Due to its versatility, stainless steel has become very popular in the fabrication industry. The fabrication of stainless steel produces a wide range of components with different applications. For this reason, steel fabrication uses the following efficient techniques:
Work hardening involves strengthening stainless steel through deformation. In comparison to other types of steel, stainless steel hardens faster depending on the type of alloy it contains. Before the hardening process, it is essential to determine the type of steel grade to match it with the right hardening treatment. For instance, austenitic steel has a higher hardening rate and requires cold-working treatments. The work hardening of stainless steel is fast, which provides some benefits. Its hardening quality makes stainless steel useful for projects that require strong and rust-free materials. These benefits make stainless steel the best material for components such as tools, valve parts and bearings.
Machining stainless steel
Machining is the second fabrication process of stainless steel. Austenitic steel is difficult to machine, but manufacturers have designed a way around this. The machining of stainless steel requires a large amount of power for the effectiveness of the machining tool. The machining tool should also be free of vibrations by being sturdy. Steel is machined through a melting process. This process improves its machinability without removing its good qualities such as weldability and formability. The melting process achieves the desired chemical composition, which determines the grade of the stainless steel.
To ease the machining process, lubricants and coolants are necessary. Large tools are also used to reduce the heat produced during machining.
Each type of steel has a different welding capability depending on its categorisation. Austenitic steel, for instance, has a low carbon content and it is susceptible to sensitisation. Due to its sensitivity for cracking, it is not preferred for welding. Martensitic steel has a high sulfur content making it a good option for welding. Extreme caution is, however, necessary as it may be prone to cracking during heating and post-welding. The degree of efficiency during welding depends on the grade of stainless steel used.
This fabrication process involves joining stainless steel components with an adhesive. Sometimes, stainless steel can be bonded without any surface treatment. Mirror-finish steel, however, is hard to bond due to its smooth surface and it requires roughening to improve adhesion of bonding agent. Surface cleaning is, therefore, necessary to remove any dust or grease which is achieved through steam cleaning.