How is a Stainless Steel Manufactured?

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One of the most versatile and environmentally neutral materials that make an excellent product for the construction of equipment in high-tech industries, buildings, machinery, and alike. Stainless steel makes an excellent source of building material for its excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical and physical properties. Also called green material being infinitely recyclable, stainless steel is one of the heavily demanded materials composed of iron, chromium, nickel, and some other alloys.

Its aesthetic luster gives it an edge over other materials, making it a useful material to be used by an architect for interior design or for making iconic pieces in a contemporary indoor setup. 

Composition of Stainless Steel Alloy

Stainless steel alloy, as aforementioned, is composed of iron,

nickel alloys, chromium, and some other alloys in varied compositions, making specific grades or classes of stainless steel. 

It is an alloy made of iron and carbon. This steel contains at least 10.5% chromium, less than 1.2% carbon, and other alloy elements. Stainless steel’s excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical properties can be further modified with the addition of other elements, such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium, manganese, niobium, etc.

Stainless Steel Alloy Family 

Austenitics or 300 series

0.015 to 0.10% carbon, 16 to 21% chromium, 6 to 26% nickel, 0 to 7% molybdenum.

Austenitic with manganese or 200 series 

Nickel alloy

below 5%.

Ferritic or 400 series

0.02 to 0.06% carbon, 10.5 to 30% chromium, 0 to 4% molybdenum. 

Austeno-ferritics or Duplex 

0.02% carbon, 0 to 4% molybdenum, 1 to 7% nickel and 21 to 26% chromium. 

Martensitics

0.1% carbon, 10.5 to 17% chromium. 

Processes of Manufacturing Stainless Steel

Step 1: Melting

Manufacturing stainless steel initiates with melting scrap metals and additives in an EAF – electric arc furnace. Using high-power electrodes, the EAF raises the temperature of the metals over the course of time to create a molten, fluid mixture.

Being 100% recyclable, much stainless steel contains as much as 60% recycled steel. This helps to control not only costs but also reduce ecological impact.

Exact temperatures will vary depending upon the grade of steel being created.

Step 2: Removing Carbon Content

Carbon is known to increase the hardness and strength of the iron metal. However, too much carbon content can create problems, including carbide precipitation during welding.

Before creating molten stainless steel, calibration and reduction of carbon content to the optimum level are imperative.

There are 2 ways in which foundries control carbon content.

Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) involves injecting an argon gas mixture into the molten steel to reduce its carbon content with minimal loss of other elements.

Vacuum Oxygen Decarburization (VOD) involves transferring molten steel to another chamber where oxygen is injected into the steel at high temperatures. A vacuum removes vented gases from the chamber, further reducing its carbon content.

Step 3: Tuning

After reducing carbon, a final process of balancing and homogenization of temperature and chemistry occurs called tuning. This process ensures that the metal fulfills requirements for its intended or to be made the grade and that the steel’s composition is uniform throughout the batch.

STEP 4: Forming or Casting

Once the molten steel is created, the foundry must now create a primitive shape to cool and work the steel. The exact shape and dimensions of the stainless steel depending on the final product.

Common shapes of this steel include:

  • Blooms

  • Billets

  • Slabs

  • Rods

  • Tubes

Forms of stainless steel are given an identifier to track the batch of steel through the various processes to follow.

From here, steps will vary depending on the intended grade and final product or function of the steel. Slabs are made to become plates, strips, and sheets. Blooms and billets are used as bars and wires.

Depending on the grade or format ordered, steel might go through some steps, including hot rolling, annealing, cold rolling, pickling, cutting, and finishing multiple times to create the desired appearance or features. 

Features of Stainless Steel

  • Aesthetics

From matt to bright, stainless steel come in incredible finish surfaces, including brushed and engraved. It can be tinted or embossed, making this material unique and aesthetically desirable. It is also used by architects for building envelopes, interior design, and furniture.

  • Mechanical Properties

Stainless steel alloy possesses strong mechanical properties at ambient temperatures! In particular, it blends ductility, elasticity, and hardness, allowing it to be used in hard metal forming modes like – deep stamping, flat bending, extrusion, etc., while offering resistance to heavy wear (friction, abrasion, impact, elasticity, etc.). Furthermore, it offers good mechanical behavior at extreme, i.e., low and high temperatures.

  • Resistance to Fire

Stainless steel offers incredible fire resistance to all metallic materials when used in structural applications or high-tech industries- serving as the most crucial material in manufacturing with a critical temperature above 800°C. Stainless steel ranks A2s1d0 for fire resistance with no toxic emissivity.

Shalco Industries, one of the leading manufacturers of stainless steel and stainless steel products make high quality, stainless steel, in the attempt to supply the most versatile material at the most economical rates in India. Looking for the best quality stainless steel? You are at the right place!

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