What Is 316 Stainless Steel?

316 stainless steel is a corrosion resistant grade of steel that's ideal for washdown environments, acidic conditions and marine applications. It contains 2-3% molybdenum, which gives it better corrosion resistance than 304. 316 is a food-grade steel that's common in hygienic industries.

Food factory using 316 stainless-steel

What Is 316 Stainless Steel?

Armagard 316 stainless steel computer cabinet

316 stainless steel is used to protect critical IT equipment in hygienic industries and wet locations.

316 stainless steel is part of the austenitic class of steels. Austenitic steel is the most widely used class of steel because of its easy formability and high corrosion resistance. Austenitic steels have high chromium and nickel content, giving them better corrosion resistance than steels in the martensitic and ferritic classes.

316's high corrosion resistance makes it ideal for salty environments, marine applications and wet, mucky locations that require intensive equipment washdown.

There's no official definition of "food-grade" for stainless steel, but 316 is generally considered to be the ideal grade for the industry. Its ability to withstand intensive cleaning, without causing contamination through corrosion, makes it safe for food plants. For this reason, it's the material of choice for food processing computer enclosures and washdown printer protection.

What's The Difference Between 304 And 316 Stainless Steel?

316 stainless steel PC cabinet in a food manufacturing plant

High corrosion resistance makes 316 the ideal choice for equipment in food processing environments.

304 and 316 are both austenitic grades of steel, and they look visually identical. However, they have slightly different chemical compositions:

  • 304: 18% chromium and 8% nickel
  • 316: 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2-3 % molybdenum

The added molybdenum gives 316 better resistance to chemical solutions and salty environments. For this reason, it's ideal for applications that expose equipment to consistently wet, corrosive conditions.

Extra corrosion resistance also means 316 has a longer lifespan than 304. This offsets the increase in cost, and it makes 316 a more cost-effective choice that provides better equipment longevity in harsh environments.

What Are 316 Stainless-Steel Computer Enclosures?

316 stainless-steel computer cabinet open view with screen, computer and keyboard installed

316 stainless-steel enclosures allow plants to use computers in wet and corrosive environments.

Stainless-steel computer enclosures protect critical systems in wet environments and sterile locations.

These enclosures allow businesses to use the computers and printers of their choice in conditions that would otherwise be fatal to IT equipment. This saves money, as users can install office-grade, energy saving hardware that's relatively inexpensive.

The 316 stainless-steel body is easy to clean and antibacterial, which is ideal for hygienic industries. IP56/65 ratings protect enclosed equipment from jet washing and particulate ingress, for safe daily cleaning.

Stainless-steel computer enclosures are ideal for any industry where hygiene and corrosion are a concern:

  • Food and beverage processing
  • Pharmaceutical applications
  • Chemical processing
  • Medical settings
  • Laboratories

A 316 computer enclosure is a versatile alternative to a panel PC. An enclosure allows users to access equipment at any time, for quick and easy systems upgrades. Repairs are faster, too. Easy access means users can repair and replace hardware quickly, without waiting for a specialist engineer.

Armagard washdown computer enclosures have an expected 10-year lifespan, so plants can use the same enclosure to protect successive computers over several years. This makes enclosures highly cost-effective, with a lower total cost of ownership than industrial PCs.

What's The Risk Of Using The Wrong Grade Of Stainless-Steel Enclosure?

Armagard 316 computer enclosure on a factory floor

The right grade of stainless-steel enclosure ensures your critical systems operate reliably and effectively.

Choosing the wrong critical systems enclosure can lead to equipment damage and plant downtime.

For example, a business could reduce project costs by choosing enclosures made from a lower grade of steel, like 304. However, this material won't last as long in wet or salty environments. Corrosion will set in sooner, which could cause particulate debris, contamination and plant shut down.

This could lead to lost revenue, damaged reputation and lost contracts if deadlines are missed—all because a material was chosen that didn't offer the best long-term solution.

Buyers should balance upfront spend against long-term value. 316 stainless-steel computer enclosures provide years of reliable, hygienic and cost-effective protection. They're a great investment for any business that stakes its reputation and revenue on the reliability of its shop-floor systems.

Introducing Armagard: 316 Enclosure Specialist

55" 316 stainless steel TV enclosure with open door

Use Armagard enclosures to protect PCs, TVs, touch screens and printers in wet locations.

Over 100,000 Armagard enclosures protect critical IT systems for businesses in 53 countries. Previous customers include some of the biggest food brands in the UK and Europe, including Asda, Del Monte and Florette.

Armgard provides the reassurances you're looking for when choosing protection for your mission-critical systems:

  • Expert sales support that ensures you get the right solution for your business.
  • A five-year mechanical warranty and up to five-years' warranty on electrical components.
  • Lifetime customer support.

You can be confident you're getting a proven solution for using PCs, TVs, touch screens and printers in corrosive and washdown locations.

Learn More About Stainless-Steel Enclosures For Washdown Locations

Contact Armagard for a no-obligation chat about the best 316 stainless-steel computer enclosures for your business.

Armagard welcomes enquiries from resellers and end users. Talk to specialist staff about custom options, IP ratings, one-off units and complete shop-floor installations.

Call +44 (0)121 608 7226 or fill in a contact form to request more information.

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