Stainless steels are categorized into over 150 grades organized by composition. The most common include the 300 and 400 grades, known as austenitic alloys and ferritic and martensitic chromium alloys respectively. Stainless steel 304 is the most common and comprised of chromium-nickel, while stainless steel 316 is the second most common grade and includes molybdenum. The benefits of using stainless steel in applications include high corrosion resistance, high strength, and resistance to extreme environments.
E-Fab is an ISO 9001:2015 certified precision manufacturing and fabrication company that specializes in the chemical etching of a wide range of metals, including Stainless Steel. Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, our engineers have the expertise to deliver high-quality products to customers across all industries.
Types of Stainless Steel
There are a number of stainless steels available, each of which offers unique benefits. Some of the most commonly requested grades include:
- 300 Series, such as 301, 302, 304, 316. This grade set is typically found in applications for the automotive, aerospace, food service, and medical industries. If a finish is desired, gold plating is often requested to improve the solderability for the end application. Due to the slight difference in chemical composition, stainless steel 316 is more commonly used for marine applications, food services, chemical equipment, and petroleum industries because it can withstand sub-zero temperatures. These applications frequently add forming and/or gold plating depending on the end application’s environment requires.
- 400 Series, most commonly 410. This grade set is best for very high-stress applications and therefore popular for the automotive and medical instrument industries. Parts made of stainless steel 410 are generally formed and then heat treated before being optionally plated. This process hardens the metal and increases the stability of its strength and shape.
Benefits of Working With Stainless Steel
There are several benefits to using stainless steel for manufacturing applications, including:
- Stainless Steel 302/304 grade is known best for its corrosion-resistance and high strength. These grades resist high temperatures, are food-grade safe, and retain some protection against corrosive acid. SS302/304 are also considered non-magnetic, but the full hard does contain magnetic properties.
- Stainless Steel 316 grade is slightly different from the rest of the 300s due to its chemical composition including molybdenum. SS316 has improved corrosion resistance over SS302/304 because of this composition, making it a nice choice for marine applications and other challenging environments. Due to the lower carbon level, SS316 is also a better material than 302/304 for applications where welding or soldering is involved. During soldering, a side effect of carbon is carbide precipitation, which is limited for the low-carbon stainless steel 316.
- Stainless Steel 410 grade possesses a wear-resistance higher than copper, is magnetic, and resists high temperatures. These properties make SS410 a preferred choice in automotive and medical instrument applications.
Industries and Applications of Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel is a widely used metal across nearly all industries. At E-FAB, we use stainless steel to manufacture everything from washers and springs to screens and shields. These components, among others, are used across a wide range of industries, including the following:
- Food Services
- Medical (302/304 only for Medical Devices/Equipment)
- Pharmaceuticals (316)
- Marine Environments (316)
- Medical Instruments
Contact E-Fab today to Learn More About Our Metal Etching Capabilities
E-FAB is an ISO 9001:2015 certified and ITAR registered provider of precision machining and fabrication for stainless steel. Our metalworking and manufacturing capabilities include:
- Design support and engineering
- Photochemical machining (PCM)
- Finishing, including gold plating, soldering, and forming
For additional information on our nickel alloy metal etching capabilities or to partner with us on your next project, contact us today.