One of the challenges that many startup machining companies experience is the problem in working with different grades of stainless steel. When machining stainless steel, some grades are easy to work with, while others can be difficult to machine based on their physical characteristics and properties.
As an OEM, considering the potential issues with machining stainless steel and the need for specific characteristics for the final part or component is often a difficult decision. The best machining services can provide advice and information on working with different stainless steel grades. Their knowledge of industry requirements in the medical, automotive, aerospace, and energy sectors can be instrumental in making the ideal choice in both the grade of stainless steel and the type of machining process that is the most effective.
The most common challenge in machining stainless steel is the issue of work hardening. This may also be known as strain hardening, and it is the application of some type of action on the metal that creates a permanent change in the structure. This does result in a harder metal, but this is not always desirable, particularly if the hardening increases the risk of fracturing or failure of the metal along the areas where machining has occurred.
The choice of the type of cutting tool as well as the speed the machining operation has an impact on this undesirable type of work hardening. Ideally, the cutting tools need to be replaced frequently to maintain a sharp, fast removal of the surface area of the workpiece.
The faster rotational speed of the workpiece or the cutting tool, depending on the machining operation, must also be matched to the specific grade of stainless to prevent this issue. Advanced types of machining centers that allow for precision control of the operation are also essential to prevent the need to use stress relief processes after the machining is completed.