Plethora has the milling, turning, and finishing equipment for machining steel in a wide range of applications. Our expertise with chromium stainless steel alloys prevents damage to the surface of parts, provides small tolerances, and prioritizes part quality. 

There are many different alloys of stainless steel to consider for your prototyped component, each with specialized applications. Stainless steel can be easily sterilized for hygienic applications, and energy sectors use it because it doesn’t corrode under the stresses of oil and petroleum or seawater. It’s superior to aluminum when an application requires its durable physical properties. 

Plethora’s stainless steel prototyping services—including 3-axis and 5-axis CNC milling and turning—produce components for the following applications:

  • Aerospace 
  • Chemical processing 
  • Construction
  • Food and beverage handling and processing
  • Industrial rolling parts
  • Medical 
  • Petrochemical 
  • Pulp and paper 


Close-up of stainless steel parts

Trust the Durability of Chromium Stainless Steel Alloys

Compared to carbon steel and low-alloy steels, stainless steel has advantages in strength, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, and operational life. Each of these advantages translates into the ability to withstand exposure to toxic chemicals and corrosive liquids used for washdown in plants and mining operations. In terms of strength-to-weight ratio, stainless steel exceeds carbon steel. Low-alloy steels also have less tensile strength than stainless steel. 

The corrosion advantages seen with stainless steel occur because of the chromium, nickel, and other alloys that make up different metal grades. While carbon steel will corrode when exposed to water and oxygen, stainless steel’s corrosion resistance depends on the grade.

Application Versatility with Stainless Steel Alloys 303, 304, and 316

Austenitic stainless steels include alloys 303, 304, and 316 and have 18% chromium and 8% nickel compositions. However, differences exist between the three grades commonly used for manufacturing. Alloys 303, 304, and 316 are non-magnetic and do not accept heat treatment.

Alloy 303 The high level of sulfur used to produce alloy 303 contributes to ease-of-machining, reduces weldability, and decreases resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion. Because alloy 303 retains hardness while having improved machinability, it works well for fasteners, fittings, gears, screws, bushings, and gears. Alloy 303 resists oxidation to 1700° F and has a low carbon content.
Alloy 304 Applications for Alloy 304 include pans, cooking utensils, and sinks, along with transportation containers, food processing equipment, water filtration screens, marine fasteners, and construction materials. The versatility for meeting those and other application requirements occurs because of the amount of chromium and nickel used to produce the stainless steel alloy. Alloy 304 offers superior resistance to corrosion, excellent formability, and weldability while resisting oxidation in continuous service to 1690° F.
Alloy 316 The addition of molybdenum to Alloy 316 yields better corrosion and chemical resistance than Alloy 304 and consistent strength at high temperatures. Applications for Alloy 316 include furnace components, heat exchangers, jet engine parts, pulp and paper mills, textile plant equipment, and marine applications. While Alloy 304 remains susceptible to chloride-caused pitting corrosion, Alloy 316 resists chlorides and industrial solvents.


Stainless Steel for High-Strength Applications

Because aerospace and engineering applications often require high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, weldability, and good mechanical properties, Plethora also works with Alloys 416 and 17-4PH. Both martensitic alloys have higher carbon contents and between 12 and 18%. As a result, both alloys have magnetic properties and accept hardening.

Alloy 416 Alloy 416 has the high strength and hardness needed for pump shafts, gears, motors, and valve components when hardened by heat treatment. While Alloy 416 has superior machining characteristics, it has lower overall corrosion resistance and cannot work in chloride environments.
Alloy 17-4PH In contrast to Alloy 416, Alloy 17-4PH provides high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and has good mechanical properties up to 600° F. Applications for Alloy 17-4PH include aerospace applications, petrochemical processing equipment, dairy and food processing equipment, and engine shafts. The use of precipitation hardening for Alloy 17-4PH increases the machinability, durability, and strength of the stainless steel alloy.