Stainless Steel Balustrade

Stainless steel is used extensively all around the world. It has the same strength as regular steel but with the advantage of being corrosion resistant, and certainly more attractive than common steel. On the downside, it is considerably more expensive than regular steel, particularly if it’s been used a very large quantities. For this reason, it is essential to find a reputable stainless steel engineering firm to hand medium to large projects.

When it comes to stainless steel engineering, you don’t only want experienced engineers working on your project either. You also want to work with a company that is able to guarantee the quality of the materials they use, keeping in mind that not all stainless steel is the same when it comes to quality. While different grades of stainless steel are deliberately produced in order to meet varying demands, some of it is simply poor quality. Using cheap stainless steel might save you money in the short term not in the long run it is going to cost you more because it will need to be replaced, and replacing it will also entail labor costs.

Understanding the Grades

Most of us use stainless steel item on a daily basis, even if it is only our knives and forks, and perhaps a few pots. For the average homeowner, stainless steel does usually represent a large cash outlay, but when it comes to stainless steel engineering applications, it is a very different matter. As a general rule, it is regarded as a “special material” and typically only used if and when necessary. Not only is stainless steel considerably more costly, but it is also far more difficult to machine when compared to regular carbon steels or aluminium.

Manufacturers produce different grades for different purposes, and newcomers to the stainless steel engineering industry can quickly become confused with regards to the various grades of stainless steel. For example, some stainless steel might contain 11% chromium, while other stainless steel can contain more than 20%. Generally speaking, there are six grades of stainless steel, each with their own set of pros and cons.

Austentic Stainless Steel (SAE 300 & SAE 200)

SAE 300 (chromium nickel) and SAE 200 (manganese nickel) are by far the two most commonly used grades, and both are extensively used for making cookware; cutlery, and a wide range of medical items. They are also used for other manufacturing seamless tubing intended for the food and beverage industry due to their remarkable corrosion resistance properties which is achieved by a 16% chromium content, along with a small amount of nickel or manganese.

Ferritic Stainless Steel

This grade of stainless steel contains between 10.5% and 27% chromium, and hardly any nickel at all although a range of alloys can be added in order to achieve certain goals. One example would be that unlike most stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel is magnetic. It also has much better ductility than the stainless steel mentioned above, but it is more difficult to weld, and somewhat less resistant to corrosion, two important factors which need to be taken into consideration by stainless steel engineering firms when designing any particular structures. As with the above grades, ferritic stainless steel is widely used for manufacturing cutlery and cookware, but at the lower end of the price range.

Martensitic Stainless Steel

With chromium content of 12 to 14 percent, martensitic stainless steel offer less corrosion resistance than the two grades mentioned above, but machining it is considerably easier. I can also be hardened, which in turn has made it the stainless steel of choice for cutlery; knives and a range of tools. It is also typically the material used for making razor blades and blades used in food processors, although this is not always the case.

Precipitation-Hardening Martensitic Stainless Steel

This is the “go to” material for stainless steel engineering firms tasked with designing and/or manufacturing various components used in the paper industry, and things like turbine blades used in the aerospace industry. Its biggest draw is superior strength and corrosion resistance when compared to regular martensitic stainless steel.

Duplex Stainless Steel

Duplex stainless steel is used extensively in the marine and petrochemical industries as well as in the pulp and paper industry and the chemical industry. It is largely valued by stainless steel engineering companies for it enhanced strength and cheaper cost when compared to many other grades of stainless steel. Additionally, duplex stainless steel is also notably more resistant to stress-corrosion cracking; crevice corrosion and pitting when compared to some other grades.

The Future of Stainless Steel Engineering

Stainless steel is used in one form or another in virtually every industry, from surgical implants to aircraft turbines, so it comes as little surprise that new grades are continuously being developed and tested for their suitability. This ongoing development process inevitably means that stainless steel engineering companies are under constant pressure to revise their own strategies and techniques, beginning with the design phase of projects, and continuing all the way through the production stage.

According to statistics, current global production of stainless steel exceeds 25 million tons, and this figure is set to rise dramatically in the coming years. As with many commodities that enjoy such a big demand, the quality of stainless steel can vary significantly from one manufacturer to the next. For the reason, MJS Engineering only use the highest quality British made stainless steel, regardless of how big or how small a project might be. In addition to using only the best material, we also take great pride in the fact that we employ some of the country’s most experienced and most skilled engineers.

When it comes to stainless steel engineering, taking shortcuts or cutting corners can prove to be an extremely costly mistake, and one which can have a devastating impact, not only on the clients we serve, but also on our own rock solid reputation here at MJS Engineering.

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