For some time, customers and suppliers from the trailer industry have debated on the topic of Chinese and Australian steel. So to offer another opinion, we at Couplemate Trailer Parts, thought we would add a few words.
Chinese steel begins life as Australian Iron-ore from West Australia and Coal from Queensland.
The steel milling process either occurs in Australia which is preferred to most Australians, including us, or it occurs in China. The later takes Australian jobs and is a lower cost product, not lower quality.
Carbon and other additives are included in the smelting process giving various grades of steel.
Many industry professionals are convinced that the quality of the Chinese steel is different to Australian steel which is untrue If the importer has had Australian testing done on the steel. We have, and the results speak for themselves.
Bluescope, an Australia company has officers in China, Taiwan and many other countries.
So if the argument is not based on the quality of the steel then where does the argument go? Well, it is quite simply, Australian jobs! For no other reason is it appropriate to argue the point of Australian or Chinese steel. If you would like to support Australian jobs then Australian milled steel is the option for you, if you are indifferent and simply want a product that will do exactly what we say it will do and is backed by our warranty, then either Chinese or Australian steel is ok.
We have seen on occasions where Australian produce products are inferior to Chinese produced products. In these cases, we do not support or purchase inferior manufactured products.
To add a further dimension to the debate of steel type, enter Indian Steel. We have purchased Indian steel in the past and our experience has shown that the steel is of lower quality, it seems to rust quicker than Chinese and Australian steel and has a high amount of scale on the milled surface that our technicians need the grind back prior to welding.
The top axle in the image below is an Indian Axle and the bottom image is Bluescope steel. The Indian axle has been made from scrape steel, perhaps even ship steel cut from a recycled ship and re-processed. Bluescope steel is virgin steel made from Australian raw materials.
Question: How can I tell a good axle?
Answer: Run you thumb nail over the machine profile on one end. If the machined profile feels lumpy then the axle has something similar to a sine wave when view close up. This axle has lumps and troughs. Your bearings do not seat properly in the troughs. Less than 25% of your bearing is sitting on your axle profile where 75% of the inner bearing surface is actually not touching the axle. These axles have been machined too quickly with too much surface speed on the cutting tool. On many occasions, a finer finishing tool is not used.
A perfectly finished axle will feel relatively smooth under your thumb nail. A perfectly cut axle been cut with a rough cutting tool at high speed to remove most of the steel then a finishing tool selected to provide a smooth finished surface for your bearing surface. Your bearing must be in contact with 100% of the machine axle profile.
Customers frequently come to us with bearing problems. On many occasions the problem is with the rough axle turn destroying bearings.
Whatever decision you choose to go with, if you purchase your materials from a reputable business that offers warranty on and stands behind it products you canít go wrong. Better still, buy Couplemate Axles as they stand by their product with warrantee.
Remember, run your thumb nail over the machine surface.
Couplemate have long term relationships in China and Taiwan that are based on sustained quality production processes with an error rate of 10,000:1. So yes, we are happy to recommend our trailer parts whether they are manufactured in China, Taiwan or Australia.
For the record, Couplemate Trailer Parts buys steel from BlueScope Steel, an Australian owned Company. Bluescope is an international company that also sells steel in China and Taiwan.