Ever wondered how stainless steel is made? You may have seen different forms of the metal because it is one of the most commonly used metals around the world. From spring hard stainless steel strips to construction T-bar to injection syringes – a lot of things are made of steel that is used every day. Today we will take a quick, but detailed glance at the process of manufacturing stainless steel.
A little history
Today steel is used everywhere. And like we said, you will find its use in household to large-scale industrial applications spring hard stainless steel strips for example. But, the user is not so common until later part of the 20th century. The primary ingredient in stainless steel is chrome. Chromium forms a protective oxide film on top of steel which prevents rust and thereby adds durability and long-term protection against humidity and rust. Back in the day, it was called non-rusting steel. Stainless steel is made to look shiny and that happens mainly because of the application of chromium in the process. For most part, stainless steel manufacturing is dependent on recycling old scrap, mostly stainless steel scrap.
From scrap to stainless steel – recycling old scrap
Tons of stainless steel scrap is fed into a roaring furnace. Electrodes inside the furnace heat the steel to its melting point. The molten steel is then fed into a different sort of fun is where oxygen is blasted which removes impurities and forms in the form of slurry and gas which moves to the top of the surface, which is then removed. During this process, a technician checks to temperature and makes sure that the chemical process is going on as planned. More scrap is added to the molten masses in small phases.
Refining and cleaning molten steel
The boiling and bubbling steel enters a refining furnace where the temperature drops slowly and takes shape inside moulds. This results in semi rigid steel which is cut in strips or slabs of 5 yards, or as per specification of the steel manufacturer. Each slab or strip is identified by writing a number on the surface using special chalk designed to write on hot metal. After this process is done, thin film of rust develops on top of the surface which is removed with the help of a waterjet that is applied directly on top of the hot metal.
Once this process complete, the slabs or strips of steel are rolled with the help of a machine and transferred to a different station where the steel is softened in an acid bath. This takes care of surface pores and makes it look shiny and smooth. This is also the stage when chromium is added for an impeccable shiny look that we all identify with stainless steel.
So, now you know how the steel in spring hard stainless steel strips is manufactured.