Writing a blog from the spot is always challenging and perhaps even invigorating....nothing like smelling the coffee and writing about it rather than sitting in an airconditioned room and intellectualizing.
I have been visiting Prepainted Steel mills in China. Price differentials are amazing between each mill especially as you go more into the interior. It is of course without question China can produce quality PPGI and other steels but when we beat a mill on price, quality tradeoff comes with the territory.
Fortunately I met a very articulate Chinese Manager (jing li...see I can now speak Manadarin) who eloquently described the processes where price savings are possible.
One is of course the zinc coating...you order lower coating, you get better pricing
Top and bottom Paint/primer coating..you order lower you get better pricing.
Standard widths help get better pricing.
These are of course common sense understandings. Of course some mills know how to compromise believing customers will not test. One is make lower zinc coating, second is of course the painting microns. Some paint colours do not need high coatings. The other is playing on the tensile strength.
Instead of structural steel, semi annealing allows them to come to the hardness of structural steel. You can be sure this is anything but structural steel.
There is also reuse of consumables like coolants (remember we are in a dollar and cent margin business if we are lucky) wherein impurities actually enter the hot steel resulting in cracking and peeling during use.
These are all of course trade-offs. Do you want to be a one time supplier to your buyer. You cannot guarantee your customer 10 years and above, let alone one year (we know of cases of 3 months).
Also unlike Government owned companies, private PPGI plants do not remove the tails where the coating fades off. It is good money to put away into the scrap.
Countries in South Asia are unfortunately not known for quality consciousness, it is just price and a congruence of the above problems that follow. It is better to build a collaborative partnership with mills with people you can trust and a company like ours that speaks the language of steel, Mandarin and commerce.