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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. 

Benefits of Passivation and Electropolishing

Pickle passivation is the immersion of metal in a nitric-hydrofluoric acid bath. Pickled stainless material has a light matte appearance. Benefits include ease of sterilization and corrosion resistance.

Electropolishing is the immersion of metal in a charged bath of sulfuric and phosphoric acid. Benefits include ease of sterilization, improved cleaning properties, corrosion resistance and a mirror finish look.

Apache is a manufacturer of small and large vessels and food processing equipment. We can handle small parts or assemblies as large as our tanks that we build, with larger pieces possible with the use of fixtures or double dipping.

Visit STAINLESS FINISHING to download our brochures, white papers and watch videos on material finishing.

Spin the Wheel - Learn about our groups!

Apache Stainless has four different product groups, each specializing in working with stainless steel: Large ASME Tanks, Small / Portable Vessels, Contract Manufacturing and Mepaco - food processing equipment.

Our technicians and fabricators are versed in working across all product groups, which provides efficient production and creates a very skilled and knowledgeable production team. Apache's welders are ASME certified and newly hired welders are supported and trained to get their certification.

The Large ASME Tank group produces tanks in many industries using stainless and other high alloys. These tanks and vessels are constructed for fuel refineries, ethanol plants, chemical industries, food and beverage processing facilities, biotechnology companies, health and beauty plants and in water treatment facilities.

The Small/Portable Vessel group offers both a standard line and customized tanks and vessels, ranging from a few ounces to 100 gallons. These tanks and vessels serve industries that are highly regulated in terms of material, traceability, welds and governmental certifications.

The Contract Manufacturing group offers custom fabrication, assembly, gantry drilling, laser cutting, welding and metal finishing. Our in-house metal finishing includes pickle passivation and electropolishing. We can handle small parts and larger components, like our tanks, with the use of fixtures or double dipping techniques.

The Mepaco group offers a proprietary line of food processing equipment. With modifiable options, Mepaco's product line includes: cookers, mixers, blenders, augers, dumpers, sanitary conveyors and material handling systems.

Learn more about Apache's product groups on About Us!

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