Our company offers serial and small-scale production of stainless steel parts made strictly according to your drawing. We provide turning and milling services of any complexity, using modern, high-precision CNC machines.
Stainless steel is a hard and viscous material. In terms of processing complexity, it is about three times superior to softer metals, like aluminum. This means that in order to make a part from stainless steel , the machine must make three times as many passes. And the tool, which performs processing, wears out faster. But this is not a problem for us.
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Keep in mind that the cost of stainless steel is usually higher in comparison with ordinary steel or aluminum. Therefore, stainless steel should be used only in cases where it is economically justified e.g. for the parts that are to be exposed to aggressive environments.
The types of stainless steel we work with
Our team is ready to work with all types of metals as we have all the necessary machine tools and a great experience with processing the orders even from the rarest alloys. However, most often we process such types of stainless steel:
- AISI 304 – is used in the food industry and has high corrosion resistance.
- AISI 316 – increases its corrosion resistance by adding molybdenum to the alloy. Parts for the oil refining industry were manufactured from this alloy at our company.
- AISI 430 – is a ferritic low-carbon steel with the addition of chromium. We made parts for equipment used in the oil and gas industry using this type of stainless steel.
- Duplex stainless steels – is the most corrosion-resistant, and high-priced type of stainless steel. Parts for the chemical industry were manufactured by our company in this type of alloy.
What to keep in mind when designing stainless steel parts
Most of the equipment for the food and processing industries is made of stainless steel. This is really excellent material, both visually and from an engineering point of view. For a long time it is being used in the manufacturing of refrigerators, dishwashers, deep fryers, etc. Among the main benefits of this material are high corrosion resistance, durability and compliance with hygienic requirements. However, engineers who use it also can face unique challenges. We will tell you about them.
Corrosion resistance strongly depends on the type of stainless steel
303 stainless steel is best at handling and gives a significant price benefit due to the fact that its processing is less time-consuming and it affects the wearing of tools a bit less than other materials.
Most branches of the food industry use steel 301 and 304 series. These are the most common types of stainless steel. Due to high demand, their prices are constantly fluctuating. During the year alone, the cost can rise or fall up to 25%. This is caused by fluctuations in world prices for nickel, which is one of the main components of stainless steel alloys.
Taking to attention the current global pandemic, this process seems to be completely unpredictable. Therefore, when designing stainless steel parts, it is recommended to anticipate the possibility of a hike in the prices of raw materials. It is necessary to calculate the possibility of switching to stainless steel of another type, and better do it beforehand.
Take into account the class of corrosion resistance and other qualities of the metal. And also, speaking about the price of the material, it is always better to pay attention to the actual purposes of the purchase. For example, if the parts are going to be used only for decoration, then there is no point in using the material from the high price segment, better to use a less expensive one.
Problems of connecting the parts
Stainless steel welding is a complex process. And when it comes to a combination of parts made of different types of stainless steel, a number of certain issues tend to appear. It is quite difficult to weld any part with another and preserve its original properties. Only highly qualified workers need to be involved. Otherwise, you may choose to use more expensive technology, such as robotic laser welding. The biggest problem here is to provide sufficient resistance to corrosion of the weld. Therefore, it is better to include other types of connections to the project at its development stage. A threaded connection is most often used with stainless steel. Please note that the polished surface of stainless steel, despite making it beautiful and durable, significantly complicates the process of connecting with other parts. That is why most of the manufacturers of equipment for the food industry deliberately design some elements that should provide access to internal mechanisms, and prefer ordinary carbon steel to stainless steel.
Possibility of replacement by other materials
It is not an easy task to find a material that would not be inferior to stainless steel in terms of aesthetic qualities, strength and corrosion resistance. Carmakers usually use carbon fiber, while manufacturers of equipment for restaurants – alloys of non-ferrous metals. We recommend you to consider making parts from less expensive grades of steel or aluminum, together with the subsequent anodizing.