What is the Difference Between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel

In this article:

  1. What’s the difference between 304 and 316 stainless-steel?
  2. How is surface corrosion avoided on even the best grades of stainless steel ?
  3. Which grade of stainless steel is most popular for industrial applications?

Industrial monitors and panel PCs used in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical industries have stringent requirements to avoid product contamination, for them to be highly resistant to water, cleaning or sterilization wipe-downs and other industrial chemicals exposed in the factory.

Manufacturing the industrial monitor or panel pc with the right grade stainless-steel chassis or front panel means that it will meet the functional anti-corrosive requirements.

This ensures the product a long life, reducing the cost of ownership and ultimately, avoiding any risk of contamination.

What’s the difference between 304 and 316 stainless-steel?

In short, 304-grade stainless steel also known as “18/8 stainless steel,” contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, whereas 316-grade stainless steel contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum is added to help corrosion resistance to chlorides such as seawater.

304 Grade Benefits 316 Grade Benefits
·         Lower cost corrosion resistant option

·         Resistant to oxidation

·         No limitations on fabrication

·         UL NEMA 4X Rated & Certified

·         Superior corrosion resistance

·         Chlorine resistance

·         Offshore, marine & washdown applications

·         UL NEMA 4X Rated & Certified

How is surface corrosion avoided on even the best grades of stainless steel ?

Even when utilising the highest grade of stainless steel, a lack of care when preparing the surface can make even the best grades of stainless steel appear to be rusting.

If the proper care is not taken, iron from tools that were used on non-stainless grades of steel, can impregnate the surface of stainless steel. If the surface of stainless steel becomes “contaminated” with iron, it will develop corrosion stains from iron oxide, that will make even the best stainless steel appear to be corroding.

The original contamination cannot be seen with the naked eye or any basic magnification and it may take several weeks for the corrosion of the surface iron to become visible.

The fabricator should to ensure that tools and sanding belts used on stainless steel, are not used on any other metals.

Due to its lower cost, 304-grade stainless steel is much more common than 316 outdoor grade stainless steel for industrial use and is standard on all our stainless-steel displays and stainless-steel panel computers, meeting the the requirements for many of our industrial customers.

When 316-grade stainless steel is required, our manufacturing partners can make the neccessary customisation to our range of IP65 / IP66 / IP69K / NEMA 4X stainless steel products.

We recommend using 316 stainless steel instead of 304 stainless steel for outdoor applications where a industrial display or panel PC will be exposed to the elements, like on an oil rig, where the risk of chloride contamination would also be present.

This will not only increase the life span of the product, but it is much safer to be around.

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