The global pharmaceutical industry is worth about £600 billion per annum (2012). This ranges from over-the-counter paracetamol at a few pence per tablet to complex drugs costing thousands of pounds per treatment. 316L (1.4404) stainless steel has become the norm in this industry. This is used for its combination of corrosion resistance, inertness, hygienic properties and ability to be disinfected. All of these basic properties of stainless steel are enhanced by mirror polishing or electropolishing.
Applications within the pharmaceutical industry include: reaction vessels, pipework, isolators (glove boxes), injection equipment, autoclaves, conveyors and clean rooms.
Stainless steel provides an ideal material for one of the most demanding industries.