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Fifty Shades of Steel: Finishes in Stainless Steel Manufacturing

April 2nd, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an incredibly useful and versatile material for the containment of many different products. However, despite its popularity and versatility, sometimes stainless steel isn’t enough. It’s hard to believe but there are times when a customer needs more than just plain stainless steel. If you find yourself in that situation, fear not: Skolnik Industries offers finishes that can add or adjust the stainless steel’s qualities and performance in some ways…and no, unfortunately there aren’t 50 shades of finishes.

Stainless steel finishes are added to the size and gauge of steel deemed appropriate for the job by Skolnik and the customer. The finishes alter the properties of the stainless steel to create a more visually appealing look and/or to help the steel perform better for the intended use. In all cases, the finish has a positive impact on the overall condition of the drum. Think of it as a stainless steel facelift: the material underneath is the same, we’ve just enhanced it for the job.

Of all of the finishes available (again, not 50), finishes No. 2B, No. 3, and No. 4 are the most popular and often the most useful in stainless steel barrel manufacturing.

No. 2B – A mill finish that produces a matte grey appearance. 2B is highly resistant to corrosive but cannot be matched after fabrication so, while the finish is economical, it is not the most attractive color in the bunch. Over broad areas, the color may not be uniform, which, depending on your use, may deter you from choosing to use the finish.

No. 3 – Also known as “brushed.” This finish is achieved by using a git abrasive of 80-120 and produces a ground, unidirectional, uniform finish. The brushed finish simulates mechanical abrasions to leave a slightly reflective finish. If you picture the equipment in a brewery, commercial kitchen or science lab, you are probably picturing this brushed No. 3 finish.

No. 4 – Smooth as satin. This finish is achieved through a similar process as No. 3 but, by using a finer abrasive, No. 4 achieves an even smoother look often referred to as “Satin.”

While some choose to add a finish to their stainless steel barrels for cosmetic reasons, never hesitate to ask Skolnik to help you determine whether your barrel might need a finish for functional purposes. If you think you might need a finish, ask yourself what properties of pure stainless steel you need increased. Carefully consider the potential contents of a drum. Once you’ve determined your needs and/or consulted with the team at Skolnik, you can better decide which finish is the correct choice for your order.

Skolnik Industries works hard to create the perfect stainless steel barrels to fit customers’ needs, if you have any questions about which barrels you should be using and whether they require any alteration, finish or special liner, please consult our knowledgeable staff. We’ll help you get the job done right.