Let’s chat about finish ASTM A484 Part 2)

Well, let me be brutally honest with you. Years ago (seems like a lifetime to me), I began my career in purchasing in the valve business. I was voluntold for the position. The company I worked had gone thru an acquisition. A pretty positive thing for sure. But the Gent that was the purchasing guru of the “high end valves” (Monels and Titaniums), wasn’t keen on learning a “new system”. My job was to take an email that he sent to me with the quote request in the body, and attach drawings so that the manufacturer or vendor could produce the valves, by pouring or casting.

Yep. Attaching docs in an email is pretty difficult. Thank you Microsoft Engineers for drag and drop feature/function today.

This guy tho, pushed every button I had. He made me laugh. He made me so angry I couldn’t see straight. He made me cry tears of anger and frustration. I walked out of two meetings because he was a jackass. A total jackass. But he taught me much about purchasing and most importantly how to read a standard. His advice – “Peg, print it, mark out the BS, hilight the important words. Read the highlighted part. You’ll get it.”

I smoked (shudder, I have since quit) lots of cigarettes over this guy.

Let’s fast forward almost twenty years. Pete, I love ya, Bud, but it is just a skosche more than that.

Where I come from, my early days days in my career, finish wasn’t something that was taught to me. Hell, standards weren’t taught to me, really, until I landed where I currently sit. Oh, the standards have always been there, but within an internal material specification. My mill contacts knew those standards, and held my hand more times than not when I had to ask a question of said standards for the sales team (remember to utilize resources- can’t stress that enough. Mill reps and mill contacts are huge, BIG resources in your day).

It worked. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy (cred to Douglas–hope all is well with ya, Darlin).

Oh! But then I landed here. And honestly, up until about eighteen months or so ago, A484 made my eyes cross and glaze. You know what I’m talkin’ about? Deer in headlights. Times a bazillion.

A downturn in the primary economy in which one works will force one to learn it, ask questions, use it, rinse and repeat. Not to mention a co-worker that reminded me regularly, “Peg, dammit, you know this!!!”

Sometimes, one just needs affirmation. Ya know?

So I am going to explain as I understand it. Let me repeat that

As I understand it.

If you, Dear Reader don’t understand it, call a lifeline (5 minute rule exercised here).

If you, Dear Reader think I’m wrong, please comment (nicely- no haters here, please) because I am the keeper of keys and grounds here and I can edit.

The above statement is my sort of disclaimer. I have a mill rep that is absolutely awesome and I can already hear his eyes roll. Then there’s my immediate supervisor. He has forgotten more than I know on this subject. More actually, and he will be mentioned in future posts, I am sure of it.

So. What are we talking about? Oh yes. Finish. ASTM A484.

Technically, the standard says that finish is pretty much the surface of the metal and tolerances when that stainless steel bar ex mills (jargon for shipping from the mill). One knows the finish by the thermomechanical process used in producing the stainless bar (see the previous post).

Ok. Reading that again makes my head ache. But the Reader’s Digest version, as I understand it – the tolerances of the diameter of the bar (remember, my world is round).

Oh, there’s all kinds of finishes. Here’s a few: pickling (deleted for clarification in previous post), rough turned, centerless grinding, straightening, polished, peeled and polished, and the one that caused me lots of grief to wrap my head around, the infamous “cold drawn (or working) but not to increase mechanical properties” – (ASTM standard A484, 3.1.3.2)

Note on cold draw not increase properties – It is my goal to be able to explain that one so that it can easily be understood. I am so not there yet. Sorry Kids.

Really, tho, in day to day ordering of stainless bar, I can make it super simple.

Remember these three:

Cold finished (usually abbreviated by CF)

Hot Finished (usually abbreviated by HF)

Rough Turned (usually abbreviated by HF and is basically the same as HF. Made ya look).

Oh, there’s lots of jargon in the biz. I have found that the jargon is usually used when creating a description because ERP systems/ programs have a field for “description”. I have to tell you honestly, those descriptions helped in the early learning of stainless because for me, I didn’t have to know numbers. Going thru doc review (shout out to my qual guys), I am surprised at what I didn’t think I knew but did know because I have read it a bazillion times.

Some of the jargon you may see: CFA – Cold Finished Annealed condition

CDA – Cold Drawn Annealed condition

HRART – Hot Rolled Annealed and Rough Turned

HRRT – Hot Rolled Annealed Rough Turned

CG – Centerless Ground

And the completely explanatory

Peeled and Polished.

Gotta give a high five and fist bump to my mill guy, Kev. You know who you are.

I will discuss tolerances that result from the finishes in the next post.

For now tho, I leave you with this:

“Quality in a service or product is not what you out into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” Peter Drucker

** Comments are appreciated and welcomed. Please tho- this is a no hate zone and intended to assist those coming behind me. I had and still have awesome resources that have struggled to help me understand. Because of those individuals, I am better than I really am.

Tolerance. In steel, it’s called ASTM A484

Tolerance is in short supply with me, especially lately. Traffic, people that drive the speed limit in the “fast lane”, airport security lines Oh! and waiting for Whataburger to deliver to the driver’s side window…

You get me. These are real struggles.

Oh wait. I’m not talking about the willingness to put up with something before driving yourself crazy, I’m talking about TOLERANCE as in the allowed variation in dimensions.

My world is round, especially in bar. I have remarked over the years that I do not subscribe to that flat world theory, but I have had to play the part a few times in a pinch (insert big shout out to my Cali and Dallas sales gals that have held my hand repeatedly when I had to brave this road less travelled). In my world, those tolerances are governed by ASTM A484.

ASTM A484 is all about bar conditions and finishes. Today tho, its just conditions. I’ll get to finishes later.

Conditions are determined by the last part (or parts) of what happens when bars are made that gives an idea of what the metal will be when it leaves the mill. The big word to describe this “part” is thermomechanical processing.

Wow. That’s a mouthful. But all it means is that the bar has had some sort of temperature put to it (the thermo part) with a machine or some sort of machinery shenanigans (the mechanical part).

And here’s that laundry list of things that are considered thermomechanical processing:

Hot worked, hot worked annealed, annealed, cold worked, hot worked quenched and tempered, normalized and tempered.

EDITED… pickling is not a condition. It is a finish which is discussed in ASTM A484 part 2. My apologies for having used that in this post. I have removed it for the purpose of staying within topic.

Why’s it important to know this? Well, in a word, because conditions influence the mechanical properties of the material — hardness, yield, tensile. The widgets of the world are manufactured knowing that a specific grade of metal will hold up to the stresses of the job– whatever job that widget has to do. Think of the widgets in your life. Screws, handles, espresso machines, cars, click pens – metal has to hold up to the repetition of use.

I leave you with this–

“Success is a science, if you have the conditions, you get the result.” Oscar Wilde