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Best Practices for Storing and Handling Metals  Copy

Published by Lucy Thurston on


Metal plays a huge role in all manner of industries, from construction to manufacturing. That said, maintaining the integrity and quality of metals means carrying out the proper storage and handling practices. For this reason, we’ve used our expertise to collate all the best practices for various metal types.  

Stainless Steel Supplier Near Me: Tips and Tricks 

As stainless steel tube suppliers in the UK, we know that corrosion resistance and durability are the characteristics that define the material. It’s these traits that make stainless steel a popular choice in numerous applications, but how do you go about storing and handling the metal? 

  1. Climate-controlled storage – When subjected to extreme humidity, stainless steel can suffer from rusting. Therefore, it’s important to store the material in a climate-controlled setting to prevent moisture build-up. You might use dehumidifiers in storage areas to maintain optimal conditions.  
  1. Avoid contamination – The corrosion-resistant properties of stainless steel can be compromised via contamination. As a result, it’s advisable to store stainless steel away from other metals, particularly those that are prone to rust. This works to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the material remains in pristine condition.  
  1. Proper handling equipment – Plastic, stainless steel, and other non-contaminating materials should be used to move stainless steel. The likes of iron and carbon steel tools can leave particles on the surface, which results in corrosion over time.  
  1. Regular cleaning and maintenance – In order to maintain its appearance and corrosion resistance, regular cleaning is required. Mild detergents and non-abrasive cleaners should be used so that the surface isn’t scratched—meanwhile, routine maintenance works to identify issues before they present themselves. 
  1. Appropriate packaging – In order to guarantee protection during storage and transportation, stainless steel should be appropriately packaged. Appropriate packaging includes protective coatings, wraps, or packaging materials that prevent scratches and surface damage. 

Top Tips from Suppliers of Aluminium 

The lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and conductive nature of aluminium is what sets it apart from other metals. You can ensure these desirable qualities remain intact by carrying out the following storing and handling practices: 

  1. Dry and ventilated storage – When subjected to excess moisture, aluminium can be affected by corrosion. Therefore, it’s important to store aluminium in a dry and well-ventilated area. If storing aluminium outside, make sure to use weather-resistant covers.  
  1. Avoid direct contact with other metals – When in direct contact with dissimilar metals, aluminium can fall victim to galvanic corrosion. As a result, aluminium should be stored separately from metals like copper or steel. If storing them near one another is unavoidable, isolating materials should be used between the metals.  
  1. Routine inspections – Stored aluminium should be inspected for signs of corrosion, particularly in condensation-prone areas. Early detection allows for prompt action, which minimises potential damage.  
  1. Proper handling and lifting – The lightweight nature of aluminium means that it can be vulnerable to scratches and dents. Appropriate lifting equipment and padding should be used to prevent surface damage during handling. It’s also important to avoid dragging aluminium sheets or extrusions across rough surfaces.  
  1. Temperature considerations – The properties of aluminium can be impacted by extreme temperatures. Although it isn’t as sensitive as some other metals, it shouldn’t be exposed to extreme heat or cold for prolonged periods. This is especially true for intricate aluminium components.

Suggestions from Brass Suppliers in the UK 

As brass tube suppliers, we can tell you that the material is a copper-zinc alloy that’s renowned for its aesthetic appeal and corrosion resistance. These properties can be protected by implementing the following storage and handling practices: 

  1. Controlled humidity storage – In order to prevent tarnishing, the humidity should be controlled in storage environments. It’s recommended that the humidity level is kept below 60%.  
  1. Avoid abrasive cleaning materials – The distinctive finish of brass can be easily damaged by abrasive materials. This means that harsh cleaning agents and abrasive tools shouldn’t be used when cleaning brass surfaces. Mild soaps and specialised brass cleaners are the preferred choice. 
  1. Protective coatings – Before storage, protective coatings can be applied to brass to shield it from environmental factors. Specialised coatings such as wax can create a barrier against moisture and airborne pollutants.  
  1. Separate storage for different alloys – Different brass alloys have slightly different properties, meaning it’s advisable to store different alloys separately to prevent any potential reactions taking place between them.  
  1. Avoid direct sunlight – Brass can be tarnished by prolonged exposure to sunlight, so it’s wise to store it away from direct sunlight and use covers and shades to protect it from UV rays.

Recommendations from Copper Suppliers in the UK 

The excellent conductivity and corrosion resistance of copper makes it a versatile metal. You can preserve these properties by storing and handling copper in the following ways: 

  1. Dry and dark storage – Copper is prone to oxidation, which creates a greenish patina. In order to avoid this, it’s recommended that copper is stored in a dry and dark environment to reduce moisture and light exposure, which slows down the oxidation process. 
  1. Regular cleaning and polishing – Regular cleaning and polishing using specialised copper cleaners is recommended to maintain the aesthetic appeal of copper. Not only does this remove tarnish, but it protects the metal from further corrosion.  
  1. Avoid acidic environments – Copper can react with acidic substances, which can lead to corrosion. Therefore, copper should be stored away from materials or environments with high acidity, including materials that are treated with acidic finishes. 
  1. Appropriate handling equipment – Non-abrasive and non-contaminating equipment should be used to handle copper. Since it’s softer than a lot of other metals, it can be easily scratched and dented if handled with rough tools.  
  1. Properly sealed packaging – Airborne pollutants can affect copper, so it’s advisable to seal copper items in airtight packaging to reduce the risk of tarnishing.  

Mild Steel Sheet Suppliers Near Me: Top Tips  

As mild steel tube suppliers, we can tell you that mild steel is renowned for its low carbon content and is widely used in construction and manufacturing. The following practices should be employed when storing and handling mild steel: 

  1. Indoor storage with adequate ventilation – Mild steel is vulnerable to rusting, particularly in humid environments. This means that mild steel should be stored in well-ventilated areas to prevent moisture build-up that can lead to corrosion. 
  1. Appropriate spacing between sheets – It’s a good idea to leave sufficient space between mild steel sheets to allow air to circulate. This way, condensation won’t form between the sheets, minimising the risk of rust. 
  1. Regular inspection for surface damage – Mild steel is more prone to surface damage than some other metals, meaning it should be regularly inspected for scratches, dents, or other forms of damage. Addressing any issues promptly means that corrosion can be prevented. 
  1. Proper lifting and handling – Mild steel can be heavy, which is why it’s vital to use proper lifting and handling techniques. The appropriate lifting equipment should be used, and the sheets will need to be properly supported during transportation and storage.  
  1. Humidity monitoring – In order to prevent rust on mild steel, you should monitor humidity levels regularly using hygrometers and take corrective measures if the conditions become unfavourable.

Make Sure Your Metal Supply Never Runs Low 

The Rapid Metals collection isn’t limited to the materials listed above; we provide all manner of metals. Be sure to browse our product range, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries or concerns.  

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