Also colloquially known as billet, is a common form of raw purified metal, used by industry to manufacture metal parts and products. Metal suppliers typically stock bar items in rod, hex, square and flat shapes.
Sheet & Plate Stock
Sheet metal is simply metal formed into thin and flat pieces. Thicknesses can vary significantly, although extremely thin thicknesses are considered foil or leaf, and pieces thicker than 6 mm (0.25 in) are considered plate.
Tube & Pipe
Steel pipes are long, hollow tubes that are used for a variety of purposes. They are produced by two distinct methods which result in either a welded or seamless pipe. In both methods, raw steel is first cast into a more workable starting form. It is then made into a pipe by stretching the steel out into a seamless tube or forcing the edges together and sealing them with a weld.
Having parts extruded can produce significant savings. Extrusion is a process of shaping molten materials by force under pressure through a tool cut to produce a desired shape.
This process utilizes expendable sand molds to form complex metal parts that can be made of nearly any alloy. Metal is melted in a furnace and then ladled and poured into the cavity of the sand mold, which is formed by the pattern. The sand mold separates along a parting line and the solidified casting can then be removed.
Forgings are consistent from piece to piece, without any of the porosity, voids, inclusions and other defects. Thus, finishing operations such as machining do not expose voids, because there aren't any. Also coating operations such as plating or painting are straightforward due to a good surface, which needs very little preparation.