Stainless Steel Fabrication
Commercial kitchens often feature fabricated items such as shelves, storage cabinets, serving counters, sinks, equipment stands, dish tables, built-in refrigeration units, hoods, and more. Stainless steel is preferred for easy cleaning and resistance to corrosion.
There are different kinds of stainless steel. Those commonly used in the foodservice industry include:
400 Series Stainless Steel – can rust, but is good
for economy priced projects
304 Stainless Steel – good for most food contact; corrosives and salt can cause pitting
316 Stainless Steel – best, with high corrosion resistance
When making a choice, consider price and intended use. Also consider thickness: 18-, 16-, and 14-gauge stainless steel are for light, medium, and heavy-duty applications, respectively.
Custom Stainless Steel Fabrication Process
1.Initial Design & Development – The design process begins by defining the goals for the finished product. Designer and customer will determine what it is, how it will be used, dimensions, duty level, regulatory compliance, intended environment, and more. Detailed shop drawings will be produced and then approved by the customer.
2.Production – Fabrication involves any number of metal working techniques done by hand or by modern metal working equipment. The final product is either shipped to the job site complete, or in pieces ready to assemble.
3.Installation – Installation may involve final assembly, finishing, affixing the item to other equipment or surfaces, and coordinating with other subcontractors such as plumbers or electricians.
Catalog vs. Custom Fabricators
In general, there are two types of fabricators.
Catalog Fabricators – They keep commonly ordered items with standardized sizes in stock, or have a catalog of items that can be built and shipped quickly. They usually allow for some customization or modification of catalog orders.
Custom Fabricators – They specialize in large custom projects where everything is built and assembled according to the customer’s design specifications. They may offer design services, engineering and layout, field measurements, site visits, and installation services as well. Many can do masonry, Corian, and wood fabrication as well.
Most fabricators also work with economy steel like galvanized or painted steel. These are not approved for food contact surfaces, but can be used in some applications or parts of projects.