Let’s face it – stainless steel banding doesn’t get a lot of press coverage!
Aside from a high visibility project like the San Francisco Bay Bridge where banding is featured in a place where everyone can see it, our products often go unnoticed, and frankly, unloved! That is, until they need to be replaced or banding is needed to solve a problem on a new project.
When it’s time to buy stainless steel banding, there is no definitive “guide” which covers everything you need to know about how to shop for and ultimately buy stainless steel banding.
Here are some of the key areas you need to know about:
Always Go American
Always buy stainless steel that’s been made in America, as this will assure you it is of the highest quality.
There will be plenty of other options that promise superior results, but if it’s not made in the US, you can expect to be disappointed. Though metal made overseas may come with a lower price tag, expect it to cost you a lot more later on. It could also get someone seriously hurt.
American made steel is held to the highest standards in terms of production and overall quality. Before buying a product, check the ASTM code on the steel to ensure it reads, “Made in the USA.” If you’re buying online, be sure the manufacturer makes it clear that the steel was made in the US.
Pick the Right Level of Corrosion Resistance
As you probably already know, stainless steel, while very strong, is still susceptible to corrosion. Therefore, you’ll need to consider the amount of corrosion resistance you need in your stainless steel banding.
Although it makes sense to simply say you want the strongest possible option, know that the more resistant the metal, the more it’s going to cost you.
This means it makes the most sense to consider how much your banding will actually be at risk for corrosion before deciding which type to buy.
Let’s look at the three main kinds:
Type 201 Steel
o Designed to conserve nickel
o The industry standard
o Harder & stronger than 304 or 316
Type 304 Steel
o Most widely used
o Break strength is equal to 316 but with a lighter gauge
o Excellent corrosion resistance
Type 316 Steel
o Referred to as “marine grade”
o Used where corrosion is the main concern (e.g. oil rigs, marine environments, petroleum plants)
o Also very resistant to high temperatures
Picking the Right Dimensions
You must also consider what dimensions will be best suited for your purpose. As a rule of thumb, the thinner your stainless steel banding, the more malleable it will be. The thicker it is, though, the stronger it’s going to be.
Now, thicker, and thus stronger, doesn’t necessarily mean better. Thicker banding is also going to be more difficult to work with. This will also affect the tools you need and safety procedures you must follow.
Thicker metal is also going to cost you more. Cost should be a secondary consideration, though. Make application your primary concern: buying banding because it’s cheap won’t do much for your budget if it breaks or otherwise isn’t suited for the reason you need it.
Although banding can be used for all kinds of applications, in the end, the kind you need comes down to the above considerations. Keep these in mind when you’re looking for the right stainless steel banding for your purposes and you’ll have an easy time making the best choice.