CNC Medical Stainless Steel Parts: 304 VS 316L

Stainless steel (SS) is a versatile material that is typically an alloy of iron, chromium, and other elements. You already know that they are popular for their corrosion resistance & excellent durability. As a result, we often find stainless steel parts used in various industry applications. The medical sector is one of the most popular fields for their applications. CNC medical equipment stainless steel parts are noteworthy in this case.

Stainless steel parts may have different types based on different material composition. Actually, this composition depends on varying applications. 304 and 316L are the two most popular stainless steel parts used in many applications. Although they both are SS, they have distinct differences. In the following, we will talk about those differences and find out which one is suitable for specific applications.

What Is 304 Material?

The 304 stainless steel parts come with a chemical composition of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. In another classification, they are usually an austenitic steel, famous for corrosion resistance & versatility. The 304 stainless steel parts are non-reactive. However, SS316 is often preferred for medical equipment manufacturing. Yet, SS304 has some applications that don’t require superior corrosion resistance.

Typical examples include stainless steel bowls, automotive brackets, electronic components, kitchen appliances, tubes, pipes and many more. These applications showcase that SS304 is highly adaptable in creating precise and durable metal components.

What Is 316L Material?

SS316L is another version of stainless steel. It is also a corrosion-resistant alloy. In its composition, SS316L has iron, chromium, nickel, and molybdenum. The “L” refers to low carbon content, which means enhanced weldability. These stainless steel parts made of SS316L are ideal for applications demanding superior corrosion resistance. Typical industries include medical, marine, chemical, and pharmaceutical.

Some examples can be observed, such as surgical instruments, medical implants, and more. Note that SS316L finds extensive use in the medical industry due to its durability and superior corrosion resistance ability. Therefore, SS316L is a versatile and reliable solution for creating various critical components for healthcare applications.

304 VS 316L Stainless Steel Parts

There are a lot of reasons why 316L is a preferred choice in the medical industry over SS304. 316L stainless steel parts offer superior corrosion resistance and are highly non-reactive. As a result, they are often found in food processing, pharmaceutical, and medical industries. Although, SS304 also has its unique benefits, like its cost-effectiveness. Let’s check out some of their primary differences.

AspectSS304 Stainless Steel PartsSS316L Stainless Steel Parts
Chemical CompositionPrimarily composed of 18% chromium, 8% nickel, and other iron contentsPrimarily composed of 16 – 17.2% chromium, 10 – 11% nickel, 2 – 4% molybdenum, 0.03% carbon, and iron contents.
Corrosion ResistanceGood corrosion resistance in mild environmentsSuperior corrosion resistance, especially in aggressive chemical & saline environments
Strength & DurabilityGood strength for many applicationsHigher strength & durability, ideal for heavy-duty use
BiocompatibilityGenerally biocompatible, suitable for medical applicationsHighly biocompatible, excellent for surgical implants and medical devices
WeldabilityExcellent weldability with standard methodsExcellent weldability due to less carbon content in the composition
PriceRelatively more affordable More expensive than SS304 stainless steel parts
Common Application And  EquipmentElectronic enclosure, kitchen appliances, construction pipes, channels & angles and many moreImplantable medical devices, surgical implants, and high-corrosion-resistance applications

Stainless Steel Parts For Medical Equipment (SS304 VS SS316L): Which Is Better?

Both SS304 & SS316 are used in medical equipment manufacturing. If we observe carefully, we can find some differences in their particular applications. So, we can realize that the suitability of these two elements is different by varying applications.

Stainless Steel Parts (SS304)

SS 304 is excellent for its versatility & cost-effectiveness. They also offer good corrosion resistance but not as good as SS316L. In addition, they also offer good strength but not as good as SS316L. Therefore, in medical industry, the most common metal we find is SS316L more than SS304. Although, SS304 is popular in other industries, such as electronics, construction, automotive and more. Typical examples include construction pipes, channels & angles, kitchen appliances, electronic devices, automotive chassis, brackets, and more.

Stainless Steel (SS316L)

The 316L stainless steel parts become the superior choice for medical equipment parts, especially in heavy industry applications. You know, the addition of molybdenum enhances its corrosion resistance. As a result, it is ideal for use in aggressive chemical & saline environments. This makes SS316L highly suitable for critical medical applications. Typical examples include surgical implants and devices.

Hence, SS316 is preferred for almost all applications in the medical industry. In addition, SS316 stainless steel parts are also suitable for food processing, pharmaceuticals, and chemical applications.


Why Is 316 More Corrosion Resistant Than 304?

Answer: The addition of molybdenum in 316L stainless steel is the reason 316 is more corrosion-resistant. This composition is particularly suitable for operation in aggressive environments compared to the composition of 304.

Is 316L Stainless Steel More Expensive Than 304?

Answer: Yes, 316L is generally more expensive than 304 stainless steel parts. You know, the additional alloying in 316L, like molybdenum, increases the overall production costs. Thus, these stainless steel parts are relatively expensive.

Can 304 Stainless Steel Rust?

Answer: Yes. Although 304 stainless steel has good resistance, it can still rust. In extremely harsh environments, chemical operations or prolonged exposure to corrosive substances may lead to corrosion.
Expert Advice

When it comes to selecting the correct material for your project, professional assistance is always required. It involves multiple investigations, coordination with professionals, and close attention to the application’s specific requirements. When choosing between 304 and 316L, always consider two main factors: performance priorities and cost-benefit.

Clearly define performance priorities, such as corrosion resistance, strength, durability, and reactiveness with other environmental elements. On the other hand, try to balance the cost and performance on the same scale to get the optimum result. In addition, for specialized applications, customization of stainless steel components may be recommended to meet unique performance criteria. Finally, consider the environmental impact and sustainability. Experts always suggest assessing the eco-friendliness of each material. Above all, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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