If you are in the market for stainless steel, then you may have heard of the terms “tempering” or “cold rolling.” But what do those mean, and what should you know about it? In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of stainless steel tempering/cold rolling. We will cover what it is, how it works, and some of the benefits of using this process. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of what stainless steel tempering is and why it is such an important step in the manufacturing process.



Tempering, or cold rolling, is a work hardening process used to change the crystalline structure and shape of stainless steel without using heat. Tempered coils are a result of greater amounts of reduction (usually up to 60%) which increases yield strength but decreases ductility of the steel. This is often used in applications where the metal needs to be formed or bent without the risk of breaking.

To begin the tempering process begins, a stainless steel coil is fed into a Z-mill where work rolls apply mechanical pressure to achieve the desired thickness. The work rolls are driven by large motors known as mill motors, which can produce up to 100 meganewtons (MN) of force. This process allows harder materials to be rolled without intermediate anneals, resulting in greater material strength and ductility, and improved corrosion resistance, dimensional accuracy, and surface finish.

After the desired thickness is achieved, the material is then annealed and cooled before being coiled for transport. Cold rolled stainless steel is used in a variety of markets, such as automotive, restaurant equipment, appliance, and medical. It has also been used in construction materials such as architectural panels and handrails.

Tempered and Specialty Metals can precision roll your stainless steel to extremely tight tolerances. During our tempering process, we achieve various degrees of hardness, such as quarter, half, three-quarter, and full hard. At a quarter hardness, steel can be bent back over itself without breaking, while it can only be bent at a 90-degree angle or less with half hardness. At full hardness, the steel can be bent up to 45-degrees without breaking. The hardness level is determined by how much cold working has been exerted into the steel.


Thickness: 0.004″ – 0.187″
Width: 2″ – 24″
Max OD: 65″
Recoiler ID: 16” / 20″ / 24”
Max Weight: 20,000#


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