminum 3003 and aluminum 5052 are some of the most commonly used aluminum alloys. But it isn’t always easy to differentiate the two. So, what is the difference?

Aluminum 3003

Aluminum 3003 is the cheaper of the two, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t up to par for certain applications. It has moderate strength and good formability and workability. It is also corrosion resistant making it ideal for applications such as heat exchangers and roofing and siding. Its major alloying element is manganese which allows for the formation of grains that absorb impurities and prevent corrosion.

Aluminum 5052

If that also sounds like aluminum 5052 that is because both alloys obtain similar characteristics. However, the 5052 alloy has a higher strength and greater corrosion resistance (including to salt water). Its major alloying element is magnesium. Magnesium overcomes the corrosive effects of the iron present in the alloy. It also has better finishing characteristics than the 3003 alloy. These attributes make aluminum 5052 a great fit for food processing equipment and truck trailers as well as marine and aquatic features.

Because the difference isn’t always obvious with these two mill finish aluminum alloys, we have provided an infographic for easy reference.

If you have more questions about the difference in these two aluminum alloys contact your local sales representative. For more information on how aluminum is made read our blog post on the process: “Aluminum: How it is Made.”

Aluminum Alloys 3003 and Aluminum 5052: What’s the difference?


3003 v 5052 infographic