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Different Stainless Grades For Pharmaceutical Equipment


A variety of stainless steel grade material is available in the market today but not all of them are used in the pharmaceutical industry. As pharmaceutical products tend to be sensitive, the chosen material should be non-reactive when it is exposed to active excipients.

Stainless Steel

There are four main types of stainless steel used in the industry – 304, 304l, 316 and 316l. The 316l and 316 grades are used for equipment that comes into direct contact with the product, including pipelines and water systems; this is because the 316 grade is more resistant to acid and base attacks than the 304 grade. That said, weak acids and bases do not have any effects on stainless steel, because they are non-magnetic.

The 304l and 316l have low carbon composition of 0.03%.

Stainless Steel Type and Composition

SS Type Stainless Steel Ingredients (%)
C Mn Si P S Cr Ni Mo N
304 0.08 2.0 0.75 0.045 0.03 18-20 8.0-10.5 - -
304L 0.03 2.0 0.75 0.045 0.03 18-20 9.0-13.0 - -
316 0.08 2.0 1.0 0.045 0.03 16-18 10.0-14.0 2.0-3.0 0.1
316L 0.03 2.0 1.0 0.045 0.03 16-18 12.0-15.0 2.0-3.0 0.1

The elements mentioned above are added to the steel to enhance it with additional properties. Chromium can be added to make the steel resistant to corrosion and oxidation, as well as give it tensile strength. Adding 2% manganese helps the equipment to withstand high temperature and above the 2% also increases its tensile strength. Adding Silicon to the steel ensures resistance against strong acids. The Nickel compound gives steel the ability to resist hot and humid conditions. These added properties make the steel equipment resilient and hardwearing.

At LFA, we will work with you to have any of our industrial pill and tablet presses produced in any finish that you require. Because equipment is built to order, there can be a substantial lead time with these one-off products. We would be delighted to speak with you about your requirements. Unfortunately this service cannot be offered on our smaller pill presses.

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