Stainless Steel Fabrication

304 vs 316L Stainless Steel

Optimized Metal Manufacturing Solutions with Sawyer Fabrication 

Steel comes in a variety of different grades and alloys, each one optimizable for different fabrication methods and products. Structural strength, hardness, aesthetics, price…all of these attributes must be considered when choosing the optimal material for your custom-fabricated parts and assemblies.

At Sawyer Fabrication, we regularly manufacture precision parts from a diverse range of steels and alloys. Two of the most common that come through our shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma are 304 steel and 316L steel. Here’s an overview comparing and contrasting some of the benefits and differences between the metallurgy of 304 and 316L steel.

The Metallurgical Properties of 304 Stainless Steel

304-grade stainless steel is the most commonly used steel in a number of modern commercial and industrial manufacturing applications. 304 steel is a great metal for custom fabrications because it is both cost-effective and extremely structurally sound. These qualities make it perfect for large construction projects such as stainless steel railings and scaffolding.

Stainless steel 304 is also commonly used in metallic piping for oil and gas sector products as well as non-corrosive liquid storage tanks in a range of ASME pressure vessel applications. The primary drawback of 304 stainless steel is that it is prone to rust and corrosion over time. This can quickly cause an unsightly aesthetic finish and lead to structural issues down the road if left unchecked.

316L Stainless Steel: Improved Strength and Corrosion-Resistance

316L-grade stainless steel is actually created from 304 steel. Molybdenum – an alloy that is known to be especially ductile and corrosion-resistant – is added to the base 304 steel in order to enhance its metallurgical properties.

Essentially, molybdenum increases the strength of the 304-grade steel, making it more durable and structurally sound. Simultaneously, the added molybdenum drastically increases the alloy’s rust resistance and anti-corrosion properties. This makes 316L-grade stainless steel especially effective in oil and gas applications, marine environment components, and other commercial metal products subjected to harsh environmental conditions.

Sawyer Fabrication Is Your Single-Source American Manufacturer Providing Premium Material Solutions

From the material design stages to the welding and fabrication of your precision components, Sawyer optimizes the production process to deliver cost-effective quality in your commercial application. We deliver both precision and efficiency by fine-tuning our diverse manufacturing services to match your unique products and market.

Sawyer Fabrication’s team of skilled craftsmen are experienced with a wide variety of these steel types and can customize any project you have in mind. Contact us today to find out more.

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