Stainless steel is one of the very rare manufacturing materials which are absolute in their usefulness. The alloy is certainly not universally suitable or even recommended for all types of manufacturing of course, but when stainless steel is indeed a good option, chances are that it’s also the best option. To elaborate more on that, let’s look through the main advantages of using stainless steel in manufacturing.
It’s the Strongest, Practical Material Available for Large-Scale Manufacturing
A handful of materials do exist that are hundreds of times stronger than stainless steel, but none of them are as practically useable or available as stainless steel. These are either too expensive, too heavy, too malleable, or too rare for any manufacturer to consider them as practical alternatives to stainless steel for large-scale manufacturing.
We cannot manufacture heavy industrial machinery or construction rods with graphene, carbyne, or ionsdaleite. Titanium alloy can at times be the better option for sure, but it’s still too expensive, as well as being difficult to mold for manufacturers to consider it as a proper alternative. That may or may not change in the future, but stainless steel is the strongest material in manufacturing for now considering the dual aspects of availability and practicality.
Stainless Steel is Highly Resistant to Corrosion
Carbon steel is the weakest and “purest” variant of steel, as it’s basically what you get from metallurgically bonding carbon to iron. Despite being significantly stronger, durable, and corrosion resistant than base iron, plain steel (carbon steel) is still highly susceptible to corrosion.
However, that changes after the passivation of stainless steel, which is the process that turns plain steel into stainless steel by bonding it with an ultrathin layer of chromium. Post passivation, stainless steel gains massive resistance to corrosion, making it the best known sturdy material for manufacturing industrial cleaning and sanitization equipment.
Stainless Steel is Low Maintenance by Default
To understand why stainless-steel products are low maintenance, we only need to take a look back at two of the alloy’s previously mentioned advantages. Stainless steel does not corrode easily and it’s one of the strongest manufacturing materials available. This means any product manufactured from stainless steel will also be sturdy and durable from a mechanical standpoint. Consequently, metallic industrial equipment last longest when they are made from stainless steel. For manufacturers, using high quality stainless steel automatically earns them a seal of quality that no other material can match right now.
It should be noted that using aluminum alloys in manufacturing instead of stainless steel is cheaper and the resulting product will also be significantly lighter. However, unless there is a justifiable, long term advantage to using the lighter metal, stainless steel is still the better option for manufacturing heavy industrial equipment.
Aluminum is nowhere near as durable or corrosion resistant as stainless steel. Companies that work in food processing, agriculture, sanitation, and manufacturing, know enough to invest in equipment that would last much longer with a higher quality assurance.