Stainless steel is a steel alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, though the average is between 16–18%. The addition of chromium, along with a small amount of nickel, gives stainless steel unique corrosion-resistance properties that make it ideal for food and beverage applications. In fact, over 30% of stainless steel in the industry is used to manufacture food and beverage equipment. Let’s take a closer look at why stainless steel is so popular for this industry.
Inherent Corrosion Resistance
The chromium element in stainless steel oxidizes the surface, making the material 200 times more resistant to corrosion than other types of steel. Stainless steel, therefore, has inherent biocompatible and hygienic properties that make it safe for food and beverage production. Stainless steel grades 304 and 316 have high chromium content and are two of the most popular types used in the industry.
Chromium not only oxidizes stainless steel, but it also produces a nonporous surface that is free of tiny cracks and holes where bacteria can hide and grow. In fact, stainless steel is a cinch to keep clean and can be repeatedly sterilized without degrading the material.
Safe for Food Processing
Stainless steel has been designated as a safe material for food and beverage production by 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. 3-A SSI is an independent not-for-profit corporation that is committed to advancing food safety through hygienic equipment design. This esteemed organization recommends stainless steel in all food and beverage processing equipment due to its natural ability to resist corrosion and bacteria growth.
With proper tools, such as a CNC plasma cutting table, stainless steel can be fabricated into nearly any shape to fit a wide variety of food processing applications. This malleable material is used in large equipment, such as vats, refrigerators, and countertops, and smaller items like cookers, grills, saucepans, and cutlery.
Though it is an easily workable metal, stainless steel is still exceptionally strong and offers impressive resistance to high temperatures. Stainless steel food and beverage equipment lasts for years with little maintenance required, and the stainless steel material is serviceable, further expanding its lifespan.
Fabricating Stainless Steel for the Food & Beverage Industry
Professional steel fabricators who specialize in manufacturing parts and equipment for food and beverage applications need the proper equipment to meet the needs of their customers. One of the most popular tools in the industry for fabricating stainless steel is a CNC plasma cutting machine. CNC plasma cutters can be programmed to speed up production and all but remove the possibility of cutting mistakes from occurring during the fabrication process.
A Trusted Choice for Custom Fabrication Companies
Machitech is a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty CNC plasma cutting tables for custom fabrication. Our solutions are fully customizable and include free and unlimited lifetime support. Contact us today to learn more.