Solutions to the problems of working with stainless steel
“The thermal conductivity of aluminum is about four and a half times that of stainless steel, and it is also cheaper. However, stainless steel tends to be the preferred material for heat exchangers because it is robust, durable, corrosion resistant and, finally, has a better long-term value.” Pol Dunoyer, Director of Global Business Development at Chicago Pneumatic
Stainless steel is one of the most widely used materials in industry for its intrinsic properties, which are given thanks to the combination of materials from which this alloy comes from (iron, carbon, chromium or nickel), being its great pillar, the fact of being resistant to corrosion, its good ductility, elasticity, hardness, wear resistance and resistance to changing temperature extremes.
And it is thanks to its great versatility that you must have the right equipment to work steel, since this hardness requires robust, durable, high-impact tools that are up to the demands of the material being worked.
Now, the question here is not the material being worked, but how to work it without compromising our equipment? It doesn’t matter if they are pneumatic or electric tools, you must know how to work them.
This is due to the fact that from time to time the market changes and new steel alloys appear, which the operators do not know and cannot work it in the usual way. So we must consider, at least in this case, the main problems involved in working stainless steel.
Overheating of tools when working with stainless steel
Having iron particles in its composition, stainless steel has a low conductivity, and when working it heats up locally, which makes cutting or removing material (including the removal of welding wires) more difficult and requires working it efficiently.
The best way to avoid overheating of the tools is to work them at speeds lower than 4000 rpm, since working at a slightly lower speed than usual, the friction is a little lower and prevents the material from heating up (others would believe that making cuts as fast as possible may be the best option, but it is not).
It is also very important to pay special attention to the way the tool is handled, since sometimes the tool is pushed hard against the material to be cut and this ends up causing overheating of the tool, and if this activity is carried out for a long time, the abrasive material will melt with the metal.
Acceleration of the cutting and grinding process
Some pipes and parts are very thin, so the grinding work becomes more complicated if you want to avoid damaging the product, and for this reason the cutting and grinding work must be done with great care, which is complicated when the production process requires speed.
Therefore, it must be assumed that when working with stainless steel some jobs will take longer than others, so the cutting and grinding work must be planned taking into account the time it may take to perform these tasks.
And finally, selecting the right abrasive can speed up the process while giving a better finish.
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Quality finishes when working on stainless steel
Achieving a quality finish is critical if you want to keep the process safe, and while there is no universal formula for achieving this, you should consider using the right inputs, pneumatic equipment and power tools.