Q. How is steel made?


Steel is made from iron ore, a combination of iron, oxygen and other minerals.

Q. Where does steel come from?


Steel is made from iron ore, a combination of iron, oxygen and other minerals. The iron is mined and then turned into steel using one of two processes - blast furnaces and, more recently, electric arc furnaces. The iron ore is heated and melted in furnaces where the impurities are removed and other elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium, carbon and vanadium are later added to produce different grades of steel.

Q. How much steel is made in the UK?


The UK produced approximately 5.96 million metric tons of crude steel in 2022.

Q. How much does the steel industry contribute to the UK economy?


The steel industry contributes £2.4 billion per year to the UK economy. This represents 0.1% of the total UK economy and 1.2% of the total manufacturing output according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Q. Who invented steel?


While the production of iron started in around 2000 BC in Asia, Englishman Henry Bessemer is credited with creating modern steel in the mid 1850s. Bessemer devised a way of producing steel by blowing air through molten iron to oxidize the material and separate impurities.

Q. What is the difference between a blast furnace and an electric arc furnace?


Blast Furnaces have traditionally been the way to make steel. The basic idea of a blast furnace dates back more than 2,000 years to China and although the technology has been updated the principle remains the same. Firstly, iron ore is melted using coke (orignally charcoal) as fuel. The iron is converted into steel by blowing oxygen through it. Most of the world's steel is made by this method. Blast furnaces also require a large amount of space and due to the way steel is made, it produces a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions. Electric Arc Furnaces, as the name suggests, use electricity as the main source of energy. Electricity is passed through giant electrodes in the roof of an oven, creating an arc in which the temperature reaches 3,000 degrees celsius. Electric Arc Furnaces also use scrap metal rather than iron ore as the main fuel plus they use a lot less energy than blast furnaces and can be quickly stopped and restarted.

Q. What are the main types of steel?


There are four main types of steel commonly available. The first is carbon steel. It looks dull, matte-like, and is exceptionally strong. It is also the most common type of steel used accounting for around 90% of steel production. Carbon steel is broken into three main sub categories, low carbon steel (also known as mild steel), medium carbon steel, and high carbon steel.The second main type of steel is alloy steel, which is made by combining steel with additional alloying elements such as nickel, copper, chromium and/or aluminum. This process improves the strength, ductility, corrosion resistance and machinability of the steel. The third is stainless steel, which is easily identified by it’s sheen. It is commonly used in the food, medical and architectural sectors. The fourth and final type of steel is tool steel. This is commonly used for cutting and drilling equipment due to the higher heat resistance and hardness they get from the alloys they have in them.

Q. How is steel fabricated?


Steel fabrication is the process of converting steel into steel structures that can eventually be used in construction or assembly. The main forms of steel fabrication include cutting, forming, machining or welding. Additional processes such as finishing and heat treatment are also available. The fabrication process is completed by highly trained specialist steel fabricators and welders. To learn more click here.


Q. What are the main welding processes?


Welding is the process of joining two or more pieces of metal together. This technique has been used for centuries and has become integral to modern methods of construction (MMC).  There are currently over 30 welding types which can be divided into four main welding processes – Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), Metal Active Gas (MAG) Welding (also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Manual Arc Welding (MMA) and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding (or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW).

Q. What are the most common welding joints?


There are five common welding joints used during the fabrication process. These are the butt joint, corner joint, edge joint, lap joint and tee joint.

Q. What is shot blasting?


Shot blasting is a cleaning process that remove oxides and other debris from metal prior to it being coated. Among the most common metals that can be cleaned by shot blasting are aluminium, copper, iron, steel, titanium and zinc. To find out more about the shot blasting services available from Adey Steel contact us here.

Q. What are steel frames?


A steel frame is a building technique with a "skeleton frame" of vertical steel columns and horizontal steel beams, constructed in a rectangular grid to support the floors, roof and walls of a building which are all attached to the frame. The steel beams are connected to the columns using bolts and threaded fasteners. These types of buildings have become an increasingly popular choice on many construction projects as they provide strength and durability as well as flexibility. For more information on steel frames from Adey Steel cal 01509 556677 or email [email protected].

Q. What are steel sections?


Steel sections offer structural support to a range of infrastructure projects. There are five main types of steel sections, each with their own specific uses. The first are angle sections, sometimes known as L-shaped sections. These are best known by their equal or unequal sizes, with both types featuring right angles. These sections are highly effective in resisting  tension under point loads and are used in braces, connecting members for built-up sections. The second are I-Beams and H-Beams, which are heavily used steel sections in the construction sector. These sections feature an I or H shape and provide strength and support for various load combinations. They are widely used as beams, girders, and columns on buildings, bridges, and other structures. The third are channels, sometimes known as C-beams or U-beams. These are popular thanks to their combination of strength of cost-effectiveness, making them ideal on smaller projects. The fourth are hollow structural sections. These come as circular, rectangular and square. They are often used in load-bearing columns, welded steel frames, and industrial equipment. Their hollow design provides efficient strength-to-weight ratios, making them suitable for multi-axis loading applications. The fifth, and last, are steel plates. These are highly popular because they can be produced in different shapes and sizes. The plates are commonly used to reinforce structures or for attaching to other steel sections. For more information on steel sections from Adey Steel cal 01509 556677 or email [email protected].

Q. Where is Adey Steel located?


Adey Steel is a family-owned-and-operated business located on the Falcon Industrial Estate in Loughborough. For directions to Adey Steel click here.

Q. Where can I get more information about jobs at Adey Steel?


Adey Steel is always looking to expand its team to support its growth as a company, ensuring customers receive the highest quality service possible at all times. To find out more about the latest vacancies at Adey Steel click here.

Design and Detailing

Q. What is steel detailing?


Detailing is the production of detailed plans and drawings for use  by steel fabricators and erectors. The specialist CAD drawings help the fabricators and welders understand the exact requirements for fabricating each individual piece of steel.  The drawings also help  the steel erectors to know how to erect the fabricated steel. The detailer creates the drawings using Tekla software so that the exact detailing requirements for fabrication are provided. This includes material specifications plus dimensions, welding, bolting, and other necessary information. For more details on Adey Steel's detailing capabilities click here.

Q. What is Tekla software?


Tekla is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software that is widely used at Adey Steel. It allows our designers to create 3D structural models in steel, and guide users through the detailing, fabrication and installation processes of a project. For more information on our design and detailing capabilities at Adey Steel click here.


Q. Can steel be recycled?


Steel is 100% recyclable. Steel is the world’s most recycled construction material and 40% of all steel production is based on recycled scrap. To put that in context, over 500 million tonnes of steel are recycled worldwide each year. In the UK, 87% of constructional steel is recycled; 10% is reused and only 3% goes to landfill according to the Galvanizers Association. The versatility of steel means that it can be easily recycled or reused.

Q. Can steel be reused?


Unlike recycling, reusing steel requires little or no reprocessing. It also has a greater environmental advantage than recycling since the environmental impact of reprocessing is minimal as it doesn't require remelting and then rolling. The most popular steel products to reuse include piles, hollow sections and purlins.

Q. Does Adey Steel have a carbon reduction plan?


Adey Steel was the first majo specialist steel fabricator in the UK to launch a Carbon Reduction Plan. The detailed plan provides a roadmap to net zero by 2050 for the award-winning steel fabrication infrastructure specialist. The first step in reducing energy consumption was the introduction of ETL-certified LED lighting to replace inefficient fluorescent tubes. This included bulkhead, highbay, linear and recessed fittings throughout the business. Adey Steel is now exploring the time scales for installing replacement windows across the site as well as the move to electric boilers to further boost energy efficiency. To discover more about the Adey Steel Carbon Reduction Plan click here.

Q. How does Adey Steel manage its environmental impact?


Our commitment to managing our environmental impacts and opportunities and doing so in a sustainable and responsible way is recognised by our ISO14001 certification. For more information click here.

Quality Control

Q. What is NDT testing?


NDT stands for Non-Destructive Testing. It is a testing and analysis technique used across many industries to evaluate the properties of a material, component, structure or system for characteristic differences or welding defects and discontinuities without damaging or altering the original part. For more information on NDT testing speak to a member of the Adey Steel team on 01509 556677 or email [email protected].


Q. Does Adey Steel deliver?


Adey Steel has a dedicated fleet of delivery vehicles to ensure prompt delivery of orders to site throughout the UK, including the option of next working day on more time critical projects. We can also provide HIAB lorry to minimise the need for site material handling equipment and all of our drivers are fully qualified in the loading and offloading of fabricated steel. For more information click here.


Q. Does Adey Steel have ISO 9001 accreditation?


Adey Steel holds a number of ISO accreditations including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 accreditations. For the full list of our accreditations click here.

Q. Does Adey Steel have ISO 14001 accreditation?


Adey Steel holds ISO 14001 accreditation as part of our commitment to managing our environmental impact as a business. We also hold ISO 9001 and ISO 45001 accreditations. For the full list of our accreditations click here.

Q. Does Adey Steel have ISO 45001 accreditation?


Adey Steel holds ISO 45001 accreditation as part of our commitment to managing our environmental impact as a business. We also hold ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations. For the full list of our accreditations click here.

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Our Accreditations

Adey Steel is proud to hold the following accreditations