An Electric World?

Ever played “what if ….”

Well even learned professors do, with scary results.

Stanford University economist Tony Seba has forecast (“Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030”) that no more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification.  A further prediction is that people will stop driving altogether – they will switch to self-drive electric vehicles that are ten times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1 million miles.

What do you think will be the consequences?

Here are some of Seba’s projections:

  1. Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel.
  2. The value of second-hard cars will plunge. You will have to pay to dispose of your old vehicle.
  3. The long-term price of crude will fall to US$25 a barrel. Most forms of shale and deep-water drilling will no longer be viable.
  4. Assets will be stranded.
  5. Scotland will forfeit any North Sea bonanza.
  6. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela will be in (more) trouble.
  7. There is an existential threat to Ford, General Motors, and the German car industry. They will face a choice between manufacturing EVs in a brutal low-profit market, or reinventing themselves as self-drive service companies, variants of Uber and Lyft.
  8. The next generation of cars will be “computers on wheels”. Google, Apple, and Foxconn have the disruptive edge, and are going in for the kill.

Paying to dispose of your vehicle and a drop in second hand car value could mean more abandoned cars such as those left in Dubai’s financial crisis

There will always be those who like the old habit of car ownership. The rest of us will adapt to vehicles on demand ..with the consequences that it will become harder to find a petrol station, spares, or anybody to fix the internal combustion engines – which typically has 2,000 moving parts compared to 18 in the Tesla S.

The shift, according to Seba, is driven by technology, not climate policies. The “tipping point” will arrive over the next two to three years as EV battery ranges surpass 200 miles and electric car prices in the US drop to $30,000. By 2022 the low-end models will be down to $20,000. After that, the avalanche will sweep all before it.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank England and chairman of Basel’s Financial Stability Board, has repeatedly warned that fossil energy companies are booking assets that can never be burned under the Paris agreement.

He pointed out last year that it took only a small shift in global demand for coal to bankrupt three of the four largest coal-mining companies in short order. Other seemingly entrenched sectors could be just as vulnerable. He warned of a “Minsky moment”, if we do not prepare in time the energy revolution may move so fast that it will precipitate another global financial crisis.

Seba predicts that: “Global oil demand will peak at 100 million barrels per day by 2020, dropping to 70 million by 2030.” There will be oil demand for use in the chemical industries, and for aviation, though Nasa and Boeing are working on hybrid-electric aircraft for short-haul passenger flights. Oil use for road transport will crash from 8 million barrels a day to 1 million.

The cost per mile for EVs will be 6.8 cents as EVs are four times more efficient than petrol or diesel cars (which lose 80 per cent of their power in heat), while “safe” driving will cut insurance costs by 90 per cent. Seba predicts that the average American household will save $5,600 per year by making the switch. The US government will lose $50 billion a year in fuel taxes.

Sooner or Later…

These are all large claims, and while the professor’s timing may be off by years, there is little doubt about the general direction.  Not sure?  Well:

  1. India is drawing up plans to phase out all petrol and diesel cars by 2032, leap-frogging China in an electrification race across Asia.  Prime Minister Modi has called for a mix of subsidies, car-pooling, and caps on fossil-based cars. The goal is to cut pollution and break reliance on imported oil.
  2. Meanwhile, China is moving in parallel, pushing for 7 million electric vehicles by 2025 (which is admittedly a small drop in the ocean compared to total car ownership in China – as anyone who has tried to move in any major city there will testify).  However, China is also enforcing a minimum quota for “new energy” vehicles that shifts the burden for the switch onto manufacturers so may well force higher volumes.
  3. At the same time, global shipping rules are clamping down on dirty high-sulphur oil used in the cargo trade, a move that may lead to widespread use of liquefied natural gas for ship fuel.
  4. Seba cites as a parallel of what happened to film cameras – and to Kodak – once digital rivals hit the market. It was swift and brutal. “You can’t compete with zero marginal costs,” he said.


An Alternative View Point

However, is this a totally one-sided view?  OPEC‘s World Oil Outlook last year dismissed electric vehicles as a fringe curiosity that would make little difference to ever-rising global demand for oil.  It predicted a jump in crude consumption by a further 16.4 million barrels a day to 109 million by 2040, with India increasingly taking over from China as growing market. The cartel said fossils will still make up 77 per cent of global energy use, much like today. However, OPEC, Russia, and the oil-exporting states are now caught in a squeeze and will probably be forced to extend output caps into 2018 to stop prices falling. Shale fracking in the US is now so efficient, and rebounding so fast, that it may cap oil prices in a range of US$45 to $55 until the end of the decade. By then the historic window will be closing.


Please reply and join our debate / prediction on the effect or the timing of change coming up.  We may store them up and award a bar of chocolate to the one who gets their predictions closest (in 2025!).

Leave a Reply

Introducing… Paul Sykes

In our first of a series of “introducing…” blogs where we familiarise you with some of the team at Broder, meet Paul Sykes, our newest addition to the UK Sales team.


Paul is a seasoned Sales Manager with over 30 years’ experience in the Steel Industry, previously working at Ellis Engineering, John F Salt, Maher and eleven years at Langley Alloys. In Paul’s career, he has travelled all over the world and praises Singapore as his favourite city of all. Now UK based, as Senior Sales Executive Paul has wasted no time getting out on the road to introduce himself to our customers, bumping into some familiar faces on the way. In the last couple of months he’s been trawling over South Yorkshire and the midlands, visiting over 30 companies from Wetherby to Walsall. Based in Brighouse himself, Paul isn’t a Wednesday or United fan (following Huddersfield if anyone), however he’s gained acceptance into the fold with the help of his wife’s butter cream and caramel cakes. We won’t be trying any of Paul’s baking however, as unbelievably he’s confessed to cooking one meal in his lifetime! When Paul is in the office he can be seen scoffing and nattering to our UK fastener customers, a market with which he has dealt with for over 10 years. If you haven’t met Paul you are soon to, as after a teeny car collision last week he’s back on the road, unscathed and undeterred.  But before meeting him a word of warning – lock up your cakes!



Leave a Reply

Longitudinal versus Transverse Impact testing

The term “longitudinal” or “transverse” refers to whether the grain in the steel in the test piece runs the length of the rectangle (“longitudinal”) or across the width of the rectangle (“transverse”).

In an impact test, the test piece is shaped into a rectangle, with the “notch” being made in the middle of the length of the rectangle on one side. The purpose of the impact test is to measure the force needed to break the test piece at the notch when hit with a pendulum against the long side of the test piece in the middle of the notch.

In a longitudinal test direction, the force of the impact goes across the grain of the test piece. In a transverse test direction, the force of the impact from the hit goes parallel to the grain of the specimen (or effectively, between the strands of the grain).

Differences obviously arise between the longitudinal test results and the transverse test results:

Longitudinal (the directional force is across the grain): it is harder to fracture the specimen and therefore takes more energy to fracture the steel across the grain. Longitudinal test pieces therefore have higher notch toughness’ (i.e. it will take more joules (or foot pounds) of absorbed energy to break a longitudinal specimen).

Transverse: the transverse impact energy required will be less to break the steel across the notch.


Which to use?

It depends upon the application and where the customer expects directional force to be applied during use.

One other factor is the ability to obtain a reliable transverse test piece.  This is normally only possible for above a 3“or 76.2 mm diameter bar- on smaller diameters there is not enough metal to get a test specimen.

In terms of expected results, obviously it is harder to produce impact (or “notch”) toughness longitudinally because the grain direction of the steel provides a natural resistance to fracture. Therefore, we should expect to see higher impact energy requirements.   On transverse testing the grain of the steel will not be a factor in resisting the fracture, therefore we should expect to see lower energy requirements.


It is therefore somewhat of an eyebrow raiser when we see specifications calling for the same minimum impact strength in both the longitudinal and transverse direction.  The implication is that we will need a longitudinal energy used much higher than the minimum requested to get an acceptable result in a transverse direction.


Any Questions?

If you have any testing requirements or further questions, contact us or alternatively check out of our full metal testing and processing services provided here.

Leave a Reply

Broder’s transition to ISO 9001:2015!

After several sleepless nights and a large amount of effort from Richard and Tarrick, Broder Metals Group has finished its documentation and been recommended to move from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015.

The painstaking process has been underway for several months and started when Richard, Mike and Mark meticulously reviewed our current operations, from Staff Training to our Material Receipts. As the ISO 9001: 2015 uses a new standardised structure, many of our well-crafted existing documents needed tweaking or changing completely, much to the dismay of Mike who originally produced these. Thankfully, as Group Accountant and family member Richard has picked up his organisation acumen and was willing (we think!) to take the lead in bringing the new ISO manual together.

The manual itself is a lengthy document- twenty-four pages of procedure guidelines and improvement principles, so the main issue was getting the team to read it! Thankfully Mike’s encouraging and not at all intimidating persuasion tactics came in hand and everyone gave their input.

Although Broder Metals Group have always kept a system in place to best serve our customers, it’s great to have this continually noticed, with our TUV auditor recognising the big effort put in by the team. With no non-conformances to report, Richard is able to get back in the garden and Tarrick is returning to what he does best, losing football games!

Leave a Reply

The many faces of MP35N

MP35N is a nickel-cobalt alloy with an extensive combination of winning properties- extreme high strength, toughness ductility and superb corrosion resistance, however not all of these properties occur at the same time. As a material with a wide range in variability depending on treatment, and most applications being governed by end user specifications, it can be problematic purchasing the correct type. To select the best variant and treatment of MP35N for your use, look no further than here.

Corrosion Resistant – Oil and Gas

NACE MR 01-75 / ISO 15166 (2009)

NACE MR 01-75 is the most corrosion resistant form of MP35N, with excellent resistance to stress corrosion cracking in severe environments, for e.g. hydrogen sulphide, salt water, chloride solutions and in mineral acids such as nitric, hydrochloric and sulphur. NACE MR 01-75 is used most commonly for oil field equipment and is one of the few approved alloys for use as springs at hardness levels above RC50.

High Strength – Aerospace, Medical and Dental

AMS 5844 – solution treated and cold drawn bars

AMS 5845 – solution heat treated, cold drawn and aged bars

Within the aerospace industry the highest strength variant of MP35N is used. The biocompatible and durable nature of high strength MP35N also means that it is used for dentistry and medical purposes.

Fastener Standards

AMS 7468 – bolts and screws, forged head, roll threaded after ageing

This is the specification given specifically to the variant of MP35N used widely to create fasteners for a number of industries, due to its good bearing qualities in high temperature.

Information overload? As point of reference please download this information sheet.

Broder Metals Group hold MP35N stock from 12.7 mm (1/2”) to 76.2 mm (3”), mainly in the optimum SCC (NACE) condition, along with selected smaller sizes of AMS material. Material can also be supplied as cold drawn tubing on a leadtime.

Leave a Reply