Stainless steel alloys

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By Richard Smylie | Mar 31, 2017

As the preferred material for parts used in extreme environments, stainless steel has applications in industries including automotive and home appliance. With extensive experience working with stainless steel, GM Nameplate (GMN) can help customers choose the correct stainless steel alloy for their application.

Each stainless steel alloy is unique in element composition and elongation, resulting in differing performance capabilities, visual characteristics, cost profiles and elongation ratios. Elongation is the amount of expansion a metal under stress can endure given its original length. The two most common alloys employed in automotive and major appliance parts are the 300 and 400 series.

With superior elongation, the stainless steel 300 series is non-magnetic and employed where severe metal forming is required.  Prevalent in the automotive industry, the 300 series is also known for extreme corrosion resistance, crack resistance, and non-yellowing when subjected to high temperatures and brilliance. The automotive industry favors the 300 series for sill plates, liftgate trim and other vehicle accents that are exposed to extreme environments. For its durability under high temperatures, the 300 series is used in ranges for the home appliance industry as well.

The stainless steel 400 series is magnetic and has a smooth surface finish that is ideal for home appliance products. A disadvantage to the 400 series is that it is more susceptible to corrosion than the 300 series as it has less chromium and nickel. As a result the 400 series is more cost effective than the 300 series. The 400 series is the alloy of choice for cost-sensitive appliance applications such as dish washers and refrigerators.

After choosing the right stainless steel alloy, GMN can provide customers with industry-leading, metal decoration capabilities including selective mechanical finishing on stainless steel. GMN’s mechanical metal finishing capabilities include but are not limited to brushing, spinning, and tooled patterns.

In addition to mechanical finishing, GMN offers graphic finishing including premium coatings and inks. For more information on custom-engineered coatings and inks visit our previous blog post.