Have you ever thought about how a simple sheet of stainless steel is transformed into a functional component?
If so, thanks to stainless steel fabrication, where a combo of science and craftsmanship come together to create structures and objects.
Now, how about adding a pinch of glamour and making them not only sturdy but also aesthetically appealing?
Well, that’s the job of stainless steel fabrication finishes. These finishes aren’t only about being beautiful but also tough. It’s stylish and creative, too.
Are you wondering about the different types of stainless steel finishes? Then, keep scrolling.
This article will help you dive into stainless steel finishes, their types, and their benefits.
What’s Stainless Steel Fabrication?
Stainless steel is also called inox, rustless steel, and corrosion-resistant steel. These names are derived from the fact that it is resistant to rusting and corrosion. To obtain the desired properties, it contains chromium, nickel, and other elements.
Stainless steel fabrication is when you work with stainless steel to make things using it. This process involves cutting, shaping, and assembling stainless steel pieces to create various products and structures.
What’s the Stainless Steel Fabrication Finish?
Stainless steel fabrication finishes refers to the surface treatments or textures applied to the stainless steel products or components during the manufacturing or fabrication process.
You may think that these finishes are more about looks. But they aren’t about looks alone. They easily impact stainless steel’s functions.
As already mentioned, stainless steel has high corrosion resistance and is temperature-resistant. But these factors can be affected by finishes. They can affect things like how well it resists corrosion, how easy it is to keep clean, and how long it lasts.
Welding experts from welding and fabrication in Melbourne state that when choosing a finish for the stainless steel fabrication, it must be based on three things:
- What the stainless steel will be used for
- The design needs to match
- Any specific functional requirements
What Are the Different Steel Fabrication Finishes?
Why do you need a stainless steel finish? To make the metal shiny and fancy, right? But not every metal needs to be made that way. For instance, factories don’t need the metal finish to be attractive. Rather, they expect it to be strong.
A dull finish for stainless steel leaves it as it is without doing any special work to make it look smooth and shiny.
So, stainless steel undergoes hot rolling to get a specified thickness. This is followed by annealing, a heat treatment process to make the material get its desired mechanical properties. The final output is a rough, unrefined appearance, plain metal. You can find these finishes in applications such as air heaters, gas turbines, baffles, furnace parts, and annealing boxes.
A matte finish in stainless steel fabrication can be compared to touching a piece of paper. When you touch it with your hands and leave a slight mark, you make it look a bit hazy.
It doesn’t look shiny, and you won’t find any strong reflections. Just a soft and gentle appearance. This finish is again dull or non-glossy.
How is this done? It’s by sanding or brushing the stainless steel, which creates a textured and partially rough surface.
Professional welders who provide welding and fabrication services in Melbourne say that this stainless steel fabrication is a popular choice for industrial, chemical, and food processing applications. In particular, it’s used for process vessels and tanks used in chemical and pharmaceutical processes, dry cleaning equipment, refrigeration units, etc. So, if a low-key, relaxed vibe that doesn’t look too flashy or sparkly is what you prefer, this is the finish.
Anyone can easily spot a brush finish due to its patterned lines. To get a brush finish, a special brush or abrasive material is gently rubbed on the steel’s surface. This process leaves lines or marks that all go in the same direction, kind of like combing your hair neatly. The brushing begins with 50 or 80-grit abrasives and is finished with 100 or 120-grit abrasives.
This is how this finish produces a distinctive pattern of fine parallel lines across the surface. So, the brush finish is a cool way to give it a unique texture. When compared to the mirror finish, this one looks less shiny. It’s often used on things like appliances, fancy handles, decorative pieces, or railings to make them look stylish and a bit less flashy.
No, brush finish and brushed finish aren’t the same. Though they are also characterized by short, uni-directional, even parallel polishing lines, the effects are totally different. For instance, the finer abrasives are anywhere between 120 and 320 grit, which is double that of a brush finish in stainless steel. So, it means that the steel surface has visible lines or brush marks, giving it a distinctive look. You can also think of brushed stainless steel as metal with style.
This finish is common and popular among architects as it suits appliances such as elevators and escalators.
As you have guessed from the name, the stainless steel fabrication has a polished finish. It comes with a reflective, mirror-like appearance and aesthetics. It’s like taking that steel and giving it a super-duper shine. You can even see your reflection in it, just like a mirror on the wall. The best part here is that the shiny finish isn’t just for looks. It’s also good at being smooth, and in fact, it has a smoother and more reflective surface than brushed finishes.
Welders from the top welding and fabrication companies in Melbourne often use polished stainless steel in fancy places, like high-end kitchens, beautiful buildings, or even cool cars. It’s all about adding that extra touch of class and making things look really nice.
If you can see yourself clearly, like when you get ready in the morning, it is called mirror finish. The welder will use a special process to make stainless steel fabrication super smooth and reflective.
The process includes treating the metal surface with a series of abrasives before polishing it a little extra for longer than other finishes. This finish has high corrosion resistance.
It’s unlike your average stainless steel, which might look dull. Instead, it’s so shiny you can see your reflection in it, just like a real mirror. This type of finish is highly preferred in applications that need bright, polished, and attractive surfaces. Some examples include high-end cookware, architectural elements, and automotive trim.
So, next time you see something that looks like a mirror but is made of metal, it will probably have a “mirror finish.”
Each of these finishes serves a different purpose, and the choice depends on what the stainless steel will be used for.
What Are the Perks of Stainless Steel Finishes?
Mirror finishes and brushed finishes are highly preferred for the aesthetic factor.
Highly polished and reflective stainless steel surfaces are ideal for architectural elements including handrails, sculptures, and interior decorative features.
Whereas, brushed finishes offer a matte finish. It’s suitable for applications like elevators, appliances, and architectural cladding.
Cleaning is made easy
When the stainless steel has a smooth, polished finish, it is easier to clean and maintain. For this reason, it’s suitable for applications in urban environments where pollution and contaminants are common.
Stainless steel with finishes are durable and has a long lifespan. This factor is crucial in architectural applications where structures are expected to endure for many years without deteriorating.
The best part is that these finishes can be customised to achieve the specific design requirements of a project. This versatility allows architects and designers to create unique and visually appealing structures.
Stainless steel is naturally resistant to corrosion, and it’s further enhanced by various finishes. This ensures that the elements, such as railings, cladding, and facades, maintain their appearance over time, even in harsh environmental conditions.
In industries like food processing and pharmaceuticals, stainless steel fabrication finishes with a smooth, polished surface are essential. These finishes resist bacterial growth and are easy to clean, maintaining high levels of hygiene.
Stainless steel fabrication finishes offer stainless steel fabricators numerous options to enhance both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of stainless steel products.
Understanding the various finishes available is essential to selecting the most suitable one for your specific application. But what truly makes stainless steel finishes interesting is their ability to quickly blend style with substance. Though some stainless finishes are chosen for their ability to resist corrosion and staining in harsh environments, others are selected to create a modern, sleek appearance.
If you are on the hunt for the best stainless steel fabrication services in Melbourne, get in touch with Ju Chen Welding Service. With over 30 years of experience in this industry, they can handle projects of different sizes and scales. If you have some burning questions about our services, get in touch.