Home Expert view Why Stainless Steel is not as difficult to process as thought

Why Stainless Steel is not as difficult to process as thought

In this blog series we are tackling common myths about stainless steel and see if we can bust them. In the second blog of the series we talk about the important aspect of processing stainless steel. 

One of the myth circulating especially among engineers is:  “Stainless steel is difficult to weld, bend and process.” 

This is one of the reasons many structural engineers in the bus and coach building industry overlook the material as a structural choice and choose carbon steel and aluminum that are considered easier to process  – and are left unaware of the multiple benefits that this highly corrosion-resistant and long-lasting material can offer for vehicle design.

We have good news for you! Here are

Five facts to contradict processing prejudices:

  1. Is stainless steel stiffer than carbon steel? NO. The elastic modulus of carbon steel is 210GPa, with stainless steel it’s 200 GPa. So, their stiffness is on a very similar level and contrary to the myth, stainless steel is NOT mechanically stiffer or a more rigid material than carbon steel.
  2. Is stainless steel really difficult to cut? NO. Stainless steel hollow sections can be cut by conventional band and circular saws. For cutting Lean Duplex we recommend laser cutting – it can be done with conventional saws too but the higher strength of the material may require special type of saw blades.
  3. Is stainless steel hard to bend properly? NO. There are many stainless steel materials and grades to choose from, and especially the Ferritic and Austenitic tubes bend well and are suitable for bended structures such as roof arches. The high strength Lean Duplex tubes on the other hand are optimal in places where extra reinforcement is needed. The key with stainless steel is to use the right materials in the right places and this is where our material design expertise comes in play!
  4. Is stainless steel impossibly hard to weld? NO. Stainless steel is not harder to weld than carbon steel if you use the right tools and materials. Stainless structural tube materials are weldable with all conventional welding methods such as TIG, plasma and MAG welding, and they can also be welded together with other materials such as carbon steel. For Duplex grades we recommend pulsed arc MAG welding and there are some limitations to which welding gases should be used, but that’s it. Our welding experts help you with choosing optimal welding methods, welding wires and shielding gases for each welding seam in your project.
  5. Is stainless steel impossibly hard to process further? NO. Stainless steel can also be further processed, for example hole and shape cutting can be performed easily and precisely with modern laser cutting tools.

Don’t be afraid of stainless steel! It is an excellent structural material choice for transport industry and not that hard to work with than you previously might have thought.

In addition, our experts are here to help you with all the details when it comes to choosing the right stainless steel materials for your project and finding the optimal equipment, methods and materials for their processing.

And finally, let me remind you of the great

Benefits of stainless steel:

  1. Excellent corrosion resistance: no need for galvanizing or painting. You save in production time and costs, maintenance costs, life cycle costs, carbon footprint
  2. Extremely long life-cycle brings significant savings in product lifecycle costs
  3. 100% recyclable and high recycled raw material content: environmentally friendly, less C02 emissions during lifecycle, high end-of-life value
  4. Lighter structures: Using high strength stainless steel in the right places of the structure brings weight savings that generate savings in fuel costs, product lifecycle costs, carbon footprint and more!