If you’re treating HSLA steel as a commodity, you may not realize you can get even closer to what you want without having to spend more, thanks to two processes.

In this post, we’ll focus on those processes and why they make such a big difference. We’ll also explain how they can upgrade your HSLA steel choice and show you what improvements they’ll make in your component design.

Industries that need enhanced HSLA steel properties

HSLA steel is a trusted and widely used material because it is often more affordable and 20 to 30% lighter than carbon steel of the same strength.

However, many industries request an enhancement of its standard properties for parts where the application requires the structure to handle large amounts of stress, including:

Automotive parts Need high strength and relatively high formability
Aircraft structures Endure speed and pressure differences which require high tensile strength
Bridges and suspensions Undergo extreme tension from both vehicle weight and weather
Building construction Demands a high degree of durability to withstand tremendous tensile stress

Creating an HSLA steel material with an increased performance means trusting the expertise of your foundry and two specific processes: heat treating and CNC machining.

1. Heat treating improves physical properties in multiple ways

Heat treating takes your HSLA steel, heats then cools it, enhancing its physical properties. It is one of the best processes used to achieve maximum performance.

With the proper heat treatment (and the right expertise), the strength, hardness, toughness, ductility, and corrosion resistance of your HSLA steel will improve.

There are several heat treatment techniques that can get you there. While each process provides benefits, how each attains them is different. The most often used methods include 

  • Quenching and tempering to create better balance and stability.
  • Annealing for restoring ductility and allowing additional processing without cracking.
  • Normalizing to provide uniformity and a fine-grained structure.
  • Stress Relief to reduce the risk of unintended dimensional changes.

An experienced foundry will offer a variety of in-house heat treatments that can improve your HSLA steel’s properties and extend the end component’s life.

2. CNC machining gives your HSLA part flexibility & strength

Advanced CNC finishing capabilities eliminate process variation, integrate rapid-fire operations, and create ductility. 

Because CNC machining removes unneeded metal fast and selectively, it’s a finishing process that works especially well with HSLA steel. The combination adds many advantages because it:

  • Requires fewer steps to deliver far more complexity
  • Creates highly repeatable components accurately
  • Adds improved performance to the design
  • Eliminates unnecessary waste

This video shows the efficiency of CNC machining and displays why it’s such a popular secondary process for finishing metal parts, including those made with HSLA steel.

Centrifugal casting takes your HSLA steel tube even further

Using the centrifugal casting method in addition to the above processes to produce your HSLA steel can produce an exceptionally strong tube part. 

And because the centrifugal casting method creates a denser and less porous material, most of the metal can be recovered. That means less waste and improved production cost-efficiency.

In addition, the flexibility of centrifugal casting means your HSLA steel part can be consistently and efficiently recreated. 

The centrifugal casting method creates a denser and less porous material.
Centrifugal casting can produce strong, cost-effective HSLA steel parts when delivered by a foundry that has mastered the process.

An experienced foundry ensures an exceptional metal

Determining the optimal composition and the required processes for the appropriate HSLA steel requires a foundry that knows what they’re doing.

Don’t trust your part to the trial and error of a foundry that doesn’t have the HSLA steel know-how needed. Spuncast Centrifugal Foundry has over 45 years of experience and offers HSLA steel material in several grades with additional processing capabilities. 

Their skilled engineers can answer any questions you may have about HSLA steel and their  in-house heat treating and CNC machining processes.