12 years ago, ULMA Forged Solutions began the latest stage of its journey by attending to the needs of large engineering companies. In addition to the usual distribution clients —the flange stockists—a strategic decision was made to enter the market of large engineering companies. This important strategic change led to an extensive program of investment in order to expand our flange catalog in terms of dimensions, and at the same time to incorporate new materials such as stainless and duplex stainless steels to the existing offer of carbon steels. It is in the duplex catergory that the dual grades make sense.
What are dual grades?
Dual grades refer to materials that can cover two different qualities or standards. The most common cases are in austenitic stainless steel, such as 304/304L. 304 is a stainless material with excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical strength and 304L is a variant with less carbon, which allows the welding of the flange onto the tube without subsequent heat treatment to prevent corrosion.
This same phenomenon occurs for various austenitic stainless steels, the most common being 304/304L and 316/316L, as well as duplex F51/F60.
In general, these are materials whose cost can be five times the cost of carbon steel, so therefore our ability to offer the dual grades to our customers is crucial.
Advantages of the dual grades
The dual grades allow us to meet different needs while maintaining standards, producing more than one quality out of a single material, so we do not need to store excessively differentiated qualities that would double the cost of financing and storage. A single quality in stock covers more than one standard, which allows us to reduce our customers’ investment in working capital and in turn to meet the different needs of the market.
In the current situation, solutions such as dual grade, where the global cost of the product and the associated logistics costs become critical due to the competitive imperative, ULMA offers Dual Grade solutions.