Advantages Of Stainless-Steel Products For Industrial Refrigeration

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What is stainless steel for? Is it good as a material for cooling systems? When hygiene is really important and corrosion is a real risk due to the harshness of the environment, stainless steel products will be your ideal choice.

Industrial refrigeration piping and controls are often subjected to difficult operating conditions such as ice build-up, frequent defrost cycles, rapid thermostatic expansion, and harsh environmental conditions. Despite these difficult circumstances, the system must run smoothly to maintain a stable temperature and, most importantly, operate efficiently and safely.

Selecting the right materials is a crucial and often overlooked step in designing a successful industrial refrigeration process. That is why, in the following article, we will mention the importance of stainless steel within the refrigeration industry so that you take it into account.

What materials are used in the refrigeration industry?

Equipment and system construction continues to shift toward carbon steel, ductile iron, and cast steel to accepted industry standards for precision castingLinks to an external site.. Many existing valves and components in this industry have used such materials because they are suitable for low-temperature applications, durable and affordable.

However, in light of the mechanical integrity testing required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), other materials such as stainless steel may be the focus of future system design decisions.

Compared to stainless steel products, the costs associated with caring for other materials can increase maintenance costs over time.

Applications of stainless steel in industrial refrigeration

Typical application areas for refrigeration systems made of stainless steel are:

  • Brewing industry
  • Food production
  • Marine refrigeration
  • Dairy production
  • Meat processing, among others.

What types of stainless steel are used?

The most common types of stainless steel used in industrial refrigeration are austenitic stainless steels which include 304, 304L, 316 and 316L. If the product is constructed of austenitic stainless steel, the material will harden as the temperature is reduced.

Additionally, austenitic stainless steel has a much lower transition from ductile to brittle, making it preferred for cryogenic applications. As a result, industrial refrigeration systems in the food and beverage industries, operating at temperatures below but above freezing, generally do not consider the use of stainless-steel components.

However, the toughness of stainless steel may be the best alternative for the harsh operating conditions of low-temperature systems. The increased focus on mechanical integrity and pressure to reduce the cost of ownership over time make it the ideal material for industrial refrigeration systems.

While the build-up of ice and frost in industrial refrigeration systems increases susceptibility to corrosion, the chromium in stainless steel protects the surface from rust.

Why choose stainless steel?

Stainless steel is sometimes discarded because it is not as inexpensive as other materials, it is more difficult to machine, and it requires experienced welders. However, it offers greater strength in low-temperature applications, is lighter in weight, and has excellent corrosion resistance, eliminating the need for expensive surface paints.

On the other hand, stainless steel tubes are often available in longer lengths than steel tubes, which reduces the number of welds required and reduces installation costs.

In recent years in the industrial refrigeration industry, there is a greater focus on better process safety management). Safety, compliance, mechanical integrity, and cost of ownership lead to a selection of materials and components. To do this, you should consider that the stainless-steel application provides the industry with a material that verifies compliance, sound engineering practice, and the best long-term material investment.

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