Stainless steel is an exceptionally strong material that is resistant to many types of liquid, gaseous and chemical corrosion. It takes a lot to tarnish this substance and it performs well in a variety of different material applications. In fact, because many stainless-steel grades can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures, it’s a popular material of choice for the pipe and oil industry. Restaurants, craft breweries and medical equipment companies rely on its resistance to bacterial growth, making it a safe choice for food preparation, medical needs and for moving corrosive chemicals.
On the other side of the equation, stainless is an expensive metal — three to five times more costly than mild steel. When it comes to welding this costly material, it can be a tricky choice for several reasons.
Is welding stainless steel difficult?
Stainless steel retains heat very efficiently, which makes welding it a bit more difficult especially for the novice welder. When faced with excessive welding heat, stainless steel can warp from the high temperatures and even distort during the cooling process. It can also be very unforgiving aesthetically as it displays every blemish and scratch mark that’s left behind. Similarly, if you’ve ever welded on a metal table, you know to take precautions before starting because it scratches so easily. All of that to say that stainless steel is not very forgiving when it comes to hiding mistakes and tends to favour an experienced welder. Stainless Steel often requires welding after it has been cut into shape by our laser cutting team.
What welding process is best for stainless steel?
The not-so-simple answer is, it depends on what result you’re trying to achieve. Stainless steel can be welded with shielded metal arc welding (MIG), gas tungsten arc welding (TIG) and stick welding, and each of these processes will produce a slightly different result. To find the best welding process for your project, consider the following factors: the welder’s skill level, the aesthetics of the final piece including bead appearance, the thickness of the metal plus the costs and timing factors of the project. If artistry is paramount, then the finesse of TIG welding could be a good fit, but if speed and efficiency are a priority, then MIG welding may be a better process.
If you require high quality, professional welding or sheet metal fabrication, then feel free to get in touch with the Emsea team who will be more than happy to discuss your project and provide a free quotation.