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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.

Stainless Steel: The Best Material for Our Environment?

As a WA stainless steel product manufacturer, Western Stainless Solutions is proud of many things about stainless steel. One of the factors that makes us the most proud: stainless steel has less environmental impact than other metals.

To help ensure that we have a high quality of life in Australia, materials that we use for building should meet technical performance standards, be usable in a high number of applications, have a long shelf life and be friendly to the environment. In other words, the products should not only last a long time, but be 100% recyclable when their product life is finished. Stainless steel passes every test.

Best Material For The Environment - Stainless Steel

Desirable Characteristics of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has natural corrosion resistance because it is made partially of chromium. In addition, it is nearly twice as strong as mild steel. It has high cleanability, making it the surface of choice in situations where hygiene standards are strict, such as the medical or food and beverage industries.

Stainless steel is resistant to both heat and cold, making it perfect for use in low or high temperatures. Despite this strength and resistance, it is easily fabricated into the products you need. Stainless steel also has an aesthetic appeal that is unmatched by other materials and can be enhanced even further by brushing, polishing and texturing.

Stainless Steel: Even More Versatile than You Think

Stainless steel has many uses. In the home, you may see it in appliance trim, sinks and cookware. There are many industrial uses, the most common being chemical process and food preparation equipment. Entrance ways, building roofs, kitchen exhaust hoods and medical instruments are also made of stainless steel.

Stainless steel is also an important part of anti-pollution devices such as automobile catalytic converters and is also used to produce filters in the utility industry that “scrub” exhaust gases from stacks.

Call Western Stainless Solutions

For your next custom design stainless steel installation, call Western Stainless Solutions: 1300 794 647.

Austenitic vs Ferritic Stainless Steel: Their Preferred Uses

One of the major considerations of any stainless steel installation project that we perform in the Perth area is the kind of material being used. Austenitic is the most popular type of stainless steel in most applications, while ferritic is more popular in restaurants. We would like to explain the differences between austenitic and ferritic stainless steel and some of their preferred uses.

Preferred Uses Of Austenitic and Ferritic Stainless Steel

Austenitic Stainless Steel

Austenitic stainless steel is strengthened by cold work but not by heat treatment. It contains not only chromium, but nickel and sometimes manganese. Austenitic stainless steel exhibits great tensile strength, ductility and toughness, even at cryogenic temperatures. Austenitic is also the most easily-weldable of any classification of stainless steel.

As mentioned above, due to its combination of strength and workability, austenitic is very popular for both consumer and industrial applications. If you have a chemical plant, a food processing facility, a water plant or a dairy processing facility, you will probably use an austenitic grade stainless steel for most of your equipment.

Ferritic Stainless Steel

Ferritic stainless steel usually contains at least 12% chromium and is considered a “straight chromium” stainless steel. Ferritic grades have high ductility and are easily formed, but they do not retain their strength at high temperatures like austenitic stainless steel. However, ferritic stainless steel is great for restaurant and medical counters, tables and sinks.

There are two great advantages to ferritic stainless steel. It has a lower cost than other grades and it is very cleanable due to its high chromium content. This makes ferritic grade stainless steel a natural for uses in which high sanitation standards apply.

Call Western Stainless Solutions

For your next custom design stainless steel installation project, call Western Stainless Solutions. We provide bespoke stainless steel products for Perth, WA and across Australia. We have completed numerous successful projects from small restaurants to major hospitals and manufacturing facilities.

To learn more, call Western Stainless Solutions today: 1300 794 647.

Guidelines for Selecting Stainless Steel

As the foremost stainless steel manufacturer in Perth, we would like to provide a short guide to make it easier when selecting stainless steel grades. Stainless steel is the engineering material of choice for many applications because it is strong, easy to fabricate and resistant to corrosion. Here are the four basic guidelines that are used when selecting stainless steel.

Guidelines for Selecting Stainless Steel

Corrosion or Heat Resistance

These are the most important considerations. They are the main reasons to use stainless steel over other materials in an industrial setting. It is crucial to know the environment in which the material will be used; this will help the stainless steel manufacturer know the degree of corrosion resistance and heat resistance that is needed.

Mechanical Properties

The most important property is strength, taken at room temperature, extreme heat and extreme cold. The combination of strength and corrosion resistance is usually the main criterion for selection.

Fabrication Operations

The next consideration is how the product is made or fabricated. This starts with forging and proceeds to machining, then to forming and welding. These all factor into the fourth consideration.

Cost

Many factors go into the cost of any stainless steel product. The grade of stainless steel used and the cost of production are main considerations. Other considerations include the longer life cycle and lower maintenance costs of stainless steel over other materials. All of these are factored together and weighed against other products that may have a lower initial cost but as little as a third of the life expectancy.

Why so Many Choices?

Any iron based alloy with more than 10.5% chromium is considered “stainless steel.” Austenitic 300 series stainless steel also contains nickel, while the 200 series contains nickel and manganese.

Ferritic 400 series stainless steel is a “straight chromium” stainless steel. Martensitic stainless steel is also a straight chromium alloy. Precipitation hardening stainless steel contains chromium and nickel. Duplex stainless steel contains austenite and ferrite in approximately equal parts.

Call Western Stainless Solutions today for more information: 1300 794 647.

How to Tackle Tea Staining on Stainless Steel

For every stainless steel installation we complete in the Perth area, we conduct thorough follow-up. That follow-up not only ensures that our customers are 100% satisfied, but it also allows us the opportunity to further refine our service and our products.

One of the topics that comes up on later follow throughs is tea staining. Many of our customers don’t know the expression, so we thought it would be productive to explain tea staining here and how to neutralise it.

Tackle Tea Staining on Stainless Steel

What it Tea Staining?

Tea staining is a brown surface stain on stainless steel. It is actually rust; it is usually caused by salt air or similar atmospheric conditions. The good news is that a tea stain isn’t actually a stain and doesn’t affect the structural integrity of your stainless steel surface.

Cleaning Tea Staining

Stainless steel keeps best when it is cleaned with soap, water or mild cleaners. To combat tea staining, start with a bleach-free, chalk-based cream cleanser. Put it on a damp, soft cloth and clean gently. This should be enough. If it isn’t, though, the next step is a commercial stainless steel cleaner.

Always handle commercial stainless steel cleansers with care because they are often formulated with dangerous chemicals such as sulfamic, oxalic or phosphoric acids. After using any of these on a surface, it is important to rebalance the ph of the stainless steel with a sodium bicarbonate or 1% ammonia solution. Then, simply rinse the surface with clean water and gently wipe it dry.

If this doesn’t do the job, you can use a synthetic pad to rub the stain out. Always rub in the direction of the grain because pads are abrasive and can remove microscopic particles. This will change the dynamics and characteristics of your surface.

Call Western Stainless Solutions

If your restaurant, medical facility, mining facility or shop needs some stainless steel equipment, call the professionals at Western Stainless Solutions today: 1300 794 647.

Why Stainless Steel is the Preferred Material for So Many Applications

We have undertaken a lot of custom design stainless steel installation projects in the Perth area. Stainless steel is extremely popular in the hospitality, medical, sanitation, mining, mechanical and commercial sectors. We would like to tell you why.

Why Stainless Steel is the Preferred Material for So Many Applications

High Corrosion Resistance

Stainless steel provides high corrosion resistance in many different applications. A lower alloyed grade can be used for pure water and atmospheric environments, while a high alloyed grade is perfect for alkaline solutions, acids and chlorine bearing environments. This makes it the material of choice in most process plants.

Fire and Heat Resistance

High chromium and nickel-alloyed stainless steel grades retain their strength and resist scaling at high temperatures.

Hygiene

Stainless steel is the easiest metal to clean. This makes it the preferred material for all applications requiring strict hygiene, such as kitchens, hospitals and food processing plants.

Appearance

Stainless steel is bright and easy to keep that way. It can lend an attractive and modern look in numerous situations.

High Strength to Weight Ratio

Because austenitic grades have a work-hardening property that allows them to be strengthened through cold-working, they provide a great strength to weight ratio. Duplex grades allow you to reduce the material thickness in many applications without losing any strength. The end result: it saves money.

Easily Fabricated

As stainless steel fabricators in Perth know, stainless steel is easily fabricated. It can be formed, cut, welded and machined as easily as standard steel.

Long Term Value

Because stainless steel is so durable and resistant to corrosion, it lasts longer than other materials used for similar tasks. This provides long term value.

Call Western Stainless Solutions

At Western Stainless, we provide solutions for businesses such as small pubs all the way up to major hospitals and manufacturing facilities. We will manufacture, supply and install bespoke stainless steel solutions for any need. From hospitality to hospitals and mining to manufacturing, we have your solution. Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

How to Take Care of Stainless Steel

As a custom stainless steel manufacturer in Perth, we like to see our clients happy. The way that happens is if the stainless steel products we supply for them go on to provide years of great service for them. For outdoor applications, that means being able to withstand the Perth climate due to its corrosion resistance. For medical or hospitality industry, it means providing a surface that helps them adhere to enhanced sanitation standards.

When caring for stainless steel, corrosion resistance and cleanliness go hand in hand. Corrosion resistance makes it easy to keep stainless steel clean, and keeping it clean helps to preserve its corrosion resistance characteristics. We would like to provide a basic guide for the care and cleaning of stainless steel. One of the main advantages stainless steel has over many manufacturing materials is that stainless steel products have a long shelf life. We want to do everything we can to help you do that.

How To Take Care Of Stainless Steel

Cleaning Stainless Steel: the Oxide Layer

Stainless steel needs to be cleaned properly to help preserve its sanitation, its aesthetics and its corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is an alloy which contains at least 10.5% chromium. The chromium on the surface of stainless steel reacts with environmental oxygen to form a layer of chromium oxide. This is a passive layer that protects stainless steel from other oxidative elements and stresses.

If this layer is contaminated by dirt or any material, the contamination interferes with what is known as the passivation process. Corrosive agents are trapped and the corrosion protection can be reduced or compromised. To preserve and protect the integrity and appearance of the surface, frequent cleaning on a regular basis is necessary.

Stainless steel can be cleaned many different ways and actually performs better when cleaned often. It is impossible to “wear out” the outer protective layer of stainless steel through frequent cleaning as long as it is done correctly. The main factors to be considered are the grain/pattern orientation, surface/pattern roughness and for exterior use, maximum rain cleaning.

Cleaners and Methods for Stainless Steel

The most important factor: you must always consider the potential for abrasive substances, even “grit” in cleaning water, to damage stainless steel. Cleaners that aren’t properly removed can cause corrosion after cleaning. If your finish is dull or has been finished with a coarse polishing grit, you have more “leeway.”

The best procedure, no matter how much leeway you have, is to avoid using any abrasive cleaners. If you are going to use an abrasive cleaner, experiment with a “soft abrasive” in an inconspicuous area. If cleaning a special finish, seek advice from your supplier. Abrasive cleaners can also pose a risk if they are not thoroughly rinsed away from the surface.

Clean Water and Wipe

The simplest solution is the most recommended solution. Many stainless steel surfaces clean fine with clean water and a soft cloth. This can be effective for mild stains, loose soil and dirt. Then, simply rinse it with more water and wipe dry.

Cleaning Solvents

You can use an organic solvent to remove greases, oils and fingerprints that haven’t had enough time to decompose or oxidise. Mineral spirits, methyl alcohol, acetone or any of many commercially available solvent cleaners that don’t contain chlorine are appropriate. Smaller stainless steel objects can be immersed in a solution of the appropriate solvent and wiped with a cloth. The main caveat here is that solvents can cause streaking.

Household Cleaners

There are two different types of household cleaners: abrasive and non-abrasive. We recommend mild detergents that contain no chlorine. Abrasive household cleaners can cause scratching.

Commercial Cleaners

Commercial cleaners are better suited for heavy-duty cleaning. Always adhere to manufacturer’s recommendations when using commercial cleaners to ensure that you don’t damage the surface.

Western Stainless Solutions

We have provided custom design stainless steel products and installation from our Perth area facility for over thirty years. From small pubs to major hospitals, we provide bespoke stainless steel solutions for a variety of applications.

Call 1300 794 647 today to learn more.

Grade 304 Stainless Steel: Uses in the Medical Industry

As a WA stainless steel product manufacturer, we have provided custom design stainless steel installation for a number of industries. These include: mining, hospitality, commercial and mechanical applications. However, many of the most common applications of stainless steel are in the medical industry.

Uses Of Stainless Steel In The Medical Industry

Why Stainless Steel?

The medical industry has the most stringent standards of sanitation in design and execution. Due to the prevalence of medical malpractice lawsuits, anything that comes into contact with patients in any way or that is surgically implanted into their bodies must be 100% sanitary and must work perfectly 100% of the time.

Stainless steel is the best material for a host of medical applications because of its versatility and the difficulty that microorganisms have colonising on its surface. Consequently, stainless steel is ubiquitous in the manufacture of medical devices. Grade 304 stainless steel is the grade most commonly used.

Characteristics of Grade 304 Stainless Steel in Medical Devices

Grade 304 stainless steel has a low carbon content and high corrosion resistance. It doesn’t react chemically to sanitation or sterilisation products, human bodily tissue or repetitive wear and tear. This makes it ideal for paramedics, hospitals and surgery.

Grade 304 is strong and durable but also highly workable. This makes it a great material for sinks, pans, bowls, hollow ware and other medical vessels. Due to its low yield strength and high potential for elongation, grade 304 stainless steel is easily formed into complex shapes without going through the process of annealing.

Uses for Grade 304 Stainless Steel

Uses for grade 304 stainless steel include: orthopaedic implants, precision stainless steel tubing, bone fixation, artificial heart valves, containers for chemicals and other hazardous materials, tools, wires, curettes, plates, prostheses, screws, syringes, needles, catheters and sensor probes. Office uses include sinks, tables, bowls, knives and trays.

Western Stainless Solutions

At Western Stainless Solutions, we can manufacture bespoke solutions for all of your medical needs. Call us today for a consultation: 1300 794 647.

How to Maintain Stainless Steel in Your Kitchen, Bar or Restaurant

One of our specialties is custom design stainless steel installation. Though we also provide solutions for the medical, mining and commercial building industries, we have provided a lot of Perth area restaurants, bars and pubs with state of the art, custom stainless steel equipment.

One of the best ways to keep your stainless steel as good as new and help it provide years of service is to maintain it properly. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

How to Maintain Stainless Steel in Your Kitchen, Bar or Restaurant

Why Stainless Steel for Restaurants?

Stainless steel is the material of choice for restaurants because of its corrosion resistance and its high “cleanability.” Stainless steel is an alloy that has a thin layer of chromium on the outer surface. When the chromium surface reacts with air, it produces a surface that is very slick and highly resistant to most forms of corrosion.

If maintained properly, stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that is easy to clean for years. However, if it is exposed to oil, dirt, scratches or anything that interferes with the interaction between the chromium and the air, its corrosion resistance can be greatly compromised.

How to Clean Stainless Steel

The good news about stainless steel: if you clean it properly, the chromium layer on stainless steel never erodes or wears away.

To clean a stainless steel surface, use a wet cloth with a mild detergent. Often, a damp bar towel will clean a stainless steel surface just fine, but a mild detergent added to water is good if needed. If your stainless steel has a “grain” or a brushed finish, always wipe in the direction of the finish. This will keep you from damaging the finish.

Some Other Important Tips:

Avoid abrasive cleaners; use baking soda for tough stains or baked on food. Clean spills ASAP. Rinse the surface immediately after cleaning, then dry immediately. Don’t ever use chlorine.

Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

Grade 431 Stainless Steel and Its Uses

As stainless steel suppliers and fabricators in Perth, we have become experts on all things stainless steel. There are different grades of stainless steel for different uses. They all have different characteristics that make them unique. Here are some facts about Grade 431 stainless steel.

Uses of Grade 431 Stainless Steel

Grade 431 is a martensitic stainless steel. That means it can be hardened thermally. Grade 431 is less well-known than other grades, but is used in motors as shafts and fasteners. It is also used in the food processing industry for pumps and valves. It can be heated and cooled quickly by quenching, resulting in a hardness resembling that of a low alloy steel such as 4140. None of the austenitic grades can be hardened in this way.

Consequently, grade 431 stainless steel is one of the more versatile materials on the market. It combines high toughness and strength with above average corrosion resistance. Before hardening, it can be easily machined.

Composition

The main features of grade 431 are the inclusion of nickel and a high chromium content. The nickel makes grade 431 austenitic at high temperatures by countering the high chromium content. This allows it to be turned into a hard martensite when quenched.

Corrosion Resistance

The high chromium content makes grade 431 nearly as resistant to crevice, pitting and general corrosion as grade 304. This makes it ideal for use in the food and beverage industry. Of all the martensitic grades of stainless steel, grade 431 has the highest corrosion resistance. Corrosion resistance is at its greatest when grade 431 is hardened, tempered and has a smooth finish.

Grade 431 can be used with great success for boats in fresh water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well with seawater because of the salt content.

Heat Resistance

Grade 431 can withstand temperatures up to 700 °C, but are often permanently softened if they are exposed to temperatures more than 600 °C.

To learn more, call us today: 1300 794 647.