How to Avoid Rust on Stainless Steel

Posted by Tom McDevitt on Jun 14, 2016 7:00:00 AM

By John Bonanno

We recently learned that by the time some of the fabricated stainless steel valves we built arrived overseas, they had signs of rust.  Now, we all know that stainless steel doesn’t rust; however stainless steel “contaminated” with carbon steel or free iron can form surface rust.

Good fabrication practices avoid allowing stainless steel to come in contact with ordinary iron or steel, such as work tables, lifting tools, storage racks, steel turning rolls, steel truck beds and chains, steel fork lifts, etc.  Iron and steel dust, such as may be created by grinding, cutting, blast cleaning, etc., should be kept away from areas where stainless steel is being fabricated, since that dust may settle on otherwise non-contaminating surfaces where they will be picked up by the stainless steel.

Cleaning and grinding tools, such as grinding wheels and wire brushes that have been used on carbon or low alloy steel should not be used subsequently on stainless steels. Only stainless steel wire brushes should be used on stainless steel.

In order to improve our process, we are evaluating how we can incorporate more good fabrication practices listed above into our quality standard.  Proactive measures will most likely include some new stainless steel tools, restricted to stainless steel use only, and training for everyone on how to work with, handle and store stainless jobs.

It’s all about continuously improving to satisfy new and established customers.  They are the lifeblood of every company. 

The Rose Corporation is a Pennsylvania-based, WBENC-certified small business specializing in the manufacture of custom industrial fabrication, large-scale precision weldments, power generation equipment (including repairs), and more. The Rose Corporation’s most unique strength is our experience with delivery of specialized design expertise, along with an ability to help customers optimize manufacturability, reduce costs, and improve overall product quality.