With regard to selecting the right enclosure material, design engineers need to work in a certain way. From aluminium and plastic to stainless and zinc coated steel, there is a wide variety of types of coverage materials in the market.
Stainless steel is highly popular for outdoor enclosures with many benefits and uses. Reputed for its resilient properties, stainless steel enclosures are frequently used in sensitive industrial environments like breweries, bakeries, dairy mills and other food processing industries, and also, oil & gas industry and hospitality industry.
What Is Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is made of a minimum of 10.5% of Chromium. It comes in several grades, and it is vital that design engineers understand features of various grades. There are at least 50 grades of stainless steel, but most commonly used are of 2 types: Grades 304 and 316.
- 304 stainless steel
It is most commonly used in the industry. Long lasting and durable, it is a highly economical choice for design engineers. It is also called 18-8 steel since it consists of 8% of Nickel and 18% of Chromium. It is highly resistant to corrosion except when exposed to salts like Chlorides. Because of these qualities, it is used in applications like transport industry, kitchens, hospitals, and wastewater treatment.
2. 316 stainless steel
It is high grade and is made of 2% Molybdenum, 10% Nickel and 16% Chromium. Molybdenum and Nickel enhance the corrosion resistance of steel against chlorides. This makes it a good choice in saline environments and industries with chemical processing.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Enclosures
While stainless steel may be the standard coverage material for many industries, it may not be right for every application. However, it is suitable for the following benefits:
- Corrosion resistance
One of the biggest advantages of stainless steel is its corrosion resistance properties. Though corrosion property of metals is unpredictable, stainless steel offers protection in sensitive equipment in hail, wind, rain, or snow. Stainless steel has a thin layer of chromium oxide on the surface, formed on contact with oxygen. This resists corrosion and helps in self-repair.
- Easy to clean
Stainless steel enclosures are found typically in healthcare as well as the food and beverage industry since they are easy to clean. They have a non-porous surface, which implies that bacteria cannot easily soak into the coverage. This helps to sanitize the environment.
- Easily modified and fabricated
The 304-grade stainless steel has virtually no fabrication limit. Being highly versatile, they can be built and modified to meet the needs of the majority of industrial applications.
Though some grades of stainless steel need more robust machining capacities, 304 grade enclosures are easy to cut into custom shapes and sizes.
- Tolerance to Temperature
Ideally suited for outdoor and indoor use, stainless steel coverages are highly durable and can withstand temperatures up to 1700 degree F. It is a poor conductor of heat thanks to its alloy structure. It has low thermal conductivity, which endows it with cooling capacities that help reduce heat build-up in electronic enclosures.
- Strength To Weight Ratio
This refers to the specific weight of coverage material and must be considered by design engineers because some applications call for light materials. Light materials are easier to work with and cost less. But engineers also wish that coverage material is adequately strong for their application. Being both light and strong, stainless steel has a high strength to weight ratio.
Stainless steel is highly sustainable and benefits the environment. It is 100% recyclable and can be reused many times. The passive layer of chromium makes it long lasting without any harm to people.
Stainless steel has an attractive appearance, which does not fade over time. Sleek, shiny and easily cleaned, it has both good looks and functionality.
These are all some benefits of stainless steel enclosures.