29Jun 2018
Inside Thermal and Mechanical Metal Cutting Processes

Despite being one of the hardest and most resilient things on earth, metal service centers can cut and shape metal for specific construction projects. Cutting metal is contingent on what type of metal it is and what role this metal will play within a standard building job.

Different projects require different metals in a variety of shapes, which is when a metal service center comes into play. They have the tools necessary to break down metals and cut them into the exact shape specified by a blueprint.

The process of cutting metal can be broken down into two broad categories known as thermal cutting processes and mechanical cutting processes. Before deciding what kind of metal to use, it’s important to understand the attributes of each metal-cutting process and how they will affect the result.

Thermal Cutting Processes

This process uses an energy source to heat and liquify specific portions of metal for thermal cutting. The cut is made by precisely blowing away the molten metal from the solid metal.

The three most common thermal cutting processes are:

  • Flame Cutting – Oxygen is used in combination with acetylene or propylene fuel create the flame for cutting and the means to blow the molten metal
  • Plasma Cutting – An electrical arc is the heat source to heat, cut, and blow the molten metal
  • Laser Cutting – Laser energy creates a monochromatic and coherent light beam that’s focused on melting and cutting the metal.

Depending on the application, thermal cutting is often the preferred method because it’s much faster than other processes.

Mechanical Cutting Processes

Unlike the heat applications involved in thermal processes, mechanical cutting processes involve a physical cut to the metal. The quality of the cut can vary greatly depending on the specific type of automated cutting process being used. There are a few methods considered to be highly auspicious, so they are used much more often.


Saw cutting for metal uses a vertical or horizontal band-saw cut and a coolant, which is generally applied to offset the frictional heat between the saw and metal. Saw cutting is an effective way to produce metals in an array of shapes, types, and sizes. On the other hand, it is slower than other production methods.


Miter saws use a circular metal saw blade, usually composed of carbides. As the blade spins, it is lowered at precise angles to make exact cuts.


Using considerable force, shearing compresses the metal into a sharp edge to deform and eventually make the cut to the metal. This tactic most commonly applies to sheet metal cutting. While it is a high-quality cut, the process can leave visually un-appealing edges.

Hole Punch

This method is mostly utilized to cut metal into shapes like tubes or cylinders. It works similar to shearing. A metal tool of a specific configuration is pressed into the newly forming metal until a shape is punched out.


Notching employs the same tactic as shearing, except the sides are slowly worn away to create a specific shape, making this the preferred method for three-dimensional objects. Notching is mostly used for sheet metal or thin bar stock.


A drill bit is pushed into the metal to cut cylinder-shaped holes. A countersink bit can also be used to make sharp cuts.

Water Jet

High-pressure water is forced through a nozzle to cut softer metals. An abrasive material is often added as an erosive.

If you’re still not sure which tactic is best to cut the metal you need, seek the advice of professionals at your local metal service center. Avion Alloys has extensive experience creating an assortment of metals for different projects and can explain exactly which method to use depending on the end-goal. For more information, contact us today.

15Jun 2018
Top Metals Used in Heavy Machinery Equipment

When having parts manufactured for heavy machinery and equipment, it’s critical to choose the right material. Making the right choice depends on your budget, the desired application, the required durability, and a few other factors.

Here’s what you need to know about the five most common materials used for heavy equipment and machine parts.

Carbon Alloys

Carbon alloys are favorable because they are stable even in the most extreme temperatures and resist corrosion and wear. Choose an alloy with a carbon content of less than five percent by weight for a material that has the strength of steel, but can still be welded and formed into the desired shape.


If you need a part that won’t have to withstand extreme conditions, consider aluminum as a budget-friendly option. This lightweight material is also useful if your machine has weight restrictions. Despite its low density, aluminum resists corrosion. It also conducts heat and electricity effectively. Aluminum is widely available and more affordable than many other metals in this category.


If your machine parts are externally visible, you may want to choose the appealing color of brass. It’s not just about looks – brass is reliable and possesses corrosion-resistant properties. Brass also repels rust, which makes it an excellent choice for high-humidity environments and machines that must operate in or near water. Although brass can be more expensive than other metals on this list, it’s also generally more comfortable to work with.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has unmatched strength and hardness, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor machines in harsh environmental conditions. Stainless steel is a favorite because it resists heat and corrosion. Its rigidity makes it slightly more difficult to mold and work with, but is a popular choice for most construction projects.


If you don’t need heat resistance, you may want to consider plastic for your heavy-duty equipment needs. Even though this material has a low melting temperature, it is lightweight and versatile, making it the perfect material for most types of machine parts and equipment. It is lower in strength than its metal counterparts, so if you depend on durability, plastic may not be the best choice.

There are pros and cons to all types of metal, and choosing the right one for your heavy machinery equipment is entirely up to you. Once you’ve decided on your metal, it’s important to find a reputable metal service center to obtain your supplies. Avion Alloys provides quality materials and maximum efficiency for all of your projects. For more information on our products and services, contact us at (800) 408-2329 for a free quote.

22May 2018
Abrasion-Resistant Steel

When hard materials come in contact with one another over time, damage and wear known as abrasion will occur. In some cases, abrasion is intentional. Processes like blasting, sanding, and grinding will create an abrasion effect.

When unintentional, however, abrasion can cause machine and building components to fail. In these instances, it’s essential to use abrasion-resistant steel, which is strong enough to prevent this type of erosion.

The Manufacturing Process

This material is an alloy of carbon, iron ore, and other elements such as manganese and chromium. The iron is melted in a blast furnace to remove impurities, and alloying materials (including carbon) are added during that process. The additional elements help the steel resist wear even with prolonged rubbing. Other substances are added to prevent oxidation. The molten steel is then shaped, heat treated and cut.

The resulting chemical composition has several components that help it resist abrasions. Carbon adds strength and hardness. Chromium and manganese limit the steel’s reaction to wearing. Heat treatment helps the steel form robust microstructures that increase hardness.

Types of Abrasion-Resistant Steel

Abrasion-resistant steel comes in a variety of grades, each with a specific hardness value on the Brinell scale. The Brinell hardness test uses an indenting machine to test the force that a material can withstand and the size of the indent created by the tool. This contrasts with other types of steel, which are graded by toughness and tensile strength. Hardness is critical to limit the effects of abrasion.

AR400 is a standard grade of abrasion-resistant steel, with 400 representing the Brinell hardness value of the material. AR450 and AR500 have values of 450 and 500 respectively, meaning they are harder than AR400. However, AR400 is more flexible and is easier to form. All three types are appropriate for creating cement forming and pouring equipment, conveyor systems, and mining and excavation equipment. Check out these steel uses for military.

Some brands produce proprietary abrasion-resistant steel varieties, such as MAS500 AR and Hardox 400. Grades with the designation CR have been cold rolled. Proprietary types of steel are used for the same applications described above. If you need to manufacture heavy equipment, abrasion-resistant steel plate can ensure its durability.

As a NASA approved vendor, Avion Alloys is a leading global distributor of high-performance compounds. Manufacturing industrial metal products for many different practices, we welcome all requests and inquiries. For a free quote, contact us today.

23Apr 2018

Titanium is the one of the closest things to a miracle metal found on earth. This silvery gray metal is stronger than steel (if you consider the strength-to-weight ratio). It resists corrosion and rust more effectively than platinum, which is a noble metal. Titanium is not impacted by weather or most environments and is even resistant to most chemical acids and bases. As a result, it is used to build ships, airplanes, trains, buses, and cars.

Who Discovered Titanium?

Titanium was discovered by William Gregor in 1791 and given its name by Martin Klaproth in 1795. Fittingly, he named it after the primordial Greek gods, the Titans, because of its great strength. Titanium is flexible as well as very ductile, which means it can be drawn into thin wire. It is also malleable, so it is often hammered into thin sheets.

Titanium has an atomic number of 22, an atomic weight of 47.90 and a density that’s between aluminum and stainless steel. It can alloy with nearly every other element except for copper and aluminum, and it is most often used as an alloy in iron. It has a melting point of 3074 degrees Fahrenheit and a boiling point of 6395 degrees F.

Nearly every type of igneous rock, including granite, has some titanium. Igneous rocks are those formed in volcanoes. However, it is difficult to separate titanium from its ore, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that a refining method was developed that could produce large amounts of industrial titanium.

Putting Titanium to Use

Titanium’s first commercial use was as titanium dioxide to obviate the need to put white lead in paint. Now, titanium dioxide is used to make rubber, paper, porcelain enamels, and linoleum. Its use as a whitening agent in food products has become controversial. Some researchers believe that titanium dioxide found in foods and products such as toothpaste can exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease.

One of the most important uses of titanium is for prosthetics. Titanium posts are used for dental implants and anchors. Titanium is also used for:

  • artificial joints
  • heart valves
  • hearing aids
  • pacemakers
  • expandable rib cages and plates
  • mesh
  • devices used to heal broken bones

This is because titanium is biocompatible as well as corrosion-resistant. Titanium is also used for surgical tools such as forceps, needles and hemostats.

Besides being useful in industry, titanium can also be used for jewelry. Titania is made of titanium dioxide crystals, and some people believe it is even more brilliant than a diamond when it is cut and polished. It is a highly versatile metal that many industries depend on to create quality products.

At Avion Alloys, we are leading suppliers of titanium and other high-quality metals. We are a NASA and Lockheed Martin-approved vendor who understands the importance of on-time delivery and top product quality. Our long-term commitment with producers ensures availability of stock, continuity, and reliability. Call (800) 408-2329 for a free quote or contact us online to learn more about our services.

09Apr 2018
How Do Aluminum and Stainless Steel Differ_wide

While stainless steel and aluminum have many uses in sheet metal projects, they differ significantly. The main distinguishing factor is that aluminum occurs as a natural element, while stainless steel is a man-made alloy. However, there are a few more key aspects that characterize these metals. Continue reading

23Mar 2018
Some Interesting Facts About Magnesium

Magnesium is a crucial mineral for the body. It is very abundant in the human body and crucial to the healthy functioning of the system. Though this mineral is actually the fourth most present mineral in the body, many people lack sufficient levels of magnesium, which is why many people take magnesium as a supplement. Continue reading

09Mar 2018
Pile of Silver Exotic Metal Pellets

Gleaming, gorgeous metals (sometimes referred to as “exotic” metals), can be a great choice for special construction projects. Exotic metals are a class of metals that are sustainable as well as durable and high-performance. These metals include stainless steel, titanium, zinc alloy, copper, and nickel based alloys and terne coated stainless steel. These metals are usually used in construction applications that include trim elements (both exterior and exterior) roofing, and the creation of wall panels. Continue reading

22Jan 2018

One of the most important qualities of a metal is its strength. The ways in which metals are used in industries like construction and auto manufacturing make the inherent strength of certain metals of huge importance. Metal alloys, which are the product of a combination of metals, have greater strength than metals in original form. Continue reading

08Jan 2018

Copper is a metal used in a wide range of industries, from the brass in musical instruments to the copper alloy siding used in the hulls of military ships. The many practical uses for this versatile metal make it an ever-present element in modern life, but its uses go back to ancient times. Continue reading

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