Cleaning Stainless Steel

“Two Army privates were hauled up before the military court charged with kicking the General in the buttocks. The 1st private was called on to explain his actions. He said, I opened the limo’s car door and stepped back to let the General in. But the General stepped on my toes! It was a reflex action that caused me to kick the General. The judges believed him and so he was excused. The 2nd private was called on to explain his actions why he had booted the General. He said, Oh, that’s simple. When I saw the Private boot the General in the butt, I thought the war was over.”

We blow our noses with Kleenex. We make extra copies by Xeroxing. Our kids eat too much Kraft dinner. And Googling stuff has become the arbiter to all (sober or unsober) arguments that once were settled (correctly or incorrectly) by dominant aggressive behaviour. And every consultant has on his shelf the step-by-step process of turning your company into an iconic brand – regardless if you sell hi-tech equipment or rubber boots.

With every iconic brand comes a minimum level of expectations. We like our doctors to wear white lab coats and a stethoscope; airplane pilots to wear a uniform; luxury cars to run quietly and expensively; our food servers to have clean hands; and stainless steel to be shiny and expensive looking.

Stainless steel comes with a minimum level of expectations, fair or unfair. We know that when stainless steel has been welded correctly, the heaviest lifting has been done. Mistakes in welding stainless steel are costly and can show up embarrassingly at a later date. Yet, the most inexperienced person knows what stainless steel should look like. One of the things they do know: it shouldn’t have discoloration where the welding was done. And they are correct. Though, probably they don’t know why they’re correct.

There’s a variety of ways of getting rid of the discoloration and restoring the stainless to its original condition. You can grind it, or brush it, or sand blast it, and/or pickle it. Grinding it you need to be careful that iron particles don’t become embedded in the stainless. Brushing it you need to make sure that the chromium depleted zone is removed. Sand blasting it you need to make sure the sand or grit is perfectly clean and not too old.
Using chemicals on the weld can produce superior results.

It also works well with mechanical methods to achieve those top-notch results. But working with chemicals that contain toxic acids means there’ll be no wearing shorts and sunglasses as you slap the stuff on. On top of wearing proper clothing, there needs to be a procedure for disposing of the waste.

Yes there is a simpler method for cleaning those welds. Walters has in their product line an electro-cleaning system called the Surfox.

The Surfox system has some attractive advantages over the above listed methods:

One, (the most important thing) it does the job. It cleans and fully passivates the stainless surface bringing it back to its original condition.

Two, it doesn’t use toxic pickling pastes that can cause severe chemical burns and long accident reports to fill out.

Three, it doesn’t require the smartest person in the room to use it.
Most workers can easily figure out how to run it and do a good job.

Four, you’re going to spend less time doing the job, cleaning it up and worrying about it.

Five, the worker is better able to monitor the amount of cleaning fluid being used. The machine pumps out the cleaning fluid through the pad.

This helps to not overuse the fluid and creates quick results (i.e. the weld stain is there or it isn’t there).

The chemical method does a good job but the Surfox goes one step better. It reduces the time, worry and risk that comes with toxic chemicals and obtains the high prize: a good job.

If we can help you or answer questions or even give a demo about cleaning stainless steel, feel free to give us a call.




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A Few Brands That We Are Proud To Carry

  • miller
  • victor
  • esab
  • avesta
  • hypertherm
  • hobart
  • walter
  • weldmark