Stainless steel is widely regarded as the premium material for food and beverage manufacture, storage, preparation and transportation. Compared to materials like carbon steel or aluminium, stainless steel is superior because it will not rust. It is also resistant to corrosion, pitting and cracking which can lead to contamination and hygiene issues.
Stainless steel is therefore a no-brainer in the food and beverage industry. But did you know that there are several types available?
Stainless steel comes in various grades and finishes. Choosing the right kind for your environment and processes will reduce your cleaning down-time, improve your hygiene standards and save you money.
So What Grade Of Stainless Steel Is Best?
In Australia, 316 grade stainless steel is generally regarded as the premium type. However, the 304 grade is actually the better grade for food and beverage enclosures. 316 grade steel is a versatile material that needs little maintenance, this makes it particularly effective when left outside without any treatment for long periods of time. 304 grade stainless steel however offers the same amount of is more resilient when taking into account to regular and vigorous chemical cleaning requirements which is essential in the food and beverage industry. It is also 20-30% cheaper than 316.
Which Finish Is Best For Food & Beverage?
Traditionally, most food enclosures used the No.4 finish. Recently however, most manufacturers have turned to the No.7 (400-grain) finish. This finish is finer and a lot less coarse than what was previously used across the industry. It ultimately comes down to what industry experts refer to as the ‘peak-to-valley’ ratio. If you look at stainless steel under a microscope, you will see valleys at the bottom where food and other contaminates can get stuck. This deteriorates the material over time. The smaller the peaks and valleys, the less chance you have of contaminates getting stuck.
Which Type of Stainless Steel Should I Use For My Food Enclosures?
The Food and Beverage Industry has many unique challenges. Hygiene and contamination prevention are a key priority and all equipment is subject to regular and rigorous cleaning. 304 grade stainless steel with a No.7 finish is therefore the best material for all food and beverage enclosures.
Find Out More
For more information on the best food enclosures for your business, check out our Ebook: Food and Beverage enclosures: What’s the future? Or for a one-on-one consultation about your company’s specific needs, contact our team of experts today.