Most people have heard of stainless steel at some point in their lives. They have likely seen this material used in a wide variety of products, from kitchenware to medical instruments, yet few realize why so many designers prefer this material to others.
If you're looking for a strong, versatile material, consider the following benefits of stainless steel.
One of the most valuable assets of stainless steel is its resistance to corrosion. Lower grades of stainless steel can withstand corrosion in water environments and basic atmospheric conditions. And higher grades of stainless steel can withstand corrosion caused by acid and alkaline solutions.
Stainless steel offers this high resistance to corrosion due to its layer of chromium oxide. This protective layer makes stainless steel ideal for industrial plants or hospitals that require a corrosionresistant metal.
Certain high-strength grades of stainless steel create an impressive strength-to-weight ratio compared with other materials. Stainless steel can resist chemical damage, corrosion and heat damage even when it's in a thin state.
Manufacturers will often add carbon to certain stainless steel grades to improve strength. These carbon and stainless steel compounds are ideal for making cutlery, tools and razor blades.
When manufacturers use cold-work hardening techniques, they can reduce the stainless steel's weight and thickness. On the contrary, when manufacturers use heat to harden the stainless steel material, they can increase its strength. The options of both hot and cold hardening techniques for austenitic grades of stainless steel prove the material's strength compared with other conventional materials.
Many consumers prefer stainless steel's shiny, smooth surface. For those who want a different look, you can add other surface finishes to stainless steel as well. Its aesthetic makes stainless steel ideal for a variety of products that require both attractiveness and strength.
Additionally, owners of stainless steel don't have to worry about this material rusting, fading or staining over time. This material nearly always maintains its colour and beauty. Stainless steel can also resist many types of blemishes, including fingerprints, scuff marks and smudges. If you need to ensure your stainless steel's cleanliness, you can even apply a protective cleaner to maintain the shiny, smooth surface.
Because consumers find stainless steel so easy to maintain, they can keep their products looking like new with ease for many years.
Another benefit of stainless steel is how easy it is to clean. Many hospitals, pharmaceutical facilities and kitchens rely on this material because they need a completely hygienic atmosphere. Fortunately, stainless steel doesn't absorb germs, making it ideal for a sanitary environment.
Nearly all stainless steel can be fabricated, machined, cut and welded as needed. This versatility gives manufacturers the opportunity to mould the material into many different shapes for different uses, including the following:
In fact, it's difficult to think of a place you can't find stainless steel. The material's resistance to corrosion, low maintenance, strength-weight ratio and aesthetic features make it a preferred material for many commercial uses.
Finally, stainless steel is completely recyclable, so you can feel good knowing that you're promoting a healthier planet. If you ever need to retire stainless steel from a worn-out or damaged product, find a metal recycling plant to dispose of the unneeded material.
Choose Stainless Steel for Your Next Project
The benefits listed above make stainless steel one of the most preferred materials in the industry. The next time you'd like to create a product that lasts, be it hospital equipment or handrails, consider stainless steel. Contact a stainless steel specialist to discuss your next project.
When you hear the word 'aluminum,' you may think of soda cans or other food and beverage containers. But the uses of aluminum extend far beyond food packaging.
In a previous blog, 'The Advantages of Stainless Steel,' we introduced you to one of the most commonly used construction and manufacturing materials currently available. In this blog, we discuss fabricated aluminum, which represents one of the only materials advantageous enough to compete with stainless steel in some applications.
Beneficial characteristics of fabricated aluminum include the following.
Aluminum represents one of the least expensive metals available that is still strong enough for heavy-duty applications. Aluminum often provides the most affordable option for building materials, electrical components and machinery enclosures.
Additionally, most aluminum requires virtually no maintenance, which allows it to stay inexpensive over time.
Aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio. This characteristic means that even thin aluminum panels can withstand high amounts of force over significant periods of time.
For example, aluminum roofs can last as long as 35 years. In other applications, aluminum can last even longer.
Many industrial metals, including steel, have high amounts of rigidity. While this quality provides the stability necessary for some projects, inflexibility limits the shaping capabilities of these metals.
Aluminum is highly flexible, which means it's easier to bend and weld into shape. This characteristic makes aluminum ideal for small and structurally complex components.
Aluminum conducts both heat and electricity well. This conductivity explains why you frequently see aluminum used in heating and cooling units, as well as in electrical applications.
Aluminum can even be found in the tiny components of mainframe computers and video systems.
Aluminum doesn't just have a high strength-to-weight ratio-it also weighs less overall than most other building materials. In fact, aluminum items can weigh as much as two thirds less than their stainless steel counterparts.
This quality makes aluminum easy to transport and install. Additionally, aluminum's lightweight nature puts less stress on structures over time than other metals.
Many commonly used metals, including some kinds of steel, have magnetic properties. Aluminum, however, is completely non-magnetic. This property makes aluminum an essential part of many electrical applications.
For example, manufacturers often use aluminum to encase braided wires and other sensitive system components.
Recyclable and Non-toxic
Like stainless steel, aluminum is 100% recyclable. In fact, recycling aluminum conserves as much as 90% of the energy required to manufacture new aluminum, which makes it one of the most eco-friendly options available.
Additionally, aluminum emits no toxins and has no toxic properties. These combined characteristics make aluminum a highly sustainable materials choice.
When it comes down to aesthetics alone, many builders and manufacturers choose aluminum over other metal options. Aluminum's surface accommodates a wide variety of finishes, which makes it ideal for the outermost layer of machinery and construction.
Aluminum can even undergo polishing to make it beautifully reflective.
Resistant to Corrosion
Like stainless steel, aluminum has high resistance to corrosion. Fabricated aluminum is completely resistant to rust, unlike most other metals.
With proper finishing and routine maintenance, high-quality aluminum can also withstand most other common forms of corrosion.
Resistant to Low Temperatures
While aluminum is subject to more expansion than steel when exposed to high temperatures, aluminum resists low temperatures extremely well. Aluminum's ability to withstand the cold makes it ideal for components and enclosures for condensers, air conditioners and even nuclear reactors.
When you need a metal component for new construction, equipment or industry accessories, stainless steel and aluminum may both represent viable options. Consider the characteristics listed above and consult with your trusted metal fabrication expert to decide which metal best suits your needs.
Laser engraving represents one of the most versatile and accessible forms of marking available. For this reason, contractors, industrial manufacturers, site managers and even homeowners use this process for applications in a variety of industries.
Even if you don't work in a commercial or industrial setting, you've probably seen laser engraved signs, mementoes or awards.
In this blog, we discuss the five most common applications of laser engraving and when you might want to hire a professional to provide these services.
1. Awards and Trophies
Laser engraving creates clean, easily legible, shaped carvings directly onto a surface. This feature makes this engraving method preferable to paint, stain or emboss.
Most award and trophy makers rely on laser engraving for an array of materials, such as:
Additionally, many types of laser engravers can cut shapes into sturdy rubber to create custom stamps. These stamps work well for award certificates, as well as mass signatures, letterheads and other decorative markings.
2. Barcode Creation
You see a lot of items with barcodes on them, from your weekly groceries to your industrial equipment components. Most barcodes you encounter are simply printed on paper or directly onto the item. However, items with specific characteristics won't take these standard barcodes.
Engravers cut barcodes directly into these items to avoid problems with any of the following characteristics:
In addition to barcodes consisting of lines of several different weights, engravers may cut QR codes, unique identification markers or similar markers onto these items.
3. Decorative or Commemorative Annotations
If you have purchased fine jewellery for someone special in your life, you've likely considered engraving a date or phrase into the surface. Many retailers offer the options of including a decorative or commemorative annotation on a gift.
You may decide to laser engrave any of the following gift types:
These engravings add a personal touch to otherwise ordinary gifts.
4. Medical and Electronic Components
Medical and electronic parts require easy and precise identification, especially during high-stress moments. To ensure these parts stay identifiable, many manufacturers choose to mark them using laser engraving.
Reasons to mark these components via engraving include:
The laser engraving used on medical and electronic components, especially on small or delicate parts, is often shallower than that used on other items.
Perhaps the most common use of laser engraving is in durable signage. The benefits of engraving maps, directions and other sign contents rather than painting or printing them, are myriad.
Some reasons sites choose engraving over other signage methods include:
Most industrial contractors and fabricators who design signage cut individual parts using laser-based equipment. They may even create important manufacturing tools and rely on a computer numerical control system (CNC).
CNC systems use precise, automated cutting and engraving equipment to produce one-off items that fit a specific criteria or to mass produce industrial components.
Consult with a trusted professional metal fabrication team to determine if you need the accuracy and precise detail offered by CNC equipment for your project.
Whether you want to create the perfect, personalised gift or you need a clear, durable way to create signage for your job site, consider laser engraving.
After you invest in a metal product, you want it to keep its original shine for as long as possible. Like most materials, metal products can get stains and smudges. However, you can keep your metal looking like new by using some simple cleaning methods, such as those we discuss below.
You can find aluminium in a variety of products including siding, paint, appliances, cans and blinds. Almost all aluminium products can become dull over time as layers of aluminium oxide form on the metal's surface.
You can easily remove the aluminium oxide with soapy water or aluminium cleaner. However, avoid using baking soda on aluminium products, as it will likely spoil the metal. If you prefer a homemade solution, try mixing cream of tartar with white vinegar.
Most people use cast iron products, such as Dutch ovens for cooking purposes. One of the best ways to clean cast iron is with salt and cooking oil. Avoid using water on these products as the moisture can reduce the product's ability to preserve the flavour of foods when you cook.
If you clean cast iron properly, you can keep it sanitary and in good condition. Rust commonly corrodes cast iron, so regularly clean these products to avoid rust.
Stainless steel is one of the most hygienic metals available. However, the term 'stainless' doesn't imply that this metal cannot become dirty. Even stainless steel can dull over time and get dirty from oily smudges.
Additionally, stainless steel can corrode, but it is more resistant to stains and corrosion if kept clean.
You can clean stainless steel with a mild cleaner and fresh water. You can also use olive oil, vinegar and club soda to remove streaks on stainless-steel surfaces. As a rule of thumb, you can use most glass cleaners on stainless steel products.
If you need to clean more severe forms of food residue, grease, soap scum or watermarks, you may need a specialised cleaning product.
Chrome is found on products like car rims, bike parts, pans and bumpers. You can best clean chrome products with soap and water or vinegar. Vinegar has just enough acidity to remove gunk and tarnish from chrome surfaces without corroding them. If you notice rust on your chrome product, use aluminium foil and vinegar to gently rub the rust off of the metal surface.
Copper can tarnish quickly if it's cleaned with harsh chemicals. While tarnish doesn't necessarily cause damage to a product, it does cause copper to lose its shine.
A safer way to clean copper is to apply commercial copper-cleaning products. You can also remove dirt and smudges from copper by gently rubbing ketchup or salted lemon halves onto the surface.
Many decorations and cookware products are made with silver. Silver gives products an impressive, luxurious shine. Many people wear silver jewellery for this same reason.
You usually don't have to worry about cleaning silver jewellery. Often, simple contact with skin will keep silver clean. However, silver that is placed into storage for extended periods of time will often dull or tarnish.
Along with commercial cleaners, you can also clean silver with generic toothpaste. The gritty, non-gel toothpaste tends to polish silver better than gel toothpaste.
Keep in mind that metals may not be as resilient as you expect them to be. Avoid cleaning methods that scratch or corrode the metal. You can test unfamiliar or homemade cleaning product on metals by applying a small amount to an inconspicuous, small area. If the solution doesn't harm the metal, apply the cleaner to the rest of the product.
Use these tips to keep your metal products clean and shiny. If you're unsure about which cleaning product to use, consult the manufacturer or vendor for recommended cleaning solutions.
Regardless of what industry you operate in, your company signage is key to how well your business does. You need a sign outside that tells customers who you are and what you do. You need signs inside to indicate whose office is whose and which way to go to find the restroom. You need signs to warn employees of danger or to leave vital instructions.
Engraved signage represents the best medium for all these signs. A modern business can utilise all of these different types of signs and have them last forever. The signs stay readable for years, and the company avoids spending money on replacement signs.
In this blog, we go over eight of the top benefits of engraved signage for your company.
1. Compatibility With All Business Types
Any business, from a large factory to a privately owned coffee shop, can benefit from engraving services. In addition to the signage outside your business, there are name tags, warning labels, control panels and more that can all be engraved. The technical precision of engraving lets your create signs that complement any aesthetic.
2. Cost-Effective Manufacturing
Signage engraving causes less wear and tear on the tools than most other traditional forms of sign making, meaning the manufacturer can charge you less. When there’s less wear and tear, the machines last longer, and more signs can be engraved for the same amount of money.
3. Highly Readable End Result
Engraving your signage produces a crisp, permanent and clean result. The machines used in today’s engraving industry are highly advanced and sophisticated, operating with the aid of a computer. Because of this, you can choose more complex designs without sacrificing readability, even from a distance.
4. Long-Lasting Signage
Unlike painted signs, engraved signage lasts a long time despite rain, snow, sun or vandalism. While paint can be chipped or bleached, engravings will last for many years. Chemicals also won’t damage the sign and the engraved lettering whenever it needs to be cleaned.
5. Few Maintenance Requirements
Choosing engraved signs also makes sign maintenance easier. All your sign requires is an easy wiping down with products that aren’t too harsh. If your metal engraved signage needs its shine restored, all you need is some metal polish and a rag. Not only are the maintenance needs of engraved signs minimal, but they’re also easy to perform.
6. Many Options for Sign Material
While metals like stainless steel and aluminium are probably the most common signage materials, when you opt for engraved signs, you’re not limited to these materials. Various other metals can be used, such as bronze or copper, and you could also choose glass, wood, acrylic, leather or fabric. Engraving even works on strong industrial plastics.
7. Accurate, Exact Lettering
Thanks to the sophisticated technology and machinery used in engravings today, the engravings produced look exactly like the preview you approved. As long as you thoroughly proofread the design, it is highly unlikely you’ll end up with an engraved sign that features a mistake.
8. Rapid Turnaround Time
In the past, engraving meant spending a lot of money and waiting a long time because craftspeople completed the job by hand. However, thanks to the continual technological advancements in the field, your signage can usually be done on a production line. This shortens the production time from hours or days to mere minutes.
Talk to a metal fabricator today to see about getting engraved signage for your company. A professional in the industry will be able to discuss your needs with you and determine how much your signs will cost and how much time they will take to produce. He or she can also give advice on any questions you may have.
Stainless steel is a versatile metal that people around the world use for projects of all sizes, from buildings to watches. You likely use stainless steel every day without realizing it. Although you use this metal so often, how much do you really know about it?
Consider these interesting facts about stainless steel the next time you use this common metal.
1. Stainless Steel Was Discovered During a Weapon Experiment
In 1913, Harry Brearley, a metallurgist, performed experiments on metals in an attempt to produce a stronger material for weapons. After several months, he realized that a 13% chromium steel hadn’t corroded since he started his experiment. This combination later became known as stainless steel.
2. Stainless Steel Can Be Magnetic Depending on Its Structure
Many assume that stainless steel isn’t magnetic, but the truth is more complex. Most stainless steel falls into two types based on its crystalline structure: austenitic and ferritic. Austenitic stainless steel, which contains more chromium and nickel to maintain its structure, is not magnetic. Ferritic stainless steel is magnetic.
However, over 70% of the stainless steel produced is austenitic, so don’t be surprised when a magnet won’t stick to the front of your stainless steel refrigerator.
3. Many Famous Buildings Are Made From Stainless Steel
Many famous buildings use stainless steel, such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA. This concert hall hosts various musical events, including performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The outermost layer of this concert hall was constructed from stainless steel with a matte finish to produce a reflective exterior.
The Chrysler Building, an iconic part of the New York City skyline, is another well-known building made from stainless steel. While some speculate that the spire on the Chrysler Building is made of car hubcaps, this spire—and the sunburst pattern beneath it—is actually made from stainless steel.
Stainless steel has also been used to restore famous buildings and structures. In 1984, engineers used stainless steel as structural support for the Statue of Liberty. Similarly, the historic Palm House at Kew Gardens in London, England was restored with stainless steel glazing bars to prevent further corrosion in the greenhouse environment. The stainless steel was painted white to maintain the original appearance.
4. You Can Recycle Stainless Steel
Like other types of steel, stainless steel can be recycled. In fact, it may be one of the most environmentally friendly metals to produce. At the end of its life, as much as 92% of stainless steel can be reused in new stainless or carbon steel. On average, 60% of any stainless steel product comes from this recycled content.
Contact your local recycling facility about recycling your stainless steel products or scrap.
5. Stainless Steel Changes Shape in Different Temperatures
Stainless steel can change shape when exposed to extreme heat. Many industries use the ductile capabilities of stainless steel to create various products. They can form stainless steel into thin sheets, tubes, wires, or bars. Some companies use stainless steel in carpets or as soap as well.
When manufacturers use stainless steel to create products, they have to consider thermal expansion. Construction companies that use stainless steel in buildings must consider how much the steel may change shape. For example, the Eiffel Tower is made from stainless steel and shrinks by six inches in cold weather.
Stainless steel has unique properties that make it an ideal material for various applications. If you would like to fulfill your next project using stainless steel, contact A.J.C. Electrical Service Pty Ltd and ask about custom-made stainless steel fabrication.
For more advantages of stainless steel, check out our other blog posts.