Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel: Choosing Conveyor Scale Construction

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Dec 2, 2014

When looking for a good conveyor scale, you might not realize that the choice of construction materials and methods is one of the most important factors in your decision. A simple option for your structure material can make all the difference. When looking at materials for our conveyor scales, the materials we offer are aluminum and stainless steel. Let’s investigate why you should choose one versus the other.

Conveyor Scale

Stainless Steel Conveyor Scale

Mild/ painted steel can fill a similar role as aluminum and stainless, but it doesn’t have the same versatility in various environments that they can boast. It doesn’t have the same resistance to rust and corrosion that stainless steel or aluminum does, depending on the environment. That is why mild steel has to be painted and repainted periodically to protect the metal’s surface from various elements.

When you compare stainless steel (in our case, Grade 304 or optionally Grade 316) and aluminum, there are some characteristic differences to account for. Stainless steel has an ultimate strength that is a good deal higher than that of aluminum, meaning that it will take much more to fracture. This means that stainless steel is also more durable to work with because stainless steel will yield enough when bending, but it won’t form cracks as quickly as aluminum will. At the same time, aluminum is quite a bit lighter than stainless steel which offers many advantages in itself..

Stainless steel can handle higher pH levels than aluminum can when it comes to corrosion resistance. For this reason and in addition to various food safety regulations, we designate stainless steel as our choice in direct food contact construction because it is able to stand up to the usage and cleaning practices used in the food industry.

Does this mean that aluminum is to be avoided with conveyor scales? Not necessarily. Aluminum conveyor scales are a lightweight and durable alternative to processes that require a different type of corrosion resistance. For example, a conveyor scale weighing small boxes or packages could easily be made out of aluminum because it wouldn’t require corrosive chemical cleaning. Aluminum is a little more affordable than stainless steel, so this would be a wise economic choice for many companies.

Neither material is inherently a bad choice, but you have to know the proper use for each to make the best decision. Getting a quality conveyor scale requires quality design decisions, and we are always willing to help with that.

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