10 Reasons that Steel is Better for Materials Handling than Plastic

In Sheet Metal Fabrication, Custom Wire Baskets, Wire Forms, Stainless Steel Baskets

Andy Ratner on May 24, 2013


  1. More temperature resistance: Steel can withstand a wider range of temperatures compared to most commercial plastics. Operating range of steel is -150 F to +1600 F (-101 C to +871 C). Operating range of plastics is -60 F to 250 F (-51 C to +121 C), although there are specialty plastics with a somewhat higher range. Steel can withstand rapid or cyclic temperature fluctuations better than most plastics.
  2. More corrosion resistance: Stainless steel resists corrosion in atmospheric and pure water environments. High-alloyed stainless steel grades resist corrosion in most acids, alkaline solutions and chlorine environments. Most plastics cannot.
  3. More versatile: Steel can be coated with plastic to gain the benefits of both products.
  4. Cleaner: Industrial oils, grease and solvents stain plastic more deeply than steel, harder to keep clean. Stainless steel surfaces are easier to maintain in original appearance.
  5. Stronger: Steel has greater tensile strength and is more durable. Ventilation holes degrade strength of a plastic washing container more than they do in wire mesh or laser-cut sheet metal.
  6. Less water absorption: Steel has none; Plastic has some water absorption, depending on the plastic.
  7. Greater protection against fire: Special high chromium and nickel-alloyed steels resist scaling and retain strength even at high temperatures.
  8. Less expensive to make: Marlin Steel uses simple forming methods to make steel products. In contrast, most plastics require a custom mold, which incur a high up-front tooling cost, restricting consideration of plastic for only very high volumes.
  9. Less expensive long-term: When total life cycle costs are considered, including initial tooling, stainless is often a less expensive material option.
  10. More sustainable: Plastics break down much faster. Most plastics come from petroleum, a non-renewable, often imported resource.

Author: Andy Ratner
Andy Ratner

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