I usually quote only the beginning or a few paragraphs of these reports but almost everything in this synopsis is important to stampers, so I basically included it all.
Material substitution is always an option for a stamper, but it usually takes a lot of work with the customer designer and the supplier to negotiate a change in raw material. Not something one does lightly, but occasionally necessary when material prices go through the roof.
I know I’ve pointed this out before, but it was months ago … it’s worth mentioning again. I run a small metal stamping shop. We use slide forming machines to get our stamping done. Slide forming machines are more sparing of expensive materials because they, as a general rule, don’t use a carrier strip to get their work done. So there’s less scrap. To check out slideforming some more, follow this slideforming link.
MEPS – Stainless Steel Review
Nickel prices have retreated somewhat from the record high they reached earlier this month. Although the price drew back from crossing the $US30,000 per tonne mark, it remains at over $US27,000 (cash buyer price) at the time of writing. Such elevated prices are causing increasing concern to stainless producers and their customers.
As a result of nickelâ€™s price surge, stainless mills have already announced increased alloy surcharges for August sales. In Europe and North America, surcharges for type 304 flat products have almost doubled since January, and they seem certain to rise again in September. Along with hikes in basis figures, this has propelled transaction values for many nickel-bearing grades to record highs.
Therefore it is not surprising that users of austenitic grades are casting around for alternatives and examining whether they could cut costs by switching to other materials. Stainless producers say they have not witnessed much substitution so far. This is partly because the price of many replacement materials has also gone up significantly.
Among stainless steelâ€™s rivals, copper prices have risen by almost 60 percent so far this year and also stand at record high levels. Galvanized steel sheet prices are currently about 40 percent above those of January, largely because of a 52 percent increase in the price of zinc.
Perhaps the most attractive alternative to stainless is aluminium, where the London Metal Exchange price in late July was a mere 3 percent up on its January figure.
They may be playing it down, but it is clear that some mills are concerned about long-term loss of market share. Stainless producers themselves are offering their customers a range of alternatives in an effort to prevent business being lost to non-ferrous or carbon steel materials. Such options include lower-nickel duplex grades and ferritic types. In the meantime, nickelâ€™s fluctuations will continue to create problems for the stainless industry worldwide.