Food vs Marine-Grade SS – What’s the Difference

Difference between marine and food-grade stainless steel

From basic needs to more complex necessities, stainless steel has become an indispensable component of the manufacturing industry. Stainless steel is an ideal material because it is an alloy that can meet the needs of any industry due to its mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, and low cost.

There are numerous factors to consider when deciding between the food and marine industries before investing in stainless steel equipment. When it comes to the food and beverage industry, the basic requirements are corrosion resistance, ease of cleaning, durability, and cost.

The number of processing units, the type of food or liquid, the chemicals present in or added to food, and the temperature used to heat or cool the food are just a few things that come to mind when considering the food and beverage industry. Various factories produce or process sauces, juices, milk, jams, and other products with varying pH values daily. Prolonged exposure to any equipment may result in cross-contamination and product spoilage, resulting in a massive loss. Furthermore, the surface of the processing equipment must be smooth and free of damage to facilitate the flow of the product.

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Better Material to Use for this than Stainless Steel

Among stainless steel grades, the best options would be grades 304, alloy 316, and grade 430. Alloy 316 is the most expensive of the three grades, while grade 430 is the least expensive. However, because they are non-toxic and do not react with the chemicals found in food, grades 304 and 316 are commonly used to manufacture sanitary products.

Most Demanded Grade in Food Processing Industries.

The low cost of grade 430 is one of the reasons why many food processing industries prefer it. Grade 430 is an alloy with a trace amount of nickel, explaining its lower cost. Furthermore, this alloy is resistant not only to nitric and organic acids but also to oxidation. As a result, alloy grade 430 can be used in mildly acidic conditions for an extended period. In contrast, grade 304, which is more expensive than grade 201, is a very popular alloy in the food industry and other areas.

Grade 304 is frequently regarded as an excellent alloy for processing food groups such as meats, milk, fruits, and vegetables. This is because the alloy not only discourages contamination by eliminating toxicity but is also simple to clean and long-lasting. Not to mention that, by many standards, alloy 304 is regarded as a cost-effective alternative in many industries due to its long service life and impressive corrosion resistance properties in food and beverage. Grade 316, on the other hand, is the most expensive of the three and closely follows grade 304 in popularity. While the alloy’s corrosion resistance and mechanical properties are far superior to grade 304, it is only used when suppliers require them on a much larger scale.

Comparison of 316 Marine grade stainless steel with other grades

On the other hand, when it comes to marine-grade stainless steel, grade 316 is the most commonly used. While grade 316 is suitable for on-shore or marine applications, it can underperform in pitting resistance, especially compared to many other alloys. For example, grade 316 has a PREN value of 25, Zeron 100 has a PREN value of 40, and SSC-6MO has a PREN value of 48.

Furthermore, Zeron 100 is highly resistant to stress-related corrosion cracking in halide-containing environments. Apart from pitting resistance, austenitic stainless steel grades such as UNS S32750 have a high yield strength of 570 MPa and can perform well at temperatures as low as -50°C. While super austenitic stainless steel grades 6 Mo and SSC-6MO, with their higher molybdenum content, often outperform the more commonly used 300 series and standard duplex stainless steels in marine environments, they retain their impressive corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. The marine and food industries are demanding industries that rely on durable stainless steel. As a result, many of our clients must identify the application’s requirements and the product being made before selecting the alloy to make the most of it.

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