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What is the industrial production process of 304 stainless steel sheet.


After the raw materials are selected, the stainless steel is manufactured as follows.
The first step is melting, which means that the raw materials are melted together in an electric arc furnace. The next step is the removal of excess carbon, which is accomplished by treating the molten metal in an AOD (Argon Oxygen Decarbonization) converter. The converter reduces the carbon by injecting an oxygen-argon mixture. At this stage, other alloying elements such as nickel and molybdenum can be added to the AOD converter. When a very low carbon content is required, a VOD (Vacuum Oxidation Decarbonization) converter can be used.
Next comes the tuning, where most stainless steels have very stringent quality requirements. The tuning process even allows for minor adjustments to the chemical composition. Tuning is when the steel is slowly stirred to remove unwanted elements and raise the consistency, while keeping the desired composition within temperature limits.
The forming step is when the steel is cast into shape. These can be in the form of patterns (rectangular), blanks (round or square), plates, rods or tubes.
Then comes the hot rolling, which occurs at a temperature higher than the steel’s recrystallization temperature. The precise temperature depends on the desired grade of stainless steel. The stainless steel sheet is heated and passed through high rolls. Cloth and billets are formed into bars and fillets. Slabs are formed into plates, bars and sheets.
Cold rolling can also be performed if required, and usually cold-rolled stainless steel sheets are used when very precise dimensions or attractive surface finishes are required. The process occurs below the recrystallization temperature of the steel. Cold rolling is performed using small diameter rolls and a series of support rolls.