Stainless Steel: 304 or 316?

Stainless steel resists rust and corrosion while preventing scaling, and that makes it the ideal solution for casters being used in wet, outdoor, clean and high-temperature environments. Once you’ve decided on stainless steel, you then have the choice of 304 or 316-grade stainless. In this issue of CasterU, we give the information you need to make the right decision.

6809 Series: S6859-A45H-MPU-RB [304 Stainless Steel]

Stainless steel is actually a mixture of steel and a minimum of 10.5% chromium. The chromium keeps the steel from oxidizing, rusting, corroding, and eventually staining, so it really is stain-less.

304-grade Stainless Steel
The most common grade of stainless steel is SAE 304. “SAE” is the Society of Automotive Engineers, the organization that standardizes and designates various grades. 304 Stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. When used in casters, it is:

  • Work-hardened – steel that becomes stronger and harder through a bending and forming process
  • Electro-polished – Untreated stainless steel has a very dull look. Because super-clean items are expected to be brilliantly reflective, we electro-polish our stainless steel casters.
  • De-burred – After being stamped, stainless steel components often have razor-sharp edges that can be a hazard. We de-burr the material to ensure no one gets hurt.
  • De-magnetized – Stainless steel is often used in laboratories and environments containing sensitive equipment. De-magnetizing minimizes the impact on the surroundings.

Many Algood casters and wheels are available in 304 stainless steel and come with a full range of stainless steel components.

MAXX9 Series: S6559-A38H-NYNW-RB [304 Stainless Steel]

316-Grade Stainless Steel
316 Stainless is made up of 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. There’s a little more nickel and a little less chromium than in 304. However, the big difference is the molybdenum, a chemical element used for the strengthening and hardening of steel. The higher molybdenum content greatly increases the corrosion resistance of 316, providing superior resistance to chlorides and acids.

That makes 316 an ideal upgrade for technology production facilities that require an environment that is free of any contaminants. It’s also ideal for settings with strict hygiene and cleanliness standards, like pharmaceutical, hospitals and healthcare locations. Since sterilization processes in these industries combine both strong disinfectants with high temperatures to prevent contamination, a resistant alloy like 316 is ideal. 

Our Maxx9 and 7009 series casters can be produced using 316-grade stainless steel

Other applications for both 304 and 316 stainless steel include:

  • Chemical processing and storage equipment.
  • Refinery equipment
  • Medical devices
  • Marine environments, especially those with chlorides present
  • Medical equipment and implants
  • Foodservice, processing, and preparation environments
  • Coastal environments
  • Areas with high salt levels (such as roadways)
  • Brewing facilities

To find out more about which grade of stainless steel is right for your project, contact your local Algood representative or a member of our customer service team.

1 (800) 254-6633

Algood Casters has manufactured, designed and developed industrial and specialty casters, brakes and wheels since 1969, in capacities from 25 to 65,000 lbs.