Steel, in general, is iron alloyed to carbon. Sometimes, other elements are added to create different kinds of steel, which do different things. Inox steel, more commonly known as stainless steel, is a steel alloy and is a common material used in manufacturing. It’s popular because it doesn’t easily stain, corrode, or rust. These alloys can be found in a number of different varieties. Two very common types are 304 and 316 stainless steel alloy. These two different types of stainless steel can be used for a number of different applications and are what many sheet metal manufacturers choose to use. While these two alloys have some similarities, they ultimately have different components and characteristics.
304 Stainless Steel Alloy
304 stainless steel alloy contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel and is probably the most commonly used stainless steel today. 304 allows for easy fabrication and cleaning, and, because of its makeup, 304 is resistant to oxidation and corrosion. Common uses for 304 stainless steel include electrical enclosures, auto molding and trim, kitchen appliances, hardware, piping, and much more. Although 304 is resistant to corrosion and rust, there are certain times when it is not the right material for the job.
316 Stainless Steel Alloy
316 stainless steel alloy contains 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. This combination allows for even greater resistance to corrosion, rust, and stains than 304 stainless steel. In addition to being highly resistant to corrosion, 316 stainless steel is also heat resistant. This attribute allows 316 to have even more applications than 304. 316 is very easy to fabricate, clean, weld, and finish and is often used for food preparation equipment, laboratory benches and equipment, heat exchangers, woven screens, threaded fasteners, springs, and much more.
Between these two steel options, you should find the right material for your project or product. If one of these two options isn’t going to work, we will be happy to find you a material that will. Mainstay has the capability to machine and fabricate a large number of materials, and we’re sure we can find the perfect one. If you have any questions or concerns about materials or our machining capabilities, feel free to contact us. We would be very happy to talk with you.