Reassembling Our Love of Everyday Engineering

By Rob Ellis | 14th February, 2017

We hope you’ll forgive us for a moment of misty-eyed nostalgia, but we’re very much enjoying an odd little series currently on BBC Four – James May’s The Reassembler. The principle is extremely simple – take ordinary everyday objects, such as a small petrol lawnmower, an electric guitar or a Hornby electric train set, start with them in what appears to be a thousand pieces and slowly and methodically put them back together. It’s no surprise that such a programme would be fascinating – it takes ingenious solutions to specific problems, such as how to take the hard work out... [read more]

Manganese Steel

By Rob Ellis | 31st January, 2017

Manganese Steel with a 11% to 14% manganese content is a work hardening steel. With its high carbon (approximately 1.2%) and high manganese contents it combines its work hardening resistance to wear characteristics with high toughness and ductility. When in service the steel can be subjected to repeated impact or abrasion, which will then work harden the steel. Due to the steels excellent work hardening characteristics it is extremely difficult to machine which can limit its range of suitable applications. Cutting and machining the steel by conventional methods is nigh on impossible, the best process for cutting is using plasma... [read more]

Surprisingly to Me, This Is Now My 40th Year in the Steel Industry, Its Amazing Where Time Goes

By Duncan Ellis | 17th January, 2017

All my family is from Sheffield hence the fact it was never surprising that I was interested in engineering. One of my first jobs was a part time Saturday job at Wetherby Engineering. I started making teas, sweeping floors and cleaning down the machines. Then moved on to parting off components on an old capstan lathe and using the milling machines. After leaving school at 16, I went to College to do a business studies degree. After one year I switched this to a part time course and started work at Hanson Stainless Strip Co in Pudsey. This was 1977.... [read more]

Lessons in History – and Investment in Steel

By Rob Ellis | 3rd January, 2017

Sometimes it’s quite easy to forget that behind what we know of the steel business, there’s an entire other industry, working hard. We may look at the amazing range of steel products that we know today and identify them by how they’re used, everything from the frames of skyscrapers to industrial machinery, cars right down to a teaspoon. These strong and sturdy products can appear almost eternal and permanent. There is, however, another level to the steel business, which is set solidly in the world of finance. Almost anything and any company can be traded on the stock market, but... [read more]

Steel – How Hard Is It, Really?

By Rob Ellis | 20th December, 2016

Steel is practically a synonym for strength and it’s surprising how many different situations make use of it. You can have steely determination, steel yourself against misfortune, have a mind as sharp as a steel trap and have nerves of steel. We can say, quite definitively, that we recognise that steel can be made strong and hard. The question is, however, with the number of different types of steel out there, which ones are suitable for your engineering project? Even under the term ‘steel’ there are a mind-boggling array of different specifications and characteristics, some of which are more designed... [read more]