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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.

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.

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.