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Stainless steel is a remarkable alloy of steel and chromium. It is highly resistant to corrosion and is virtually inert in that it does not react with most chemicals etc (hence the term “stainless”). As a consequence stainless steel conveyors very easy to keep clean (in the sense of ‘sterile’). It is also non-ferrous, which means that stainless steel conveyors are not susceptible to (nor does it interfere with) magnetic fields.
In addition to these properties, it is also stronger than mild steel. On the down side, it is much harder to machine, is less ductile, and - of course - it is MUCH more expensive than mild steel.
Stainless steel comes in a number of grades. We normally use "304" grade, which is the standard industrial grade of stainless steel. If required, we can make conveyors out of the "316" or "Marine Grade" stainless steel, which has enhanced anti-corrosion properties. This is normaly only be used for conveyors that may be exposed to salt water, such as on boats or dockyard facilities. (hence the sobriquet "Marine" ).
The term "Stainless Steel Conveyors" requires some qualification; is the entire system stainless, or just the belt ? It is possible to get stainless steel conveyor belts; usually mesh belts (used extensively in food preperation), but also slat and platelink belts; these tend to be used more in specialist industrial processes, often involving high-temperature furnaces. At the other end of the scale, food preperation factories often use ladder-belt or enrober lightweight stainless steel belts, particularly for handling dough. Not only can the belt transfer dough through an oven, but - being an open mesh - it can allow air circulation to cool the baked loaf after it emerges from the oven. Normally both the belt - and the frame (and supporting steelwork) - would be stainless steel as well.
However, a conveyor may have a stainless steel frame, but a fabric belt such as PU or Silicon. These hybrid constructions are quite popular, and tend to be used predominantly in the food industry as both the frame - and the belt - are designed to be easily cleaned, and resistant to bacteria etc, but are lighter (and more economical) than a steel belt.
Stainless steel framed conveyors - with fabric belts - are also often used in light-weight applications in Science/Research industries, and the Pharmaceutical industry. A popular construction is for a stainless frame, but plastic modular (or plastic slat) POM belting, allowing the conveyor to describe curves and loops.
For more information on stainless steel conveyors, or any other CCL conveyors or conveyor systems, call us on 01509 974215 today for an informal, no obligation chat. We’re here to listen to your conveyor enquiry and help provide you with complete conveying solutions.