Application Comparison of Stainless and High Alloy Materials

Apache’s background in pharmaceutical, medi­cal, water purification, and chemical industries has driven expertise in high-alloy material used in vessel construction.  The process application of a vessel or tank will determine the stainless or high alloy material specified for the construction of the vessel.

Apache’s experience with stainless and high alloy material includes 304, 316, Duplex, Hastelloy, Monel 400, AL6XN, and Alloy 20.  Highlighted below is an overview of those applications.



304 stainless steel is widely used in food and life science production equipment. The strength, durability, and noncorrosive qualities provide the safety and cleaning effectives required under general conditions.


316 has high corrosion resistance and may be used in applications requiring higher strength and hardness. 316 material can be used for fuels, food processing, chemical, medical and pharmaceutical processes. 316 has a higher temperature performance than 314 and performs wells in cryogenic temperatures.


The Duplex series are extremely versatile stainless alloys, with many applications in fuel and chemical processing industries and pharmaceutical applications.  Duplex has low thermal expansion coefficients and high heat conductivity.  In Apache’s experience, the machineability may be more cost effective than 316 L and Hastelloy® material.


Hastelloy® has sanitary advantages due to the high Nickel and Chromium content.  This material works well for the construction of heat exchangers, columns, and pressure vessels as well as nuclear and chemical reactors.  It is used in chemical process equipment applications and high-performance pharmaceutical vessels.

Monel® 400

Monel® 400 is resistant to sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids. Due to the cost, Monel® 400 is only used in applications where other materials will corrode.  The copper content of the material prevents an effective pickling finish.


AL6XN is used in low PH applications in food, oil and gas industries, reverse osmosis, scrubbers, and distillation columns.

Alloy 20

Alloy 20 is used to manufacture pharmaceuticals, food, explosives, chemical and petroleum refinement. It is also used to construct heat exchangers, mixing tanks, and other heat resistance applications.

Apache’s operations and tank team with consult from steel supplier partners have developed a quick reference guide to highlight the composition, corrosion resistance, cost, availability, performance, and applications of the above stainless and high alloy materials.  Download our guide here.

The Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation employs experts in the fabrication of stainless and high alloy equipment for a range of industries.  Apache is accredited with ASME and more other global standards.   By setting service performance for our quality and compliance, we offer value for our compliance engineered equipment.