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What is Mill Scale?

Mill scale is the flaky surface that forms on hot-rolled steel.  It is a by-product of manufacturing hot-rolled metal plates and sheets, occurring as the surface oxidizes during the heating, conditioning and hot-rolling processes.  It usually has a bluish-black appearance and can be flaky or powdery.  Due to its non-uniform texture and thickness, mill scale chips easily.


Why is Mill Scale Undesirable?


Mill scale can cause issues with next-stage processes.  Coatings you apply will chip off as the scale peels off.  Mill scale can also affect welding.  The scale behaves as a thermal and electrical insulator. Steel is a natural thermal and electrical conductor.  Therefore, by acting as an insulator, the scale diminishes puddle fluidity and creates arc instability.  Also, the impurities found in the scale, such as oxygen, can release into the steel.  This leads to increased porosity which will weaken the joint.


Removing Mill Scale from Iron or Stainless Steel?


Metal manufacturers know that shot blasting can strengthen, polish, and clean metal. It is also excellent at removing mill scale.  It is fast and cost-efficient.  In addition to removing the mill scale, the valleys and peaks created by the blast process increase surface area for the coating to adhere to.   We can apply a water based rust inhibitor that will protect the part from oxidization but will not impede welding. 


Latem Industries offers a diverse line of blasting equipment which includes monorail, tumble blast, conveyor and swing table to meet your blasting needs.  A variety of shot sizes also allows us to best suit your requirements.


So whether you require scale removal, shot peening, white metal cleaning, rust removal, casting deflashing, or a uniform finish, give Latem a chance to show you what we can do.


For further information on shot blasting, or to request a quote, please contact us or visit our webpage at


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