Machining is a subtractive manufacturing process used to make a wide range of parts and products. One of the most commonly utilized materials for machining operations is stainless steel. It offers many beneficial properties, including excellent corrosion resistance, that make it suitable for use in a wide range of industries and applications.
Southern Spring & Stamping, Inc. is a premier provider of CNC machining services. Armed with extensive manufacturing experience and top-of-the-line machining equipment, we can machine a broad selection of materials to customer specifications, including stainless steel.
Types of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel refers to steel alloys that are made up of at least 10% chromium. The presence of chromium provides these materials with superior corrosion resistance and surface finish compared to carbon steels.
There are four main types of stainless steel available, each of which varies slightly in composition and, consequently, characteristics. These differences make them suitable for different applications.
- Austenitic stainless steels are non-magnetic. While they are highly formable, they cannot be heat treated. Additionally, they are corrosion resistant like all other stainless steels but susceptible to stress corrosion cracking.
- Ferritic stainless steels are magnetic. They are also less ductile and corrosion resistant than austenitic stainless steels. However, they offer greater resistance to stress corrosion cracking.
- Martensitic stainless steels are magnetic and heat treatable. They offer greater strength but lower corrosion resistance than ferritic stainless steels.
- Duplex stainless steels are a hybrid of austenitic stainless steels and ferritic stainless steels. They exhibit excellent strength and stress corrosion cracking resistance. Additionally, they are more amenable to heat treating but less suitable for cold forming.
What Are the Best Stainless Steel Alloys?
Each of the above types can be further into specific grades of stainless steel. Due to their many advantages, some of the most popular within the manufacturing sector are:
- 304. This grade is the most commonly used stainless steel alloy. It is an austenitic type that offers a high-quality surface finish. Typical applications include flatware, saucepans, sinks, and tubing.
- 316. This grade is the second most commonly used stainless steel alloy. It contains molybdenum, which improves its corrosion resistance. Typical applications include boat fittings, food processing systems, and laboratory equipment.
- 440. This grade contains between 16–18% chromium, 1% manganese, 1% silicon, 0.75% molybdenum, 0.04% phosphorus, 0.03% sulfur, and between 0.6–1.20% carbon. It can be hardened, which allows it to have the greatest hardness of all stainless steels. Typical applications include ball bearings, dies, molds, and valve components.
Industries and Applications of Stainless Steel Machined Parts
Many parts and products can be machined from stainless steel. Typical industries that rely on stainless steel machining for their components and assemblies include:
- Chemical processing
- Food and beverage processing
- Military and defense
- Oil and gas
Stainless Steel Machining Capabilities at Southern Spring & Stamping
Our facilities in Florida and North Carolina enable us to offer stainless steel machining services to customers throughout the east coast and other regions in the United States. They are equipped with the newest technologies and tools to ensure we can provide the best possible support for our customers’ machining needs.
Our stainless steel machining capabilities include:
- Internal forming
- Parting or cutting
- Thread milling
We can provide custom stainless steel parts and products up to 40 inches in length and 20 inches in height. Our production capacities range from prototype to production quantities.
In addition to our precision machining capabilities, we provide a range of value-added services to ensure we can serve as a single source for all custom machined component needs. These services include powder coating, color coating, welding, grinding, tumbling, deburring, chamfering, stress relieving, forming, self-clinching hardware installation, shot peening and blasting, packaging, silk screening, electroplating, heat treating, and assembly.