Tap to CALL US NOW

How Stainless Steel Changed the Food and Beverage Industry

In this day and age, we tend to take stainless steel manufacturers for granted, in Perth and across Australia. However, stainless steel hasn’t always been around. Though it was created as early as 1911, stainless steel didn’t become popular in England and the US until 1929. Even then, the Great Depression would slow its rise.

The Safer Choice

Why was stainless steel such a revelation to the food and beverage industry? Couldn’t they just make their sinks and tables out of something else? Of course they could, but stainless steel made it easier to maintain a restaurant without making people sick.

How Stainless Steel Changed the Food and Beverage Industry

Most drinks, such as sodas, beer and dairy, can be corrosive to all metals. Not only would metal containers contaminate products with the residue of corrosion, they also became safe havens for bacteria. Food and dairy processing was much more dangerous to consumers before stainless steel became a viable option.

Only stainless steel can be used to process or transport liquids in a way that guarantees sanitation and quality. Most metals contaminate liquids if stored there for long. Before stainless steel, beverages were transported in bottles, which were fragile.

Stainless steel allowed restaurants to become much more sanitary. They also allowed food processing and storage to become much more efficient. Simply stated: large scale processing cannot be done without stainless steel.

Fast Forward

Currently, stainless steel is used in most food and beverage processing. Products such as beer, wine, dairy, soft drinks, meat, fish, vegetables and baked goods are all processed using stainless steel equipment.

For the food processing industry, they know stainless steel is efficient and safe. It is easy to maintain and keep sanitary to prevent foods and beverages from becoming contaminated from metals or from bacteria and fungi.

Call Western Stainless Solutions Today

Whether you own a pub, a restaurant or a food processing facility, we can make the equipment you need to run a tight ship. To learn more, call us today: 1300 794 647.

Why Stainless Steel is the Material of Choice for Sinks

One of our more common stainless steel installation products for Perth area businesses is the stainless steel sink. We have made countless stainless steel sinks for the restaurant, medical, manufacturing and mining industries. No matter what the industry, stainless steel is the material of choice for sinks for a number of reasons.

Light and Cost-Effective

Stainless steel is a material that is light compared to other sink materials. It is a cost-effective material for fabricating custom stainless steel sinks.

Stainless Steel is the Material of Choice for Sinks

High Quality

Stainless steel is a high quality material for sinks and it is now even better. Design has evolved to a point where stainless steel sinks are thicker and less noisy than their predecessors.

Durable

Stainless steel is one of the most durable materials for fabricating sinks. It doesn’t crack, chip, stain or fade. It has a much longer “shelf life” or “product cycle” than other materials and doesn’t degrade like other materials do.

Bigger Capacity

Because of stainless steel’s unique combination of lightness, strength and durability, it is possible to make much larger sinks with stainless steel than with other materials, especially heavy materials like cast-iron or porcelain.

Low Maintenance

Stainless steel is the easiest material to clean when it comes to sinks. Usually, soap and water is enough to keep a stainless steel sink clean and performing as great as it did on the first day it was used.

Easiest to Keep Sanitary

Because stainless steel maintains such consistent surface, it is the easiest material to keep sanitary. Stainless steel is the standard material for many applications in the medical and hospitality fields where perfect sanitation is mandatory.

Non-Corrosive

Stainless steel has a “self-repairing” quality that makes it “immune” to corroding. The chromium layer on the outside reacts to oxygen to “coat” the surface and protect it from rusting or chemicals.

Call Western Stainless Solutions Today

To learn more about stainless steel in the hospitality, manufacturing, medical or mining industries, call us today: 1300 794 647.

How to Maintain Your Restaurant’s Stainless Steel Equipment for a Lifetime

We perform a lot of custom design stainless steel installation projects for restaurants in the Perth area. Stainless steel is noted for its anti-corrosive properties. This makes stainless steel the easiest to keep clean. That is why stainless steel is mandated for so many applications requiring high sanitation standards.

The Science of Stainless Steel

To understand how to maintain stainless steel, it is helpful to know what makes it stainless steel in the first place. There are various types of stainless steel; essentially, stainless steel is a steel alloy containing at least 12% chromium. The chromium interacts with the oxygen in the air to create a thin layer or film of oxide on the surface.

Maintain Restaurant Stainless Steel Equipment

The result is a material that is easily workable, durable, easy to clean and cost effective. As long as the surface is cleaned daily and in the right way, it will never rust or corrode. It is resistant to bacteria because the surface is not porous and doesn’t corrode, leaving bacteria and fungi no place to colonise. This is what makes stainless steel such a great surface for food contact.

But there is a downside. If the surface is not kept clean and free of scratches, it loses its anti-corrosive properties and can become just like any other surface. Anything that keeps the surface chromium from interacting with air can cause it to lose its protective layer.

In other words, stainless steel needs to be cleaned often. Unlike many materials, regular cleaning doesn’t degrade stainless steel in any way. There is no such thing as cleaning stainless steel “too often” because the chromium layer isn’t compromised by cleaning—as long as it’s done correctly. Here’s how to keep your stainless steel clean.

How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Equipment

The best way to clean stainless steel is with a wet cloth and a mild detergent. You can often clean it with nothing but water, but soap is often necessary. Just remember to keep the detergent or soap mild.

You will notice that many stainless steel products have a direction or grain to their finish. If they do, always wipe with the grain. If you wipe against the grain, especially with a pad, you can damage the finish. Never use any abrasive pad or cleaners on stainless steel.

If a cleanser isn’t enough, you can make a paste out of baking soda and water. This paste is non-abrasive but provides a bit more “leverage” for cleaning the surface. You can also use a cream cleanser, but make sure that it is not abrasive.

Always remember that time is of the essence if you have a spill. The faster you clean spills, the less chance there is of your surface being damaged or stained. If the food is acidic, it can damage the chromium layer, turning your stainless steel into an ordinary material. Another reason to address spills immediately is that you don’t want to give them time to dry onto the surface. The sooner you clean a spill, the easier it is to clean.

Believe it or not, fingerprints can be dangerous to stainless steel. The oil from fingerprints can cause tarnishing or etching to occur. This is especially true with finishes polished to a mirror finish. At the end of every day, a glass cleaner should be used to remove all fingerprints from any stainless steel surface.

After cleaning, be sure to dry the surface immediately. If your water is too hard, it can damage the surface. All you have to do is dry the surface and it’s “no worries.”

How Not to Clean Stainless Steel Equipment

Do not ever use chlorine in any form, including bleach, on stainless steel. It breaks down the chromium layer, removing all of the benefits of a stainless steel surface. Use ammonia instead.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, never use an abrasive pad such as steel wool or Brillo. You can use a pad or brush made of a soft material like nylon or soft plastic if you really need the extra scrubbing power.

Don’t use a stainless steel cleaner or polish unless the surface is already damaged. Then it acts as a protective coating.

Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

Get the Most Out of Your Stainless Steel

As one of the most prolific stainless steel manufacturers in Perth, we like to see our clients get the most out of their stainless steel products. We have built a great reputation for quality and service in Perth and regional WA and we want to see it stay that way. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that our clients get the most out of any custom design stainless steel installation.

Besides the obvious need to select the correct grade, here are some ways to get the most out of any stainless steel product.

Get the Most Out of Your Stainless Steel

Make Sure the Finish Matches the Desired Corrosion Resistance

The rule of thumb is that the more brightly polished the surface, the higher the resistance to corrosion. For example, 240 grit alumina abrasives are not enough to finish stainless steel in a coastal environment. Make sure your finish matches up to your location and usage.

Post Fabrication Treatments

When stainless steel is welded, it results in heat tint. These areas are more susceptible to corrosion. Make sure they have been treated to restore their full non-corrosive properties.

Segregate Carbon and Stainless Steel

If carbon steel and stainless steel are fabricated in the same workshop, dust from the carbon steel can contaminate the stainless steel. The carbon steel will rust, making it appear as though the stainless steel has rusted. If your stainless steel products are fabricated in a facility that also fabricates carbon steel, make sure they have taken appropriate measures.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Be sure to keep your stainless steel clean. Usually water is enough, but a mild soap can also be used.

Call Western Stainless Solutions Today

At Western Stainless Solutions, we fabricate stainless steel. We are experts at ensuring that every product comes out of our facility at the appropriate specifications for its usage. It’s always easier to make sure the product is fabricated correctly than it is to repair errors later. Call us today: 1300 794 647.

Stainless Steel and the Environment

We are proud that all of the stainless steel products we provide to the Perth area are much better for the environment than products made of most other materials. Here are a few of the ways stainless steel enriches the environment.

Stainless Steel Helps The Environment

Long Life and 100% Recyclable

Stainless steel products have a long shelf life: as long as three times that of most other materials. This alone is the reason stainless steel is the material of choice for so many applications. Stainless steel products can provide decades of services, as many WA business owners can attest.

However, all products eventually reach the end of their usage cycle. Usually, this is because a product “goes out of fashion” or becomes technologically redundant. In other words, stainless steel usually lasts longer than the need for any particular product.

When it does become obsolete, stainless steel is 100% recyclable. It contains steel, chromium, with some grades containing molybdenum and nickel. All of these materials are still in high demand.

Made of 60% Recycled Materials

On the average, stainless steel is made of 60% recycled materials. It breaks down to this:
40% new raw materials.
35% new scrap recycled from production.
25% old scrap, meaning recycled stainless steel products.

Environmental Uses for Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is also the most efficient material for many products that improve the environment.

Catalytic converters made of stainless steel are lighter and more efficient than ceramic converters. Diesel filters, made of stainless steel, can filter out 85% of soot particles and 95% of black smoke from diesel engines. They also have high temperature resistance, making them a more reliable option.

Stainless steel condensing boilers have a 100% efficiency rating, reducing the use of fossil fuels. Stainless steel can also be used in rooftop solar panels, providing renewable energy. Stainless steel is also used as recycling collectors by many cities because they are corrosion resistant.

Call Western Stainless Today

To learn more or to enquire about a custom design stainless steel installation, call us today: 1300 794 647.

Why Stainless Steel is so Popular in the Hospitality Industry

As one of the most prolific stainless steel suppliers in Perth, we have installed stainless steel equipment in a lot of restaurants, pubs, commercial kitchens and industrial kitchens. In the hospitality industry, stainless steel is the material of choice for many applications due to its cleanability, durability and appearance.

Restaurants are subject to extremely high sanitation standards. One mistake in sanitation can lead to many people becoming sick. Consequently, kitchen owners want a material that is easy to keep sanitary. Stainless steel is the best material for kitchen applications because it is non-porous.

Stainless Steel is so Popular in the Hospitality Industry

Properties of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is non-corrosive due to its chromium content. Thanks to a property that is called “passivity,” the surface of stainless steel is self-repairing. The addition of other materials such as nickel and molybdenum further enhances the non-corrosive nature of stainless steel.

Stainless steel is also a very smooth, non-porous surface. That makes it easy to clean because organic materials can’t gain a “foothold” on the surface. The fact that stainless steel is non-porous allows it to be more thoroughly cleaned than porous materials.

Stainless steel is more durable and can bear a heavier load than many metals. Because of this, a stainless steel countertop or bench weighs less than other materials of similar strength. Stainless steel is easily fabricated into bespoke solutions and the cost of maintenance, repair or replacement is lower than that of most other materials.

Some Uses for Stainless Steel in the Hospitality Industry

One can almost outfit an entire kitchen in stainless steel. Pots, pans, tables, benches, sinks, food holding equipment, refrigerators, walk-in coolers and utensils can all be made of stainless steel. For large food processing facilities, hoppers and pipes for transport can also be made of stainless steel.

Call Western Stainless Solutions Today

From small restaurants to giant food processing facilities, Western Stainless Solutions has the experience, expertise and resources to provide a custom solution that will provide you with years of service. Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

How Stainless Steel Products are Made

Did you ever wonder how stainless steel manufacturers turn stainless steel into the products that are so ubiquitous in Perth?

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy of steel and other metals. It contains at least 12% chromium, which provides its resistance to rust or staining. Nickel is added for most applications in the food and beverage industry. Stainless is used in the food and beverage industry because it is easy to clean and keep sanitary. It is also very durable and protects the flavour of food and beverages.

How Stainless Steel Products are Made

Austenitic stainless steel contains 6% or more of nickel and austenite, producing a face-centred cubic structure which promotes ductility and corrosion resistance. Ferrite stainless steel contains ferrite, which has a body-centred cubic structure. It is more resistant to stress corrosion but tougher to weld.

Duplex stainless steels are a combination of ferritic and austenitic. They provide superior resistance to cracking, crevice corrosion and pitting and provide twice the strength of most austenitic steels.

Raw Materials

Stainless steel is made of iron ore and chromium. Other materials that may or may not be added in various amounts: nickel, manganese, molybdenum, nitrogen and carbon. Each element contributes to a certain property. The final mixture is determined by the desired properties.

Making Stainless Steel

The raw materials are put into an electric furnace where they are melted by intense heat over a period of between eight and twelve hours. They are then cast into semi-finished shapes such as rectangular shapes called “blooms,” round or square shapes called “billets,” rods, slabs and tube rounds.

Forming

Next, the steel is heated and then passed through rolls in a procedure called “hot rolling.” Billets and blooms are formed into wire and bar, while slabs become strips, plates or sheets.

Heat Treatment

The next step is called “annealing,” where the steel undergoes heating and cooling under controlled conditions. This softens the metal and relieves internal stresses. Some of the metals are then subjected to age hardening, in which they are heat treated to become even stronger. This process has to be exact to obtain the desired result.

Lower temperatures in heat treatment cause more strength with less resistance to fractures. Higher temperatures produce a material that is tougher but not as strong. The temperature has to be within certain tolerances to produce stainless steel that is both strong and durable.

De-Scaling

The annealing process causes “scaling” to form on the steel. The scaling needs to be removed; the most common methods are pickling and electrocleaning. Pickling uses a bath of nitric-hydrofluoric acid. Electrocleaning uses a cathode in tandem with phosphoric acid.

Cutting

Cutting is the method by which the desired blank shape is obtained. It is also the method used for trimming a part to final size. Stainless steel can be cut mechanically by techniques such as straight shearing with guillotine knives. Another technique: circle shearing with circular knives. High-speed sawing can be done with steel blades.

Metal punches and dies can be used in a process called “blanking.” A variation of blanking called “nibbling” can be used for irregular shapes. Stainless steel can also be flame-cut using a flame-fired torch emitting oxygen and propane. Plasma jet cutting employs an electric arc in tandem with an ionised gas column.

Finishing

Finishing is important. If a dull finish is required, nothing further is needed after the descaling process. Polishing with grinding wheels or abrasive belts can produce the smooth finish that is required for sanitation applications. Cold rolling in tandem with annealing can also produce a smooth finish.

Fabrication

Stainless steel can be fabricated by a number of methods. To further shape stainless steel, methods such as press forming, roll forming, press drawing, forging and extrusion are used. Stainless steel can often undergo more annealing, cleaning and machining.

Resistance welding and fusion welding are the most common methods of joining stainless steel. In fusion welding, an electric arc is formed between an electrode and the metal that is being welded. Resistance welding employs both pressure and heat.

Call Us Today

We hope this guide was helpful. For your next custom stainless steel installation, call Western Stainless Solutions: 1300 794 647.

Care and Use of Stainless Steel in the Shop

We would like to tell you about some of the guidelines used by stainless steel manufacturers and fabricators in Perth and across Australia. We feel that giving you some insight into what goes into taking care of stainless steel on this end can help you maximise the use you get out of it on your end.

Care and Use of Stainless Steel in the Shop

Avoiding Contamination

The number one pitfall for would-be stainless steel manufacturers is contamination of stainless steel by other elements. We avoid this by having a facility where only stainless steel is fabricated. Dual use facilities where carbon steel is also fabricated can cause carbon steel particles to contaminate stainless steel. These particles rust, giving the illusion that your stainless steel is rusting. It is extremely important to avoid contamination.

Handling

Scratches and gouges due to inappropriate handling can cause the integrity of the passive oxide film which protects stainless steel from corrosion to be breached. Consequently, all stainless steel plates and sheets are stored and transported in a way that they don’t scratch each other. Plates and sheets are never laid directly on the floor. Pirate clamps are used with caution so that they don’t gouge the surface.

Cleaning

Until the processing is complete, stainless steel is covered with paper or another protective wrapping. Stainless steel is always handled with clean gloves or cloths to keep it from getting dirty. Greasy cloths or oily rags are avoided at all times. All exposed surfaces are to be cleaned regularly, usually with a mild soap. Then, they should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Do not use detergents that contain chlorine. Cleaning powders can scratch the surface; use them on polished surfaces only. Be sure to wipe in the same directions as the polish lines.

Remember not to use solvent cleaners in closed places or when you are smoking.

Western Stainless Solutions

To learn more about stainless steel products or for an estimate, call our Perth office today: 1300 794 647.

Stainless Steel and Salt Corrosion: Coastal Applications

Stainless steel suppliers in Perth now fabricate a lot of stainless steel products for coastal applications due to their ability to resist corrosion. This makes stainless steel a natural for many coastal applications. Today, we would like to explain how stainless steel resists corrosion and why it is so great for coastal applications.

Stainless Steel For Coastal Applications

How Stainless Steel Resists Salt Corrosion

Rust is a substance called iron oxide. It occurs when iron reacts to oxygen in the air or in water and oxidises. Stainless steel has at least 10.5% chromium and some grades up to 18%. The chromium produces a different reaction with the oxygen and produces a different oxide which becomes a surface layer.

The oxide produced by the chromium is resistant to further oxidation. It also turns into a thin passive layer on the surface. This layer is thin, but it reforms if it is scratched or machined and still provides protection to the stainless steel surface. If nickel is added as in grades 304 and 316, it extends the passivity of the surface layer.

When molybdenum is added as in grade 316, it improves the passivity even more and makes stainless steel more resistant to sulfuric, acetic and sulferous acids, in addition to salt such as that in seawater. If the correct grade of stainless steel is used, there will be no corrosion.

Applications

There are numerous possible applications for stainless steel in coastal environments. Grade 316 is one of those more commonly used for salt corrosion. The Discovery Centre in Portland, which is the oldest town in Victoria, was made entirely of stainless steel and glass. It serves as a museum and as an information centre. It is on the coast and is often buffeted by waves 2-3m high in storms. It has been open for eight years.

Also in Victoria, the Geelong Carousel Pavilion is another impressive stainless steel project. It has been open for six years and has withstood the weather in fine form.

Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

Stainless Steel 101: What You Need to Know

As prolific stainless steel manufacturers in Perth, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with some basic information on stainless steel. Without bogging anyone down with too much science, here are some basics.

What is Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a metal made of iron that has at least 10.5% chromium. Other metals can be added, such as manganese, molybdenum or nickel. The chromium and other metals give stainless steel its corrosion, heat and cold resistant properties.

What You Need To Know About Stainless Steel

Why Stainless Steel Doesn’t Rust

The chromium in stainless steel keeps it from rusting. It also has a low carbon content when compared to other alloys. The chromium combines with environmental oxygen to produce a thin film on the outside of any stainless steel product. No iron becomes oxidised, leaving no red rust.

The Popular Grades of Stainless Steel

There are more than 1,000 grades of stainless steel. Luckily for those making choices, there are five that are much more popular than the rest.

Grade 304 Stainless Steel

Grade 304 stainless steel is often called 18-8 because it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is the most popular stainless steel on the market. It cannot be hardened by heat treatment and is non-magnetic.

Grade 316 Stainless Steel

Grade 316 stainless steel is made of 16% chromium and 10% nickel. It is the second most popular grade. It also contains 2% molybdenum, providing it with high resistance to salt corrosion.

Grade 430 Stainless Steel

Grade 430 is a “straight” stainless steel, containing 16% chromium. Grade 430 is magnetic but can’t be hardened by heat treatment. It is less resistant to corrosion than the 300 series.

Grade 410 Stainless Steel

Grade 410 is also a “straight” stainless steel and contains 11.5% chromium. It can be hardened by heat treatment and is magnetic. It has less corrosion resistance than grade 430.

Grade 409 Stainless Steel

Grade 409 is another straight stainless steel with 10.5% chromium, the lowest level that can be called stainless steel.