Timeless Tube have been forming our specialist tubes from 304L and 316L stainless steel since we were established in the late 1980s. Over the years we have experimented with other metals. Occasionally we shape tubes from aluminium or copper or titanium should a client request us to. But when we do, we are often reminded of why we love stainless steel so much. It is so easy to work with. Our tubes form beautifully from stainless steel. But stainless steel is also a logical choice for engineers and architects, because it provides a raft of benefits for the end-user too.
Here is our top ten list of reasons why we love stainless steel tubes so much:
- Easy to maintain. You don’t have to do anything to it and it stays looking good. This is a major benefit across a huge amount of applications. Our stainless steel handrails and balcony balustrades, for example, do not require additional maintenance once they are installed. And let’s face it…not many people have the time to regularly clean their handrails!
- Corrosion-resistant. Yes this ties in with the first point about maintenance. But the fact that stainless steel doesn’t rust like other steel warrants a top ten spot of its own. We use 316L steel for external work because it has an even higher resistance to corrosion, giving it the commonly used description of ‘marine-grade’.
- Cost-effective. Yes, it is more expensive than mild steel tubes at the outset. But you will save money in the long-run as you won’t need to replace it, or spend out on re-coating or replacing mild steel tubes. In a life-cycle cost comparison, stainless steel wins.
- So many finishes. From a luxurious mirror polish to a contemporary satin finish that is amazing at hiding blemishes. Stainless steel offers our customers so much choice thanks to wide range of finishes that it comes in. We had a client who replaced the timber railings on his boat with mirror polish oval tube handrail to stunning effect – a good reminder of how aesthetically pleasing stainless steel can be.
- So many sizes. We form our shaped tubes from round tubes, so the sizes that we make are dependent upon the original tubing size. Thankfully we have a big choice of tubes sizes and wall thicknesses, which means that we can offer an unrivalled range of sizes of oval tubes.
- Easy formability. Some metals are too soft to work with. Others don’t form as uniformly as we need them to. Stainless steel usually always ‘behaves’ better than other metals, provided that we use high-quality tubing that has been welded correctly at the seam.
- It’s strong. It has an impressive strength-to-weight advantage over many other metals. So even if you don’t choose tubing with a large wall thickness, you still know it is going to be strong.
- So many different grades available. We tend to only use two grades of austenitic stainless steel – 304L and 316L, our marine-grade. These two are ideal for nearly all of the applications we supply tubing for. But if we are making tubing for heat exchangers, we can select a grade that has a high chromium and nickel-alloy content to retain its high strength at high temperatures.
- Welding! We love a bit of welding here at Timeless. Stainless steel is also easy to cut, bend and drill, making life easier for us when we fabricate our tubes.
Sustainability. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable.
In 2020 the UK government pledged its commitment to moving towards a more circular economy, which will see us keeping resources in use as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them, minimizing waste and promoting resource efficiency. Stainless steel fulfils this criteria, making it a highly sustainable choice of building material.
If you have any queries about which material or finish to choose for your tubing, our engineers can talk to you about what you should consider for your application. But if you are seeking further advice on stainless steel, the British Stainless Steel Association offers a free advisory service with first-rate technical advice for architects, engineers and fabricators. Timeless Tube are proud members of The British Stainless Steel Association organisation.