Why is the industry switching to stainless steel?

Les Littlewood, Sales Director Albion Valves (UK) Ltd discusses why the industry is switching to stainless steel.

According to the Office of National Statistics’ property crime data, there has been an increase in the number of reported metal thefts in recent years despite government enforcement interventions such as Operation Tornado and the implementation of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (SMDA).

Albion Valves (UK) Ltd, a leading supplier of valves to the industrial and building services markets has noticed a swing in the number of distributors specifying stainless steel in applications where they would have traditionally opted for brass or copper fittings.

Albion’s sales team puts this change of behavior in industrial purchasing down to contractors safeguarding their projects against the growing problem of metal theft. Stainless steel does not have the same perceived value of brass, bronze or copper in the scrap metal market, although it does have the same high levels of performance, so for distributors it is proving to be a safer option.

Les Littlewood, Albion’s Sales Director commented: “It is a sad state of affairs, but commercial properties do need to factor a security strategy into their purchasing. Warehouses, industrial sites, offices and shopping centers all have large amounts of metal in their HVAC systems, equipment, pipes, and fixtures.

Many commercial buildings have outdoor HVAC units and unoccupied buildings are especially vulnerable to metal theft and damage. Often the cost to replace stolen or damaged building systems far exceeds the value of the lost metal.

At Albion we endeavor to stay aware of the issues affecting contractors and react to what our distributors need, this is why we are developing our range of stainless steel valves and and fittings. Our team is increasingly being asked for stainless steel in installations where brass would have typically been specified.”

Albion was one of the first companies in the UK to introduce a range of stainless steel fittings compliant with the ISO 4144 Standard, which specifies the pressure, temperature ratings and dimensions of this product group.

Today, four years after introducing the line, stainless steel fittings are growing in popularity and becoming one of the best-selling product ranges.

Historically, there had been a huge diversity on quality and pricing for this product sector, often resulting in products being specified that were either unfit for purpose, non-compliant or over-priced for particular applications. As such, Albion fully supports the industry standard and the focus it brings to quality in this sector.

Les commented:

“At Albion we endeavor to stock a high performance range of products that are safe, reliable and excellent quality. We aim to provide our customers with complete confidence and peace of mind especially when it comes to safety and security, we do this by supplying products that both increase productivity; minimize waste and errors”

Stainless steel is widely known for its high performance industrial applications, even at high or low temperatures all stainless steels have a high resistance to corrosion. Low alloyed grades resist corrosion in atmospheric conditions, whereas highly alloyed grades can resist corrosion in most acids, alkaline solutions, and chloride bearing environments.

Stainless steel is also a popular material given its ease of fabrication and can be cut, welded and shaped with relative ease compared to other metals. Additionally, many stainless steels can be used in design to reduce material thicknesses ultimately allowing engineers to reduce weight and costs, while aesthetically it is easily maintained and gives an attractive finish.

Stainless steel has always been the first choice for specifiers in hospitals, kitchens, food and pharmaceutical processing facilities, not just because of its excellent hygienic properties, but also it is often the least expensive choice in a life cycle cost comparison.

Albion’s range of stainless steel fittings and valves features a wide variety of products available in sizes from 1/8” – 4” offering customers an extensive choice, as well as the optimum balance of quality, performance and price.

Albion currently stocks around 5000 lines of industrial products, suitable for applications predominantly within the process, water and HVAC industries.

View Albion’s stainless steel valve range here