Possible Alternatives to Grade 304 Stainless

Grade 304 Stainless Steel is the most widely used grade of stainless, and is a favorite of stainless steel fabricators due to its heat and corrosion resistant properties, weld-ability and machinability. This grade is a favorite of architects, transportation specialists, and industrial personnel, but there are still viable opportunities that may be preferred for some applications.

Here are some of the main possible alternative grades of stainless steel:

  1. 301L: This is a higher work hardening rate grade, and is a must for certain roll formed and stretch formed components of stainless steel. This steel is preferred to Grade 304 steel under these conditions.
  2. 302HQ: Unlike the previous metal, this grade is has a lower work hardening rate than Grade 304. This is needed for cold forging of bolts, screws, and rivets.
  3. 303: Grade 303 has higher machinability than Grade 304 stainless, and has lower corrosion resistance, formability, and weld-ability. These weaknesses are acceptable in applications where machinability is necessary.
  4. 316: This metal has a higher resistance to crevice corrosion and pitting, and is needed in chloride environments.
  5. 321: This stainless has better resistance to temperatures between 600 and 900 degrees Celsius, and has higher hot strength than grade 304 stainless steel.
  6. 3CR12: This stainless is preferred when lower cost stainless steel sheet metal is required. It should be noted that this steel has reduced corrosion resistance, and discoloration may occur.
  7. 430: This is another low-cost alternative, and has lower corrosion resistance and fabrication characteristics than Grade 304 stainless steel sheets.

Stainless Steel 304

Grade 304 stainless steel is the standard “18/8” stainless, and is the most widely used and versatile grade of stainless steel available. This grade is widely available in the broadest range of products, finishes, and forms than any other grade, and has very good welding and forming characteristics.

This grade is dominant in the manufacture of drawn stainless steel part and products, like hollow-ware, saucepans, and sinks, and is easier for stainless steel fabricators to work with. It can be readily break or roll formed into many different components for applications in transportation, architectural, and industrial fields.

Consumers can also order Grade 304L stainless steel sheet metal, which is the low carbon version of 304, and does not require post-weld annealing. This is extensively used in heavy gauge components that are over 6 mm. Grade 304H is higher in carbon content, and can find applications at higher temperatures. This particular grade has superior toughness to other grades.

Grade 304 has excellent corrosion resistance, and is heat-resistant up to very high Celsius temperatures. It also has great weld-ability, and can be machined relatively easily. An improved machinability version is also available in bar products.

Customers looking for stainless steel sheets should consider all comparable grads before making their selection. Different grades are ideal for different purposes, and while grade 304 is great for many different applications, and is durable and versatile, other grades may be optimal for certain applications.

If you want an expert opinion when making your decision, call 507-834-6915, extension 523, to speak to a Starland Metals representative.

Benefits of Using Stainless for Industrial Countertops

Stainless steel sheets have a variety of industrial uses, including stainless steel kitchen applications. Since stainless resists corrosion and other types of damage and is easy to keep clean, it is an excellent choice for areas of food or medical supply preparation.

Here are some of the benefits of using stainless steel for your industrial countertops:

  • The cost of stainless steel sheet metal is relatively low, considering the years of use you will get out of your countertops. This means that, once purchased, you should not need to purchase new countertops or spend a large amount of money repairing your countertops. Stainless steel is known for its durability, meaning it is perfect for standing up to the moisture, food germs, and heat of your kitchen.
  • Since stainless is a non-porous surface, it is perfect to use for food preparation. It doesn’t have places to hide contamination, thus hindering the growth of viruses and bacteria in your kitchen. It can also be wiped down quickly with a simple cleaner and cloth.
  • Since stainless is heat-resistant, it will not melt or stain if you place hot pans or other extremely hot items on your countertops. They will also not melt under normal industrial oven and stove temperatures, making them the ideal choice.
  • Stainless has a modern, clean aesthetic that will make your kitchen look fashionable and new. This means it not only looks good on a daily basis, but will look great if it should be photographed. This can also be a big selling point in hiring new employees or attracting investors.

Cold-Rolled vs. Hot Rolled Stainless Steel

Cold-rolling and hot-rolling are the two main methods by which stainless steel fabricators craft stainless steel sheets, counters, BBQs, and other items. There are benefits and downsides to both methods.

When stainless steel is cold-rolled, it is rolled to the final dimensions and specifications when the metal is far below scalding temperatures. The main benefit to this method is that the steel will not shrink once it is cooled, unlike hot rolled steel, which can shrink after the metal cools below 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.

With hot rolled steel, the steel is formed to its final dimensions and specifications, while the temperature is above scalding temperatures. An advantage here is that the metal is stress-free once it has been rolled and forged. Cold rolled steel can often twist or warp if it undergoes further machining, making it a poor option for many industrial tasks. It is for this reason that many stainless steel fabricators offer stainless steel sheet metal that has been fabricated using both methods.

Here are a few more key differences between metals forged by these two different processes:

  • Hot rolled steel tends to be slightly looser and have less tolerance than cold rolled steel.
  • Cold rolled steel tends to contain less carbon and slag, while hot rolled steel contains between .18 and .30 percent carbon content. This makes hot rolled steel more difficult to forge in more traditional manners.
  • Cold rolled steel has a more natural inclination to twist, making it ideal for decorative applications.

Looking Beyond the Initial Cost of Stainless Steel Sheet Metal

In spite of the many positive qualities of stainless steel sheet metal, many homeowners find it difficult to look past the high initial price. While by no means the most expensive material available for kitchen appliances, backsplashes or counters, stainless steel does have a steep price that makes people think twice. The reality is, however, that stainless steel more than makes up for its higher initial price when you look at the cost savings over the long term.

Say, for example, you purchase a stainless steel refrigerator intending to keep it for as long as it stays functional. After it is paid for and placed in your kitchen, you use it day in and day out. Over time and frequent usage, a host of issues could theoretically present themselves, like stains, dirt, grime, corrosion and damage. The stainless steel material this refrigerator is made of is likely to have minimal costs for repair, cleaning or other maintenance.

This is precisely why you need to look beyond the initial cost of a stainless steel kitchen. Instead, look toward future savings. Stainless steel is famous for its resistance to rust and staining. Consider the costs of sealing granite counters or refinishing wood surfaces in your kitchen. You will see how much you save with a low maintenance material like stainless steel. Combine these benefits with the durability and long lifespan of stainless steel, and you have a winning recipe for cost savings and a great kitchen.

How Custom Stainless Steel Fabrication Works

There are seemingly countless practical uses for stainless steel sheet metal in a variety of applications and components today. Whether you’re an individual working on a small project, or a contractor responsible for meeting a commercial client’s needs, you can be sure stainless steel sheet plays an integral role in getting the job done. Fortunately, there are companies out there that specialize in stainless steel fabrication.

Many people do not know what exactly stainless steel fabrication means. There is then the question of how these companies help you get the specific sheet metal you need? Essentially, steel fabrication involves cutting, bending and shaping steel until it’s a finished product. This is similar to the way clay is molded into a finished figurine or bowl. Some of the most common stainless steel products are found in food service, food processing and medical applications.

To use stainless steel fabricators for a custom sheet, simply outline the product you want and include a sketch. You then visit the company site to request a quote and see what they can do for you. You might be interested in a sheet of stainless steel or some other kind of product. Regardless, you can make it happen with the right stainless steel fabricators. Ensure you do your research and that the fabricator you choose uses high quality stainless steel sheet. If you do, you’ll have the materials you need to make your finished products shine.

Stainless Steel Fabrication

Stainless steel can be fabricated by many different conventional methods, including roll formed, deep drawn, hot or cold forged, folded, bent, and spun. The metal has high strength and work hardening rates, which makes it versatile and very workable for stainless steel fabricators.

Starland Metals has all of the most recent tools, technology, and equipment to work your stainless steel sheet metal and other parts once you buy stainless steel, and it manufactures some of the best stainless pieces in the country. Due to the high hardening rates of stainless steel, improved machinery is required. Many manufacturers have also altered stainless to produce “improved machinability” versions of the metal that can be manipulated and formed with more ease. At Starland, we offer you the products without sacrificing quality, and guarantee your parts will withstand harm and corrosion for years.

We offer parts ranging from kitchen appliances, to shelves, to hooks, to sheets, and can custom make parts up to ¾ of an inch in thickness, with large dimensions. When we fabricate and cut stainless steel, we follow a strict set of rules to ensure the safety of all parties involved and the integrity of your steel.

These rules include proper lubricants and coolants, high heat, constant feeds, large tools to help with heat dissipation, large clearances to prevent tools from hindering work, sharp tools and high end lasers, and more. Our equipment is sturdy and vibration-free, which allows us to provide you with precise parts each time.

For stainless steel and customer service you can trust, choose Starland Metals.

Order Custom Stainless Pieces

Whether you need custom hooks, cogs, plates, or other custom stainless steel pieces, we have the technology to transform the stainless steel sheet you purchase into the parts and pieces you are looking for.

We do this with the use of a laser cutter, which we have been doing for a long time. Through years of practice, and the addition of the most modern pieces of equipment and technology, Starland Metal experts are able to cut your pieces to the exact precision that you need.

There are several ways to get started once you order the stainless steel sheet metal:

  1. You can send us a rough sketch, and we will produce a precise drawing for you.
  2. You can provide DXF or drawings of your own if they are already produced.
  3. We can help you figure out exactly what you need if you aren’t sure of the shape or specifications you are looking for.

Once this is done and a drawing has been obtained, we will offer a fast, same-day quote on the custom job. We ship your parts through UPS and truck freight shipping once they are finished and you have the parts you need.

Our facilities have large capabilities, including maximum workspace weight of 2770 pounds and large sheet cutting size up to 160” by 80”. We can cut through stainless steel measuring in width up to .750”; mild steel measuring in width of up to one inch; and aluminum measuring in width up to half an inch.

What Is Stainless Steel?

You’ve definitely heard about stainless steel, and you likely know that it is one of the best types of steel available, whether you are considering stainless steel kitchen appliances or stainless steel sheets, but what exactly is this coating? What makes it so special?

Stainless steel, also known as inox steel, is a steel alloy that has a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. This content prevents the steel from corroding, rusting, or decaying in any other ways for many years. This steel is similar to carbon steel, but has a much higher chromium content, which prevents the rusting that is common when carbon steel is exposed to air.

Stainless steel has been in use for many years, with artifacts being found in India as early as 400 AD. These primitive stainless objects got their corrosion resistance from phosphorus content instead of chromium.

The first true iron-chromium alloys were found in France in 1821, and were created by the metallurgist Pierre Berthier. After some experimenting, Berthier noted high resistance to attacks by acids and air. A German metallurgist created a quicker process for creating stainless steel in the 1890s, and it was used more widely, starting in the first few decades of the 1900s.

Since then, stainless steel has been prevalent in many different industries and has been integral in strengthening products, including kitchen appliances, utensils, cabinets, backsplashes, BBQs, and much more.

For a coated iron alloy that won’t corrode, rust, or decay, stainless steel is the only option.

Why Buy Galvanized Steel Cabinets?

Galvanized steel is one of the best materials for storage cabinets, and it protects the contents and lasts longer than many other types of metals for a much lower initial cost. Here are some of the main benefits to purchasing galvanized steel cabinets or stainless steel industrial cabinets:

  1. Galvanized steel has one of the lowest starting costs of any type of finished metal. Stainless steel is close behind. Both also have incredibly long life spans and, as a result, have a lower long term cost. Less maintenance means less money spent, but also less possibility for damaging your stainless sheet cabinet or galvanized steel cabinet, as maintenance also often causes damage.
  2. Galvanizing the steel creates one of the toughest coatings, and has a unique metallurgical structure that gives this steel unparalleled resistance to mechanical damage throughout transportation, setup, and years of use.
  3. Unlike with organic coatings, galvanized coatings protect small areas of exposed steel and prevent corrosion for many years without needing touching up. The same can’t be said for organic coatings.
  4. Galvanized coatings are easy to inspect simply by looking over the steel. You can easily see if there are exposed steel parts on your cabinet. If your cabinet’s coating appears to be continuous, then it is. This makes maintenance even easier, no matter how long you use your industrial cabinet.
  5. These cabinets are faster to set up, since the coated steel arrives ready to assemble. There is no coating or touching up that needs to be done on site.

Whether you end up choosing galvanized or stainless steel sheet cabinets, you are definitely making a wise and economic decision.