Stainless steel is an extremely durable material. The non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant properties make it the ideal choice of metal for several different applications. Further, stainless steel products have proven to be far more superior than other metals, increasing its demand across industrial sectors. At Alliant Metals, we have responded to this demand by distributing pre-finished raw materials at lower prices.
However, our ability to provide lower prices doesn’t mean that we compromise quality and integrity. With an established reputation as the most reliable industrial metal distributor in the country, customers have come to count on our team for all of their stainless steel needs.
Every high-quality stainless steel product starts with superior production. Here’s a step-by-step overview of what it takes to produce stainless steel.
The raw materials are steel and chromium. For other alloys, carbon, nickel, manganese, nitrogen, and other elements can also be used.
Before the production process begins, decisions regarding the constituents and their composition are made.
Stainless steel bars, pipes, and tubes are manufactured inside a blast furnace. The raw materials are subjected to 8 to 12 hours of high temperatures in an electric furnace. The molten metal is poured in molds and cast into various shapes. At this stage, the steel is present in semi-finished form.
If needed, the semi-finished metal will undergo more forming processes. In this process, the tolerances are decided. The metal will then be hot rolled. This allows the manufacturers to produce the metal in various shapes like round, square, rectangular. The thickness and other specifications of the metal can also be adjusted during this process.
After the formation is complete, heat-treatment, or annealing, begins. Annealing helps soften the metal while reducing internal tension. The steel can also be treated for higher levels of strength, or fracture toughness.
After annealing, the surface of the stainless steel develops scales. Pickling and electro-cleaning are used to remove these scales. Both effective means of descaling, pickling involves dipping the material in nitric-hydrofluoric acid. Whereas electro-cleaning uses cathode and phosphoric acid to pass a current onto the surface of the stainless steel. Depending on the final product, the steel might be subjected to hot and cold-rolling as well.
After the hot and cold rolling process is conducted, the annealing and descaling process will be repeated. On completion of the final descaling process, the product will be cold-rolled. This is the final step in stainless steel fabrication.
Once fabrication is complete, the steel can be cut to desired sizes. The product will be trimmed, sheared, and sawed. If shapes are needed, metal punches and dies will be used. Nibbling can also be used to fabricate irregular shapes. Apart from the traditional methods of cutting metal, flame-cutting, plasma jet cutting, and waterjet cutting may also be used. The employment of these processes depends on the properties of the metal, end-use, and required finish.
Before polishing, the metal is thoroughly cleaned to prepare the surface.
With different grades available, the chosen grade will vary according to the final use of the product. For instance, a polish used for the food industry would be different than that of one used for the medical field. Through annealing, cold or hot-rolling, wire-brushed, pickling, etc., various finishes are obtained. Reflective and mirror-like finishes are possible when the surface is polished with different grades of abrasives then buffed.
Different types of welding processes will be employed according to the metal type and needs of the customer.
If you require high-quality stainless steel products, contact the professionals at Alliant Metals. Our team will work with your needs to successfully provide the solution you’ve been searching for. Call us today at (800) 543-1453.