Not all stainless steel is the same. Each type is designed to work in its specific environment and to be cost effective. In the industrial and commercial industry that we operate a high quality corrosion resistant stainless steel is used. It is also in most cases more expensive but it is the most suitable.
There are three grades of stainless steel in the industry. Grade 430, 304 and 316. The most common type is grade 304 and all our industrial catering sinks, sanitary, basins and wash troughs are made from this type. There are companies that offer tables, basins and wash troughs in grade 430, but be very careful, grade 430 can rust, pit and crack (especially on the welding joins) over time with industrial or commercial usage. Grade 316 is mostly used in hospitals and mortuary where the highest hygiene requirements must be maintained
Grades 304 and 316 are resistant to oxidising chemicals that are used for cleaning and sterilization. So basically grade 304 and 316 stainless steel is designed to be cleaned thoroughly, which you have to do on a daily basis in hospitals, clinics, restaurants and washrooms. Grade 430 is not designed to be cleaned everyday with harsh chemicals. Chlorine based cleaners are the most damaging to grade 430 stainless steel.
We have found that a lot of people use catering sinks and tables in grade 430 stainless steel. There is nothing wrong with that, just remember, that you will have limited industrial and commercial use with your product. The lifetime will also be reduced since it can be prone to cracking on the welding joins. If you do want to use grade 430, make sure it is for light work.
The only suitable stainless steel for the catering business is grade 304. The higher grade 316 is just an overkill and too expensive for this purpose. Thickness is also a factor. The most common thickness is 1,2 mm while grade 316 comes in 1,6 mm. Make sure that the sinks are also sound deadened otherwise your hearing will not last long. Sound deadening is the application of a black bitumen padding to muffle the noise of pots and pans banking against the stainless steel bowls. It is really essential in a restaurant or catering facility.
So the next time you want to compare prices of different sinks, or any other stainless steel product, first have a look at the grade of stainless steel.