Information on Stainless Steel
In the professional catering sector the term "stainless steel" is used to refer to metals belonging to different families, commonly used for the construction of equipment and appliances.
Among the most widely used alloys three stand out for their properties: AISI 304, AISI 201 and AISI 430.
Although these alloys may look like very similar, they differ mainly due to their chemical composition:
- AISI 304 steel is the standard stainless steel in the food industry. This steel (austenitic) is suitable for corrosive environments; in fact, the simultaneous presence of Nickel and Chromium gives this alloy the ability to maintain its performance in terms of resistance to corrosion over the time.
- AISI201 steel (austenitic) has become more popular due to the low presence of Nickel in the alloy. Nickel is in fact an expensive element and subject to large price variations on the market; by reducing the amount of Nickel it is possible to reduce simultaneousely the overall cost of the alloy. This means a lower purchase price, while ensuring mechanical characteristics almost comparable to those of AISI 304 steel.
- The same popularity has been gained over time by the AISI 430 steel (ferritic): it has a high content of Chrome; at the same time it does not use Nickel as an alloying element. In recent times the 400 family of steels, AISI 430 in particular, has reached a wide use in the world of food industry as a valid alternative to the more noble and expensive AISI 304.
The aspect of corrosion resistance certainly plays an important role when choosing the type of steel to be used. AISI 304, although expensive, is the ideal candidate for humid highly corrosive environments; for less aggressive environments, AISI 201 and AISI 430 represent an excellent compromise between the cost of the material and the performance.