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Sanitary Valves, Tubes, fittings: How to choose between SS304 and SS316L

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

SS 304 and SS 316 Stainless Steel Malaysia
Sanitary Tubes with Ferrule Ends

This article hopes to briefly explain the difference between SS 304 and SS 316, the most commonly used Stainless Steel Steel in the Malaysian food industry.

Stainless Steel Chemical Composition
Difference in composition

In terms of chemical composition, the main difference is that SS 316 contains Molybdenum and slightly more Nickel content compared to SS 304.

Both materials are available in low carbon versions, bringing the carbon content down to 0.03%.

304 Stainless Steel is the most commonly used type in sanitary systems. Its low carbon combined with its chromium and nickel content makes it corrosion and oxidation resistant.

Different finishings of SS 304 are easily obtainable, and it is easy to fabricate and clean.

It is the go-to material of most Malaysian tank and pressure makers, and tubing contractors.

316 Stainless Steel is even more corrosion resistant due to its extra moblydenum content. Like its 304 counterpart, it is also easy to fabricate, clean, and weld.

Compared to SS 304, it is more able to handle fatty acids, iodides, bromides, sulphuric acids, and chlorides.

While it is quite impossible to tell the difference between 304 and 316 by looking at it, as they both have the same visual appearance, and can come in similar finishes. There are quite a few ways to tell them apart.

The most reliable way to confirm the material is to check the material test report. We can also ask for a third party inspector to test it for us via XRF testing, using a spectrometer gun to analyze the material.

NKE stocks both SS 304 and SS 316 Sanitary tubes, fittings, and valves.

Depending on the size you need, SS 316 could cost significantly more than SS304, but it could easily save you more in the long run.


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