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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.

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.

How to Select the Right Stainless Steel

At Western Stainless Solutions, we provide a wide range of stainless steel products for many different industries in WA. One of the most common questions we get is “How do I choose the right stainless steel for my needs?

There are a series of factors that can help decide what stainless steel to use. Here are a few of them.

How to Select the Right Stainless Steel

Corrosive Environment

The presence of water, acid, chloride and other chemicals affecting the environment in which the stainless steel will be used are important because they determine how corrosive that environment will be.

Temperature

High temperatures require a higher grade steel that can withstand the heat, while very low temperatures require an austenitic steel that can withstand the cold.

Strength

PH, martensitic, duplex and austenitic steel can provide strength, but aren’t always appropriate when welding and/or forming are going to be part of the process. See below…

Kind of Welding

PH and Martensitic grades usually won’t work for welding. Duplex steels are considered by many to be fully weldable. Austenitic is considered by many to be the most weldable steel.

Forming

Austenitic is considered to be the steel that is most “formable.” Ferritic steels are appropriate in some cases. However, PH, martensitic and duplex grades aren’t recommended for applications in which forming is necessary.

Bar, Tube or Sheet Form?

Some of the grades aren’t available in all sizes or forms. Austenitic is available in the largest range of options, while ferritic and martensitic aren’t.

What are Your Performance Expectations

Do you want durability? Aesthetics? What does the structure dictate?

Surface Finish

Steel is important, but in applications where aesthetics are important, surface finish can often override other factors.

Availability and Cost

Cost and availability are important. These are self-explanatory.

Call Us

At Western Stainless Solutions, we have a wealth of experience in helping choose the appropriate stainless steel for numerous different applications. Give us your project details and we can provide recommendations based on your specifications and requirements. We have access to virtually every grade of stainless steel in the industry. We know what is appropriate for most jobs.

We always provide full justification and reasoning for every choice. In addition, the ultimate choice is yours. If you have questions or want more information, call 1300 794 647 today.