25 October 2022
Stainless steel is entirely recyclable, with a recovery rate of almost 100 percent. It is environmentally neutral and inert and offers high longevity rates, ensuring that it meets the requirements for sustainable construction. It is also highly durable, versatile, hygienic, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to maintain. Due to these qualities, stainless steel is widely used across different industries through a process called fabrication.
This process is used to produce pre-made parts from raw or stock stainless steel sheets. Different fabrication methods can be used for stainless steel across the various industries that rely on this process. However, it usually involves one or some operations such as cutting, welding, punching, machining, and forming. This may also require several techniques, such as stamping, casting, rolling, bending, and more.
The History of Fabrication
Stainless steel fabrication has been around for centuries. The first recorded use of stainless steel was in the early 1800s when English metallurgist Harry Brearly discovered that adding chromium to iron-based alloys made them more resistant to corrosion. In the years that followed, other metallurgists began experimenting with different alloying elements like nickel and molybdenum. These experiments led to the development of austenitic stainless steels, which are still widely used in fabricating today.
Raw Materials Used for Fabrication
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, and carbon. The carbon is reduced to a minimum, ensuring it doesn’t impact the corrosion resistance of the steel. Other elements are added to stainless steel to improve other properties such as formability, strength, and weldability.
This element is the primary raw material used in stainless steel. Iron ore is mined from the earth and contains a variety of impurities, including silicon, aluminum, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur. The process of removing these impurities from the iron ore is called beneficiation.
Chromium is added to stainless steel to increase its corrosion resistance. Chromium reacts with oxygen, forming a thin oxide layer on the steel’s surface, preventing further oxidation.
Carbon is added to stainless steel to improve its strength and hardness. However, too much carbon can negatively impact the corrosion resistance of the steel. As a result, carbon is typically kept to a minimum in stainless steel.
Other elements used in fabrication include nickel, molybdenum, titanium, and copper. These can be added to stainless steel to improve specific properties such as its formability, strength, and weldability.
The grade of stainless steel depends on the percentages of the different components used in producing it. The common stainless steel grades are grade 304, 316, or 420.
Types of Fabrication
Thanks to technological advancement, we have been able to create different types of stainless steel fabrication. The three main fabrication methods are cold working, hot working, and welding. Cold working involves using tools like hammers and chisels to shape the metal at room temperature. Hot working involves shaping the metal while it’s heated to high temperatures. Welding joins two pieces of metal together using heat and pressure.
Benefits of Fabrication
We as a stainless steel manufacturer claim that using stainless steel for fabrication provides an ideal solution for their manufacturing needs. This is because there are many benefits to using stainless steel for fabrication, including but not limited to the following:
- Corrosion resistance
- Strength and durability
- Low maintenance
Resistance to Corrosion
A crucial benefit of stainless steel is its corrosion resistance, making it ideal for projects exposed to harsh elements like salt water or chemicals. Stainless steel is also resistant to staining, so it will continue to look good for years to come.
Strength and Durability
In addition to being resistant to corrosion, stainless steel is incredibly strong and durable. This makes it an ideal choice for projects that require a high level of strength and durability, such as food service equipment or medical instruments.
Another benefit of stainless steel is that it is low maintenance. This means that once your fabrication project is complete, you won’t have to worry about spending much time and money on upkeep. Additionally, stainless steel is easy to clean and sterilize, making it ideal for food processing and medical applications.
Stainless steel is also one of the most versatile materials available for fabrication. It can be easily formed into nearly any shape imaginable, so it’s perfect for projects that require a high degree of customization. Additionally, stainless steel can be finished in various ways to achieve the desired look and feel.
How Do Fabricators Make Stainless Steel?
The process of making stainless steel involves several steps. First, we decide on the type of stainless steel they wish to make. The percentage of various elements present in the stainless steel determines the grade that will be produced. The ratio of present elements may vary since the degree of purity of the individual ingredients might differ. Once the raw materials have been gathered, the next steps in stainless steel production can proceed.
Do you need reliable stainless steel fabrication services? BETCO Product Inc. is a supplier of quality fabricated metal components and assemblies to consider. By incorporating state-of-the-art in-house automated equipment, we can ensure that the stainless steel components are made to the customer’s specifications. Contact us to learn more about our services.