Ever wondered the difference between the types of steel Atlas Trade uses in their tools? Below is a guide to the types of steel and how they are manufactured to be the toughest on the worksite.
Atlas Trade products feature tempered hardened steel on the tool heads
What Is Steel Tempering? Atlas Trade steel tools are made stronger by steel tempering, this process is done to increase the toughness and durability of the tool by actually decreasing the hardness of the steel. Tool heads that are simply just hardened can become brittle and break down in time.
The steel tempering process is performed after the shaping and hardening of the tool head by heating the metal to just below the critical point for a specific amount of time, then cooled. Precise control of time and temperature is pivotal to ensure the desired balance between hardness and strength. Tempering tools makes the steel less brittle.
Carbon Steel and High Carbon Steel
Carbon steel is made up simply of iron and carbon and accounts for 90% of the steel produced. The different levels of carbon element in the steel determine the hardness and ductility of the steel. To enhance the strength of steel, it’s common to increase the level of carbon.
The strength and hardness of high carbon steel make it the ideal material for sharp-edged tools such as blades, knives and razors making it less prone to chipping or bending. However, the increased strength often results in reduced flexibility, which means it’s more brittle than normal carbon steel. Extra care is advisable for longer usage.
Drop Forged Steel
Many of the Atlas Trade product range feature drop forged steel for strength
What Is drop forged? Forging is simply striking a piece of hot metal with a hammer and is one of the oldest metal working process’ tracing back to 8000BC. As traditional blacksmiths experimented with new techniques they learned that they could create complex shapes by hammering the metal into a die of the final shape of the finished product. These days manufacturers use either a falling or powered hammer to do the hammering and there is usually dies on both sides of the piece - this is called drop forging. There are 2 main types of forging - this is closed die drop forging and open die drop forging and is the most reliable way to ensure your tools are strong and durable.
Closed die drop forging
Closed die drop forging (or impression forging) is the process of 2 die blocks being rammed together to create a shaped tool. The hot metal of the tool is placed in the lower die while the ram and upper die comes down several times forcing the metal to fill the contours of the die blocks. The excess metal outside the die is called flash and this is trimmed once the forging process is complete. Closed die drop forging is commonly used to shape strong, durable, long-lasting tools.
Open die drop forging
Open die drop forging (or free forging) is traditionally done for less intricate pieces. Open die drop forging is usually done by an operator who will position the metal in the machine and then using the ram, strike the piece to shape it. This can happen multiple times before it is complete and is used for tools such as chisels, stakes etc. Open die drop forging is capable of forging tools from 2kg up to 150 tonnes.
There are many Atlas Trade tools which are drop forged - here is an example of just a few...
The thickness of Atlas trade steel
The thickness of the Atlas Trade steel is what defines it from our competitors
There are many key areas that define Atlas Trade tools over competitors - although one important factor is the thickness of the steel of the blade. Many inferior brands use thinner steel on the blades on their spades and shovels which makes them more prone to bending and breaking. Thicker steel makes the item more expensive, but also makes it last longer and contribute to Atlas Trade’s long warranty period.
Atlas Trade steel handle tools such as the Contractors Spade, Tree Planting Spade etc also have heavy-duty steel shaft handles and typically a thicker steel handle than cheaper competitors. Similar to the blade, adding thicker steel makes the item stronger, more durable and long-lasting.