Stainless steel a material of unparalleled versatility

News / Stainless steel – a material of unparalleled versatility

Everyone knows that stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant in a wide range of environments - as long as the correct grade is selected. Similarly, it offers a wide range of mechanical and physical properties. The correct grade will provide the necessary ductility, toughness, strength, hardness, etc, which is required for the particular application.

It is because of these properties that stainless steel is the preferred choice for a vast range of applications, and can be seen, or in many cases is used but not seen, in the most diverse of sectors, all of which are served by Stainless Band. From everyday items in your home to plant and equipment in the largest industrial enterprises, you can bet that stainless steel will be playing a major role.

You will find many examples without any difficulty, although some may be more difficult to find or recognise. The kitchen is a prime example. It is almost certain that you will have a stainless steel kitchen sink. Your work surfaces are likely to be stainless steel, as is your cooker hood (and air ducts in many industrial applications), and as is most of your cutlery - knives and forks and spoons, as well as most of the other kitchen utensils – although perhaps not the ones you use on your favourite non-stick pans (although the handle will almost certainly be stainless steel!) One day, or perhaps already now, even some stainless steel chopsticks might be lurking in the drawer. And then, of course, there are your pots and pans, and components in and possibly the exterior of the microwave oven, the refrigerator, the freezer, the toaster, the kitchen tiles, and so the list goes on.

Doing the laundry is not everyone’s cup of tea, but nowadays, it is often simply a matter of throwing the dirty clothes into a stainless steel washing machine drum, and pressing a few buttons, with no doubt some stainless steel lurking elsewhere inside the machine as well. And washing the dishes is just as easy. With stainless steel.

On going to the bathroom for a shower, or to take a bath, it is relatively unlikely that you will encounter a stainless steel bath tub, unless you happen to live in Japan. It is possible, however, that the hot water for your bath may come from a stainless steel tank; that stainless steel is hidden inside the boiler that heated the water, and that the radiator keeping the bathroom nice and warm, and warming your towels at the same time, is, or could be – yes – stainless steel. And, of course, even with a waterproof guarantee, and a non-rusting stainless steel back, it is still best to take off your watch prior to entering the shower. Less obvious perhaps, even when looking out of the window, are the spacer bars – made of stainless steel strip - which you may find are separating the two sheets of glass in your double-glazed windows.

When it comes to catering, stainless steel is, of course, a given. Whether this is for display purposes, for freezing or cooling food, for preparation, cooking or serving. Whether you are looking for a Hamburger, fish and chips, a curry, “Bratwurst und Pommes”, or even “du vin blanc or rouge”, you will almost always find copious amounts of shiny and, of course, hygienic, stainless steel.

There are many people who prefer to eat their fish and chips in the park, in the fresh air. Looking around, you may see a stainless steel sculpture, a stainless steel waste paper bin, and notice that you are sitting on a bench made of stainless steel. This may be less likely in the UK than in Europe and Asia, but it will come, because stainless steel lasts, and is therefore highly cost-effective.
We shouldn’t, of course, at this juncture forget the necessity of public toilets. If the local council in your area is smart, it is likely that everything you see inside will be stainless steel, and will be clean, and hygienic.

Almost every enduse sector that you can think of, whether it is the chemical, petrochemical, offshore, or pharmaceutical industry, will be using stainless steel tubes and pipes. More often than not, with all the advances in production technology that have been made over the years, these will not be what can be very expensive seamless tubes, but welded tubes, made from stainless steel strip that Stainless Band specialises in - slit to a precise width, with the relevant edge finish, and, of course, in the right grade and with the required surface finish. And it is not only in industrial applications that stainless steel piping can be found. It is a viable alternative to copper in potable water applications. Stainless steel filters, gaskets and springs of all types are also indispensable in a vast range of sectors, and will possibly be made from strip from Stainless Band.

The automotive sector is one of the main areas of application for stainless steel. Once upon a time, it may have been the decorative trim where most of this material was used. Today, the tonnage used in this area is easily outstripped by the tonnage used in less obvious parts of a vehicle. This could be the fuel tank, the cylinder head gasket, hose clamps, windscreen wipers, seatbelt springs, the airbag, and, of course, more obviously, exhaust systems (silencers and catalytic converters). To stay on the transport theme for a moment, one could perhaps mention rims for bicycle wheels.

In the electrical engineering sector, stainless steel can be found everywhere. It may be very visible, as for example when used for the casing for mobile phones in order to make them even thinner whilst ensuring that they are damage proof, or it may be lurking deep inside your computer as a hard disk cover protecting your data. You may even find that when you plug your computer in, that the plug socket has a stainless steel cover.
Power generation is another area where stainless steel today is indispensable. Obviously there is all the pipework, the gaskets, the filters etc, in conventional power plants, but increasingly new solutions are being sought. There is little point burning coal to produce electricity to heat up your water, when you could have a solar water heater, providing hot water free of charge, with of course stainless steel used for both the solar collector and the hot water tank. And why stop at that? Add some photovoltaic cells with a stainless steel strip substrate and you can watch TV free of charge as well. On a somewhat different scale, you will not be able to set up a biogas plant or even a nuclear plant without using stainless steel.

To sum up, whether you are a building supplier, a general engineering company, a gasket manufacturer, or specialise in filtration, or manufacture exhaust systems, and whether you need stainless steel strip to manufacture your particular product, or you need stainless steel strip as feedstock to produce tubes and pipes which will go on to be used elsewhere, Stainless Band and its team of experts is a source that shouldn’t be overlooked.

And, we haven’t even touched on shipbuilding, the railways, aerospace, heat exchangers and many other areas where without stainless steel you might have serious problems, especially as time goes on, with costly repair work or replacement work being required, or highly dangerous situations developing. Stainless Band may well be able to offer the solution that you require, that will ultimately save you money, and protect the environment, all at the same time.

Posted on: 06-09-2017

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