This summer we have set ourselves to tackle the most common myths around stainless steel and see if we can bust them. In this first episode, we concentrate on the ever important question of stainless steel price.
Probably the strongest myth going around is: “Stainless steel is significantly more expensive than carbon steel.”
And that is why many manufacturers in the bus and coach building industry overlook the material as a structural choice and lean towards carbon steel which is considered less expensive – and ignore the multiple benefits that this low-weight and long-lasting material can offer.
But let’s take a look into a few facts:
- Our stainless steel tube prices are actually quite reasonable, our ferritic product prices start from under 2€ per kilogram.
- Carbon steel always requires galvanizing and / or e-coating to protect it from rusting. Protective coating equipment is an expensive investment in any bus line development project. Additionally, the time-consuming coating process increases the price of the finished product. As instead, the chemical composition of stainless steel make it naturally corrosion-resistant, preventing the need of extra protection.
- Carbon steel bus body structures are often also painted as an extra precaution. This too costs both money and time, adding further to the overall cost of the products.
- Galvanizing, e-coating and painting are not fool-proof methods. If the protective coating is compromised and the underlying metal exposed, corrosion will occur. This is always a risk for the safety of the structure and causes the need for regular checks and maintenance painting. Again, adding to the lifecycle costs of the finished product. Stainless steel body is more reliable than a coated body, not least because of the important self-protecting and self-correcting function of the stainless steel material.
- Stainless steel is very durable and its lifecycle is long, often multiplying its lifespan compared to carbon steel.
- When high strength stainless steel is used, considerable structural weight-savings can be gained, further reducing lifecycle costs and making up for the higher kilo price of the material: lower meter price brings down the material cost, material transport costs are lower, installation is easier and less expensive. As the finished vehicle is lighter in weight, cost savings are gained in fuel consumption.
These facts let us confidently state that, in bus and coach body and chassis structures, stainless steel as a material, has competitive pricing with carbon steel.
And more importantly, when considering the whole manufacturing process and the product lifecycle of the vehicle, stainless steel tubes and components used in bus structures often even result as the cheaper option.