The essential facts about food grade stainless steel

For a long time we have been one of the UK’s leading providers of tubing alteration services. Using the likes of tube ring rolling, we are capable of delivering versatile utensils. They can have curves or bends, or even be coils or complete rings. Plus, we have the ability to work with a host of different materials, including food grade stainless steel, so you have the utmost choice.

For sanitary endeavours, stainless steel is a popular material. Food grade alloys can endure punishing temperatures capable of melting plastic. Moreover, the protective oxide layer helps to stop the formation of rust. That is important because it contaminates foodstuffs.

You can see why the steel is a good option for food applications. Like with any material though, there are details you need to keep in mind before you start using it. We want to cover some of the main ones here.

Finishes alter suitability

Tube ring rollingFirstly, the finish on food grade stainless steel can influence its suitability. The steel is well known for its corrosion resistance. However, just because the exterior looks smooth and shiny, it does not mean it is ready to use. To meet essential sanitary standards, the steel’s finish needs to eradicate any surfaces that may allow bacterial growth. At the same time, it must be easy to sanitise.

It is here where procedures like electropolishing are preferred over manual grinding. The polishing strips away the steel’s surface layer. It does so to reveal a microscopically smooth substrate. This augments the oxide layer’s strength and disposes of the microscopic flaws in an exterior that could house bacteria.

Different grades

Another fact is that not all food grade stainless steel alloys are created equally. An alloy might be marketed as being suitable. However, it does not mean the material will suit your production processes. There are many stainless steel alloys available. They all come with their own pros and cons too in regards to production environments.

For instance, salt is famous for being particularly corrosive to metals. Grade 304 steel may resist the majority of corrosives. But, long term salt exposure is still capable of eating away at it. Thus, grade 304 would not do for operations demanding repeat or ongoing salt or saltwater exposure. Grade 316 has far greater resistance. As a result, it is the ideal steel for food makers here. Please let us know of you need our tube ring rolling services.

Watch out for temperature extremes

While food grade stainless steel does have high resistance to temperatures, they do in fact influence it. All metals have a melting point and can have issues if it gets cold enough.

Most stainless steel grades are ok at temperatures ranging from water’s freezing point to oven temperatures. These are ones above 500ºF. But, cryogenic conditions below -49ºF can lead to various steel alloys turning brittle. Combine this with the crystalline expansion when metals heat up, and they can break or warp. So, you need to be careful of sudden extreme temperature shifts.

Among stainless steels, martensitic variants are useful. This is because they are the most capable of withstanding very low temperatures. The structure of the steel is less vulnerable to becoming brittle.

Furthermore, it is essential to think of the dangers of oxidation. You must do so when using food grade alloys in settings with very high temperatures. For applications like these, 304 steel is useful. This is due to its capacity to resist oxidation at temperatures reaching as high as 1,697ºF. A figure like that is far over the limit of virtually any food manufacturing operation.

Start using our services if you need tube ring rolling

At Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd, we strive to offer every client top tier products that meet the highest expectations. We focus on this regardless of the application. Our broad knowledge helps here, even if you have something unique in mind.

With tube ring rolling, it is possible to bend tubes to suit all kinds of designs. The technique allows us to produce versatile components for all kinds of industries. It is a better option than cutting and welding because there won’t be breaks and weld seams.

So, if you think we can help you, please give us a call.