Stainless steel has been used as a core material in the manufacture of products for many years. We’ve come to expect it as a standard choice for sinks and worktops within kitchens in the commercial sector and have seen its use grow with the trend for more industrial looking room environments for some time. Today it’s a popular choice in particular for sanitaryware, washrooms and healthcare products, but with its inherent properties, should architects and designers be considering it for a broader range of product solutions?
Stainless steel is a clean, maintenance-free, contemporary material. It is the generic name for a number of different alloys of iron used primarily for their high resistance to corrosion. The key element is that whatever grade is selected, they all comprise over 10.5% chromium and unlike mild steels, there is, therefore, no need to apply protective coatings or to galvanize.
There are more than 60 grades of stainless steel but the entire group can be divided into five classes, each identified by the alloying elements which affect their microstructure and for which each is named. The two most regularly quoted in household products are Grade 304, which is a ductile material suitable for objects that need to be shaped and Grade 316, the same but a little more corrosion resistant. Stainless steel may be more expensive than ordinary steel because it requires more work to shape and form but it offers considerably longer service, lower maintenance and high scrap value on decommissioning and recycling. It’s also 100% recyclable and therefore less harmful to the environment than many other materials in common use.
Stainless steel is also a really hygienic material, recognised by its use for surgical instruments and medical implants, that’s easily cleaned and is truly hardwearing.
So with these obvious advantages, it is starting to be considered more by architects for a whole host of applications. This is made possible if sourced locally from a manufacturer that thrives on the challenge of bespoke design and manufacture. A designer needs the confidence of experienced technical support, CAD design and even an initial prototype in a realistic timeframe, to sign off on a new product idea, something that can be offered with the right in house facilities.
According to Pland Stainless, who have been producing bespoke products in stainless steel since 1919, they are challenged daily by clients wanting bespoke stainless steel solutions. Their projects have been varied including multi-faith washroom foot trough products, where they have become somewhat of a specialist in supply, through to rise and fall endoscopy sinks, mortuary trolleys, boat tables and an oversized under-mounted champagne trough for a luxury kitchen. They work closely with clients to deliver a quality British made bespoke product at an affordable price and in an acceptable timeframe.
Since 1919, Pland Stainless has occupied the same factory on the outskirts of Leeds manufacturing products from stainless steel. Their ability to design products in house is a major advantage to them and has evolved from a skilled and established workforce understanding the capabilities of stainless steel and pushing its boundaries in production, coupled with investment in CAD-CAM technology.
Supplying the commercial market brings with it a host of costs associated to producing products to the correct quality and specification. Many of Pland’s products are WRAS approved, comply with the HTM63, HTM64 & HBN00-10 part C for Healthcare and all carry the obligatory CE mark where required.
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