A look at the stainless manufacturing process
Stainless manufacturing is a commonly used process for developing items that don't easily stain and are thus durable and dependable for many different functions. Stainless manufacturing often involves steel products that are used across multiple industries.
It is important to understand what the manufacturing process involves so you can gain helpful insights into the industry as a whole. The process involves five key steps:
The melting and casting stage
The stainless manufacturing process begins with heating and melting the raw materials that will form the final products. The components are heated in an electric furnace at high temperature for 8-12 hours.
The molten components are then molded into the forms that they will take in the finished product. They can be shaped into rids, slabs, rectangles or billets.
During the shaping stage, the semi-forms from the melting step are cast into various shapes through a combination of procedures. When shaping stainless steel products, the items are heated and then passed through large-sized rolls to be shaped into their final form. Billets can be shaped into bars and wires, while slabs from the melting stage can be formed into strips and sheets.
The heat treatment often follows the shaping process. Heating involves a process called annealing, where the product is heated and cooled repetitively under controlled conditions. Annealing is an important step as it results in the formation of more flexible and pure stainless products.
The annealing process is also very carefully controlled, and it requires specific conditions of temperature, pressure, and duration. When dealing with steel products, the stress that is inside the steel surface is loosened by annealing, making the final product much more flexible for multiple applications.
Descaling and cutting
Stainless steel is truly stainless due to the descaling process that occurs during annealing. Descaling involves removing scale that rises to the surface of the steel structures when they are being heated. This scale is often what causes staining in steel and other products.
After descaling, the semi-finished products are then cut into their final shapes by using blades, knives, and a process called blanking. It is easier to cut the items when they are still in this semi-heated phase.
Applying the finish
The last step that goes into stainless manufacturing is adding the finish to the final products. The finish is the material that gives shine and aesthetic appeal. Finishing materials also make the items smooth on the surface and much easier to clean.