Why Our Fermentation Tanks Are 304 and 316L Stainless Steel
Posted on April 21, 2022 by Cedarstone Industry Team
We believe in giving our customers the absolute best quality and craftsmanship in every piece. To that end, you will find that all our fermentation tanks are made from either 304 or 316L stainless steel. You already know that stainless steel is prevalent throughout food service and manufacturing. Perhaps you wondered why 304 and 316L are the materials of choice for fermentation tanks.
Steel is graded based on its main constituents and the properties it offers. All steel starts out as iron, to which manufacturers add a variety of additional components like chromium, nickel, and manganese. A particular product’s recipe tells buyers what they can expect from that product.
More About 304 Stainless Steel
The many advantages of 304 stainless steel makes it the most popular form of steel utilized by manufacturers worldwide. It is commonly used in food service, automotive manufacturing, electrical installations, steel piping, and even manufacturing pots and pans for commercial and residential kitchens.
It is mostly iron along with 18-20% chromium and 8-10.5% nickel. Additional elements include silicone, carbon, and manganese. Altogether, they make 304 stainless steel quite tough and durable. The material is resistant to corrosion, cleans and disinfects very easily, and can withstand high temperatures and pressures.
More About 316 Stainless Steel
Also made mostly of iron, the significant difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel is the volume of chromium and nickel. Chromium makes up 16-18% while nickel comes in at 10-14%. Silicon, carbon, and manganese also tend to be present in smaller volumes.
Manufacturers often choose 316 stainless steel for marine environments because it is less sensitive to corrosion. Applications where saltwater are the norm do better with 316 grade. But what about 316L?
The ‘L’ stands for ‘low carbon’. Though 316 stainless steel has less carbon than 304, 316L has even less. It is still just as tough and durable as the other two grades, and it also offers superior corrosion resistance. The thing that makes it more attractive, especially for fermentation tanks, is that it is more accepting of welds.
Welded Joints Can Degrade
Despite stainless steel’s reputation as a tough and durable alloy, it does have one weakness: its welded joints can degrade over time. That’s something you always have to be cognizant of when you’re subjecting a tank to high pressures. The last thing you want is for a weld to break loose in the middle of your process.
We think 316L stainless steel is a better choice for fermentation tanks for this very reason. We take great pride in our craftsmanship and the quality of our work. The last thing we want is for welded joints to degrade more quickly than they ought to. That makes 316L the perfect choice.
We still utilize 304 stainless steel for fermentation tanks because 316L is more expensive. You may have an application that doesn’t require the higher grade. We understand that, and we’re good with it. We are more than happy to build fermentation tanks with 304 stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Is the Key
Regardless of the particular grade you choose, stainless steel is the key to long-lasting and reliable fermentation tanks. Knowing what we know about stainless steel and its properties, it doesn’t make much sense to build tanks from any other material. Stainless steel gives you durability and toughness. It is easy to clean and sanitize. It’s strong enough to withstand high temperatures and internal pressures.
If you have any questions about our 304 and 316L stainless steel fermentation tanks, don’t be afraid to ask. We want you to fully understand what you’re buying before you buy.