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Cold rolled steel is essentially hot rolled steel that has been through further processing. Once hot rolled steel has cooled, it is then re-rolled at room temperature to achieve more exact dimensions and better surface qualities.
Cold “rolled” steel is often used to describe a range of finishing processes, though technically “cold rolled” applies only to sheets that undergo compression between rollers. Steel forms that are pulled, such as bars or tubes, are “drawn,” not rolled. Other cold finishing processes include turning, grinding, and polishing—each of which is used to modify existing hot rolled stock into more refined products.
Cold rolled steel can often be identified by the following characteristics:
- Better, more finished surfaces with closer tolerances
- Smooth surfaces that are often oily to the touch
- Bars are true and square, and often have well-defined edges and corners
- Tubes have better concentric uniformity and straightness