Stainless steel is one of the most widely-used materials in industrial hardware. This metal is used for everything from nuts and bolts to long pieces of wire ropes and chains. There are countless reasons why this material is preferred for industrial applications – namely, its strength, durability, and natural corrosion resistance.
Due to the increase in demand for stainless steel hardware, production of this metal has increased by over 10% in the past few years. There are countless stainless-steel hardware suppliers offering these products – giving customers lots of options to choose from. However, this type of hardware is often significantly more expensive, so you want to make wise investments.
Here’s what to consider when buying industrial stainless-steel hardware:
1. Make Sure that Stainless-Steel is the Best Option
Although stainless steel has a very high breaking strength and is renowned for its durability, it is not always the best material to use for specific applications. Stainless steel has its limitations. It is considered to be a fairly soft metal, meaning that it can warp under extreme pressure.
Further, stainless steel can negatively react with aluminum due to its positive and negative charges in the metals. If these metals are connected and interact with an electrolyte (such as salt water), it results in galvanic corrosion.
Of course, there are circumstances when stainless steel hardware is the better option. It is certainly the ideal choice for any applications that will be in contact with water or moisture. It is also generally longer-lasting and has a more appealing, shiny finish than other types, such as galvanized steel.
2. Double Check the Grade
There are various grades of stainless steel with numbers that depict the number of alloys added to the steel. Stainless steel is made of a combination of other metals, including:
Each of these additives provides benefits to the steel. For example, chromium increases its strength while also adding a shiny finish. Varying these alloy compositions can also impact the strength and durability of the stainless steel hardware itself. So, before you buy, pay attention to the grade offered.
For industrial hardware, the most common types of grades you’ll find are 304 and 316. The key difference is that grade 316 has molybdenum added, while 304 does not. Grade 304 stainless steel is incredibly common and durable, often used for construction purposes. Its main weakness is that it will corrode if exposed to chloride solutions.
Grade 316 stainless steel is slightly more expensive, but it also has far higher corrosion resistance to chloride and industrial solvents. This type of metal is preferred for industrial equipment, marine equipment, and medical or food production equipment.
3. Choose the Right Stainless Steel Hardware Supplier
If you take a look, you’ll find countless stainless steel hardware suppliers from all over the world. So, finding the best distributor can be a challenge, especially if you require large quantities for big projects.
When looking for a stainless steel hardware wholesaler, it’s best to partner with one that offers a large variety of sizes, types, and materials. You don’t want to have to search around for another supplier if you need to place an order for a different kind of hardware than usual.
Make sure that their inventory offers a full range of stainless steel hardware products that you’ll need. This should include bolts, clips, links, nuts, shackles, swivels, thimbles, and turnbuckles all made of varying sizes and grades.
4. Double Check Safety Factors
Make sure that you are getting the right equipment for the task at hand based on safety factors and working load limits. The grade and size of the hardware can change the breaking strength of the product.
This is very important for all applications, but especially for rigging and overhead lifting equipment. If these numbers are miscalculated, your hardware could bend or break, resulting in a dangerous situation. Always be sure to double-check the working load limit of every equipment piece you purchase and be sure it matches the expected workload.
5. Consider Maintenance and Upkeep
Since stainless-steel hardware is more expensive than other types of metal, you want to prolong your investment by taking care of the metal properly. Although stainless steel is pretty good at resisting corrosion on its own, it is always a good idea to keep the hardware as dry as possible.
Cover up any unused hardware in a dry container away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Avoid harsh cleaning products, as some chemical solutions can damage the metal. Putting a bit of effort into the care of your stainless steel hardware can help to keep it in premier condition for longer, so you don’t need to spend as much replacing the products.
Over to You
Stainless steel hardware can make a big difference in the durability and strength of your final product. While this equipment tends to be a bit pricier than other metals, the durability and corrosion resistance of this material are unmatched.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing stainless steel hardware is choosing top-quality products for improved performance. You can trust Elite Sales to offer top-rated hardware with customer service that can’t be beaten. We also carry a wide variety of sizes, types, and steel grades to match just about any application.