Stainless Steel Balls
Stainless steel balls or metal balls are generally manufactured by cold forming and are used to improve the functionality of custom industrial metal products and assemblies. These metal spheres come in a variety of styles, materials, shapes, or forms and are used across diverse industrial sectors such as the automotive, aerospace, cosmetics, livestock feeding, transportation, and oil & gas industries.
Commonly used steel balls
A wide variety of steel balls serve the needs of diverse applications and requirements across the industrial sector. The most common type that your project requires is likely to fall within the categories listed below:
- Solid steel balls – This style refers to steel balls with no cavities or hollowed ends. They are uniform balls that come in diverse grades of stainless steel. Solid steel balls are known for their resistance to wear, durability, and hardness. These grades include the 300 and 400 series of steel balls. You may also choose to develop custom-graded balls to meet specific requirements.
- Carbon steel balls – Carbon steel balls are hardened precision balls that are known for their durability, reliability, wear resistance, hardness, and affordability. They are more affordable to produce and use compared to stainless steel or aluminum balls. These steel balls are generally used in developing material handling equipment, domestic toy sets, and aerosol cans where some mixing is required.
- Chrome steel balls – The chrome steel ball is a bearing-grade alloy steel used across the industrial sector for its exceptional wear, surface characteristics, hardness, and durability. Alloy steel balls are used in food processing systems, valves, and other industrial applications.
- Food-grade stainless steel balls – The sensitive nature of the food we eat underlines the need for food processing systems with human-friendly metals that do not leave residues when used. 304H, also known as, food-grade stainless steel balls are used within the food processing industry as grinding, blending, and mixing tools.
Steel ball grades, materials, and sizes
Steel balls come in diverse shapes and sizes including the popular 300 and 400 series of stainless steel, alongside other compositions of steel alloy balls. Steel balls within these grades include:
- 400-series steel balls – Steel balls within the 400 series are commonly known as ferritic steel balls. They come in a range of varieties and sizes, including small metal balls and ½-inch steel balls. These varieties are determined by the material composition of the steel balls and their properties. Steel balls can be found in sizes ranging from 1.5 mm to 50.8 mm. The common varieties used include:
- 440C – Used within the automotive, aerospace, and industrial engineering sector
- 420, 420A – Used within the automotive, and aerospace industry
- 430 – These steel balls are used in grinding systems, automated systems, and the automotive industry
- 300-series steel balls – Steel balls within this series are composed of austenitic steel. That contains a mix of carbon, chromium, nickel, or manganese depending on the specific application. The use of nickel or manganese ensures steel balls in the 300 series maintain their austenitic features at varying temperatures. They come in sizes across the 1.5 mm to 50 mm range, and the common varieties in the series include:
- 302 stainless steel – Known for its durability and temperature resistance
- 316 steel balls – Known and used for their high resistance to corrosion
- 304 stainless steel – Highly durable steel with extensive resistance to varying temperatures
- Chrome steel balls – 52100 steel – Various grades of chrome steel balls are used across the automotive industry, industrial manufacturing, and aerosol cans for ball bearings, locking, and mixing purposes. Chrome steel is tagged as 52100 steel in the United States, 100Cr6 in Europe, and GCr15 in China. Chrome steel features include hardness and excellent deformation and wear resistance.
Industries and their applications
Stainless steel balls are used across popular mechanical systems: from automobile parts to mundane domestic items such as a drawer slide. This results in the availability of a vast range of different grades and sizes. The major industries that rely on steel balls include:
- Agriculture industry – Livestock feeding systems (chicken, turkey, cattle, and swine).
- Automotive industry – Steel balls are used in semi-precision ball bearings and mechanical bearings in vehicles.
- Automation systems – Automated mechanisms within these systems rely on the use of steel balls to support moving components while reducing wear.
- Aerospace industry – Steel balls are used in developing instrumentation and locking systems with aerospace devices and airplanes. They are also used in bearings within airplane tires and landing gear systems.
- Cosmetics – Steel balls are prominently used in aerosol cans and cosmetic products to aid the mixing of the diverse ingredients within them. Here, their high resistance to corrosion and wear makes them a common feature in the cosmetics industry.
- Food processing industry – Stainless steel balls are a common feature in food processing systems when corrosion resistance is important to the proper functioning of these systems. Steel balls are commonly used in livestock watering and feeding systems as control valve balls to ensure proper distribution.
- Material handling industry – Stainless steel balls are used in ball bearings for conveyor systems in the material handling industry.
Other industries that rely on a variety of steel balls listed above include the mining, transportation, oil & gas, energy, healthcare, and defense industries.
What are metal balls used for?
Metal balls are used in a wide variety of industrial applications for diverse reasons. These reasons include their resistance to wear for grinding applications, hardness, durability for ball bearings, etc. Your particular project determines the type of steel ball to use.
What are stainless steel balls used for?
Steel balls are used for industrial applications in which hardness, resistance to wear, aesthetics, and corrosion resistance are required. This includes food processing systems, ball bearings, and environments susceptible to the actions of corrosive agents.
What are precision balls used for?
Precision balls are used as a rolling element in ball-bearing assemblies. They are used in aeronautic bearings, automotive bearings, and guidance systems for space and defense applications where high precision is required for the proper function of these systems.
How do you choose the best stainless steel ball supplier?
Making the right choice involves three important considerations:
- Browse through the supplier’s website to understand their capabilities.
- Check customer recommendations and reviews of the supplier.
- Request a demonstration of the supplier’s capabilities to meet your customization or industry-specific requests.
- Speak to the manufacturer’s lead engineer to make sure they are aligned with your requirements.
Start a stainless steel ball project today
At The Federal Group USA, we make sure that all stainless steel balls meet your needs and industry-specific requirements: from custom steel balls to small metal balls. Contact a TFG sales engineer today.
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