Problems and development countermeasures in stainless steel flange industry

What is a flange?

pipe flange is a mechanical device to join pipes. Flanges are available in multiple shapes, as welding neck (the pipe is welded to the collar of the flange), threaded (the pipe is screwed on the flange), socket weld (fillet welds connections), lap joint (for connections using stub ends), slip on, etc. The ASME B16.5 and ASME B16.47 specifications cover US standard pipe flanges, the EN 1092-1 specification covers European steel flanges.

Pipe flanges are available in dimensions between 1/8 and 80 inches and in multiple (forged) material grades as ASTM A105 (carbon steel flanges for high-temperature service), ASTM A350 (CS flanges for low temperature), ASTM A694 (high yield carbon steel flanges for line pipes), ASTM A182 F304, F316, F321 (stainless steel flanges), ASTM A182 F51 (duplex steel flanges), ASTM A182 F53/55 (super duplex flanges), and higher grades (Inconel, Hastelloy, Monel flanges). Non-ferrous pipe flanges (copper, cupronickel, and aluminum) are used in marine and aeronautical applications. The pipe and the flange material shall, of course, match.

For specific applications, flanges may be coated, painted or internally lined (with Teflon, for example) to enhance the resistance of the metal to the aggression of corrosive or erosive fluids.

Stainless steel flange is an indispensable part for a stainless steel piping system, that connects the pipe to another pipe or pipe to a valve. There are holes in the flange, and get the assembly with bolts tightly.
Pipe flange is a disc-shaped part, which is most common in pipeline engineering. Stainless steel flanges are used in pairs or match with the flanged valves. In pipeline engineering, flanges are mainly used for pipe connection. It has different connected end, such as butt-welding, socket-welding, threaded etc. Different pressure flanges have different thicknesses and use different connection type.
Yaang supplies stainless steel flanges for oil and gas, chemical, offshore, marine etc. since 2007. We mainly provide flanges in materials: stainless steel 304/304L, 316/316L, 316Ti, 321, 321H, 347H, 317L, 310S, 904L, 254 SMO (A182 F44), duplex 2205, super duplex 2507 and nickel alloy such as monel 400, Hastelloy C276, Inconel 600, 625, 800H, 825 etc, with standard ASME B16.5, EN 1092-1, JIS B2220, AS 2129 etc. We also accept customized forging upon the design and drawing of client.

What are flanges types we can do?

Outstanding problems in the development of China’s stainless steel flange industry

Capacity will be severely surplus

At present, China has formed a production capacity of more than 16 million tons of stainless steel flanges, and the production capacity of stainless steel flanges under construction and proposed is also more than 10 million tons. In the next few years, the contradiction that the actual production capacity of stainless steel flanges exceeds market demand will become increasingly prominent.

Industry concentration is not high

The stainless steel flange output of Taiyuan Iron and Steel and Baosteel accounts for less than half of the national output, and the proportion of these two major stainless steel flange enterprises is even lower in terms of production capacity. This ratio in Europe and South Korea is more than 3/4. Counterfeit and inferior products seriously endanger the healthy development of the industry. In recent years, “counterfeit and inferior 200 series” has been rampant, wasting precious and scarce resources such as nickel and manganese, disrupting normal order, infringing on consumer interests, polluting stainless steel flange scrap resources, and seriously endangering the healthy development of the stainless steel flange industry.
In terms of product quality, main economic and technical indicators, and variety structure, there is still a certain gap with the international advanced level.
The production, deep processing, and consumption recycling of stainless steel flanges, as well as the recycling of waste nickel and chromium in other industries, need to be further strengthened. The development and utilization of stainless steel flange resources also requires greater investment.

The lack of high-end products of Chinese stainless steel flanges

Since China’s accession to the WTO, the stainless steel flange industry has developed rapidly, and the overall production capacity of the industry has been increasing year by year. With a complete industrial chain and good infrastructure facilities, internationally renowned brand manufacturers are gradually moving their production bases to China. However, starting from the monomer level, there are still few domestic companies that can produce high-end stainless steel flange products and meet the operating standards of international customers, and the production capacity of high-end products is still insufficient.

The lack of competitiveness of Chinese stainless steel flanges

The specific manifestations of the lack of competitiveness in China’s stainless steel flange industry are:

  • ①. The major stainless steel flange enterprises have small production scales, low industrial concentration and single product structure. The capacity of China’s largest stainless steel flange manufacturer is relatively small, which is about a large gap with the world’s largest stainless steel flange manufacturer. The small scale of production leads to high production costs and directly restricts the adoption of some advanced technologies.
  • ②. The production technology and equipment are backward, and the research and development ability is not strong. Compared with some large international stainless steel flange enterprises, Chinese stainless steel flange enterprises have low investment intensity in scientific and technological development, and their independent innovation capabilities in stainless steel flange smelting, processing technology and new product development are obviously insufficient.
  • ③. The production capacity structure of stainless steel flanges is backward. From the perspective of China’s current stainless steel flange production structure, in all stainless steel flange output, in addition to the stainless steel flanges produced by Baosteel, Taiyuan Iron and Steel and other large stainless steel flange enterprises relying on advanced technology, there is a considerable part of the output. Small and medium-sized enterprises use simple and backward production technology to produce products, and the physical quality of the products is difficult to guarantee.

The comprehensive competitive advantage of an enterprise is a higher level of enterprise competitiveness than the core competitiveness and the dominant advantage of the enterprise. The comprehensive competitive advantage of an enterprise is not a simple superposition of competitiveness factors, nor is it a simple increase or decrease in the number of competitiveness factors, but an increase and decrease in the number of structural factors. Therefore, the formation of a company’s comprehensive competitiveness is relatively complicated, but at the same time it is more durable, which is more conducive to the company’s win over the competition.

Challenges and countermeasures facing China’s stainless steel flange industry

Now the stainless steel flange industry faces three major challenges: First, the consumption of production capacity. It is estimated that in the next 3 to 5 years, or even the next 10 years, the stainless steel flange industry will strive to consume production capacity, and can consume production capacity by opening up the international market. The second is the issue of raw materials. Many of the raw materials for stainless steel flanges in China, such as nickel and chromium, come from abroad, especially laterite nickel ore, mainly from equatorial tropical countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines. At present, 60% of laterite nickel ore in China originates from Indonesia, but Indonesia has announced the export policy of laterite nickel ore. From January 1, 2014, the export of laterite nickel ore is prohibited. In addition to Indonesia, countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines may also introduce similar policies in the future, because it is impossible for any country to export primary products at low prices for a long time. Under such circumstances, how to obtain laterite nickel ore for Chinese stainless steel flange manufacturers has become an urgent problem. The third is the problem of cost, especially the problem of a sharp increase in labor costs. Nowadays, labor costs in many companies are getting higher and higher. For this reason, stainless steel flange manufacturers apply advanced technology to improve their technical level, thereby reducing labor and production costs.
With the development of China’s industrialization process, the demand for industrial stainless steel flanges will continue to expand. According to the preliminary investigation of the stainless steel flange industry, domestic power generation, petrochemical, and shipbuilding are all in short supply. The actual situation is that the stainless steel flange materials needed by these industries have to queue up abroad for purchase, which is restricted by the other party.

In order to accelerate the development of these stainless steel flanges in demand, the industries on both sides of the supply and demand must play a role as a bridge, communicate and contact both parties, work together to meet challenges, jointly tackle key problems, research and develop new materials, and accelerate the process of localization.

Source: China Pipe Flange Manufacturer – Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited (

(Yaang Pipe Industry is a leading manufacturer and supplier of nickel alloy and stainless steel products, including Super Duplex Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings, Stainless Steel Pipe. Yaang products are widely used in Shipbuilding, Nuclear power, Marine engineering, Petroleum, Chemical, Mining, Sewage treatment, Natural gas and Pressure vessels and other industries.)

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