Stainless steel is a remarkable product of engineering and technology that is widely used today in many modern households and industrial manufacturing plants. Known for its non-corrosive, non-magnetic, high ductility properties, lightness and flexibility, this steel alloy is recognised for applications in medical technology, kitchenware, food and automotive industries.
Due to its pivotal role in various fields, stainless steel is necessary to maintain optimum product performance. It is important to consider the implications of your choice of grade specific to the application, and the implications of your maintenance activities in achieving great performance from your stainless steel fittings and other stainless components.
How the wrong grade of stainless steel affects performance
Europress agrees that there is a grade appropriate for a particular use. For example, grade 420 is used in kitchen utensils; 316 is best for equipment exposed to corrosive materials; and 304 is ideal for machinery or pipework. Other grades from the least corrosion-resistant to the highly corrosion-resistant types include 430, 304, 1.4539 (austenitic), 1.4462 (duplex), and 6% types (austenitic).
The grades indicate whether the stainless steel would fit the application’s requirement to resist corrosion. Otherwise, the equipment will be prone to crevice and pitting corrosion, stress cracking and intergranular corrosion.
How to maintain stainless steel fittings and achieve optimum performance
Problems such as discolouration, staining or surface contamination are not welcome, most especially in industries that require the highest possible level of sanitation, such as food and pharmaceutical.
Steam, scrubbing, detergent application or alkaline solutions can be used to clean stainless steel materials. Other stronger cleaning agents and finishing methods, such as hypochlorites, tetravalent ammonium salts, nitric acid and passivation can also be used with caution.
As stainless steel technology continues to improve to suit more applications and serve more industries, it is important to choose the grade that is appropriate for its specific use. Achieving optimum industrial performance depends on this, as well as on doing your maintenance duties.