Stainless steel fabrication plays an important role in nearly all sectors of industry today. From skyscrapers to shopping malls to home renovation projects, stainless steel plays an essential role as it can be fabricated into any desired shape or design depending on the application.
Stainless steel is an ideal material for structural fabrication. It is both extremely flexible, but also extremely durable and can be shaped, moulded, and formed into a huge range of shapes and designs.
One of the unique aspects of stainless steel is that it is the ideal material for work-hardening – the fabrication process will actually make the material stronger and more durable for use under heavy loads and in machinery that is required to work for long periods of time.
These properties make stainless steel the ideal material for architectural metal fabrication projects. Stainless steel has quickly become the primary choice of material for most builders, engineers, contractors, and architects due to the quality, reliability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability that it offers.
Grades of stainless steel
Not all stainless steel is fabricated in the same way. Depending on the project, different grades of stainless steel can be more appropriate.
Stainless steel, at its most basic, is an alloy of iron and several other elements, of which chromium is just one. Other elements include nickel, carbon, and molybdenum. The addition of chromium makes stainless steel more resistant to corrosion than plain iron or steel.
The different grades of stainless steel are identified by their content on alloying elements and these impact on their mechanical properties and corrosion resistance.
Read more about the most common grades of stainless steel used in architectural projects.
Common applications of stainless steel fabrication
Construction and architectural engineering are two of the toughest industries in the world. Catering not only for the growing urbanisation throughout the world but also the increasing demands on design, the materials required to support these industries are also required to be strong and extremely durable.
Stainless steel fabrication has come a long way. Modern technology, machinery, and design software mean that stainless steel fabrication is on a different level compared to a decade ago. These changes in the fabrication process enable metal fabricators to do more through the use of various metal fabrication processes including cutting, folding, welding, machining, punching, stamping, forging, casting, and shearing. Learn more about the types of metal fabrication processes.
Stainless steel fabrication is most commonly used in the following projects:
- High-rise buildings – the strength, low weight and durability makes stainless steel an ideal material for high-rise commercial and residential buildings.
- Warehouse buildings – stainless steel is relatively cost-effective which makes it an ideal material for building large structures like commercial warehouses.
- Industrial buildings – as well as warehouses, any large-scale industrial buildings benefit from the low cost of using stainless steel as the primary material in construction.
- Temporary structures – due to the weight and ease of construction, stainless steel is an ideal material for temporary structures. As stainless steel is 100% recyclable, this also makes temporary structures more sustainable.
Benefits of stainless steel
Stainless steel is gaining in popularity as a building material. Architects and Engineers are designing more structures where Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) is highlighted as a design element.
Lower alloy grades resist corrosion in normal atmospheric and potable water environments, while the more highly alloyed grades can resist corrosion in many acids and alkaline solutions, and some chloride bearing environments, properties which are widely utilised in process plants. These characteristics make stainless steel not only the perfect match for architecture but also a very hygienic material, perfect for use in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Strength and durability
Framing materials of stainless steel are exceptionally high in strength. They also have high ductility. That means the framing members behave well when exposed to tensile stresses. High strength grade stainless steel provides superior structural support while allowing for a reduction in material thickness. So, this is a cost-saving advantage over conventional grades of stainless steel.
Using stainless steel framing components in your building construction is helping to reduce the carbon footprint on the environment. A stainless steel alloy is almost 100 per cent recyclable. Any waste produced in the manufacturing process can be reused to make more steel. Demolished steel framing can also be repurposed. This means it’s hard to find a more sustainable building material than stainless steel.
Ease of fabrication
Modern steel manipulation techniques mean that stainless steel can be cut, welded, formed, and fabricated as readily as traditional steel and other materials. At SRS, we utilise stainless steel for a wide range of fabrication jobs including marine fabrication where we use 316 marine grade stainless steel which offers long-lasting, low maintenance, non-corrosive solutions.
Stainless steel is more cost-effective than a lot of other building materials. Prices are typically very stable and have remained affordable for manufacturers and consumers. Its flexibility means it is adaptable for a wide range of commercial, industrial, and residential applications. Since it is lighter and stronger than other building materials, it also means that designers and architects can use less material to achieve the same outcome, making it not only cost-effective but also more aesthetically pleasing.
Stainless steel is a strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant material that has become a staple building material for architects around the world and is one that is used here at SRS for a wide range of fabrication projects. Talk to the team today about the use of stainless steel and the practical applications in fabrication, building and architecture.