Manitowoc Foodservice Applies Enovation to Materials Management

Choosing the right stainless steel requires more than a magnet

In the foodservice industry, it’s commonly accepted wisdom that stainless steel with magnetic qualities isn’t a good choice for food applications.  But technology and testing prove that a variety of stainless grades, including some with magnetic qualities, can be used to produce durable, long-life food equipment that stands up to the rigors of the foodservice industry.

Continuing increases in raw materials prices (see chart:  Raw Materials Costs, 2004-Present) coupled with concerns about availability are creating new opportunities for innovation in raw materials management. 

Raw Materials Costs 2004 to 2007

Stainless steel and copper costs have more than tripled since 2004, leading materials costs escalation.  Chrome has also increased significantly.  Sources: and London Metal Exchange.

Using Manitowoc Foodservice Enovation in Metals Material Management

Manitowoc Foodservice uses a proprietary process we call Manitowoc Foodservice Enovation to accelerate introduction of proven technology and products to the foodservice market through documented, collaborative process that includes our internal technology resources, expert partners in a variety of disciplines and supply chain management.  Manitowoc Foodservice recently has applied the Enovation process to metals material management to provide foodservice operators globally with durable, long-lasting equipment.  Manitowoc Foodservice and its operating companies engaged a global team of metallurgical experts with vast experience in a variety of industries, including steel suppliers, leading metal laboratories, and testing agencies.  Through this collaborative effort, we’ve life-and-stress tested optimal grades of stainless steel on multiple criteria to determine their suitability for use in demanding foodservice applications. As a result, we are implementing prudent changes in our use of stainless steel that assure our products will deliver industry-leading performance, reliability and durability.  We are also using our Manitowoc Foodservice Enovation process to generate additional performance benefits and application innovation to the foodservice market.   Following is a summary of the exploration, evaluation and conclusions that help us select the right stainless steel to deliver performance and value.

Critical Performance Criteria

Because of the wide spectrum of uses of stainless in foodservice, more than a dozen specific characteristics were identified and performance criteria established for stainless use across our broad portfolio of products.  Based on the types of equipment and applications, a sampling of our evaluation and performance criteria included:

Evaluation and Testing

Manitowoc Foodservice and its operating companies utilized a variety of information and resources to review existing stainless performance data.   To assist with testing and evaluation of results, Manitowoc Foodservice engaged leading independent labs and experts in addition to its own internal and supply chain resources.  Extensive testing was conducted on specific stainless grades which demonstrated the best potential based on determined criteria.  Application-specific evaluation and testing was used to determine appropriate stainless use for primary food contact applications, interior and exterior surfaces, and for non-exposed areas.  The collaboration among all resources permitted full evaluation of material performance, and encouraged exploration of all findings, options, and final recommendations.

Findings and Results

While Manitowoc Foodservice and its supply chain partners consider much of our testing work to be proprietary, we’ve chosen to publish an example of findings here to help foodservice operators better understand how our efforts contribute to equipment performance, durability, and value. 

The following spider diagram illustrates one of the many ways we grade and select metals based on application requirements. 

Simple Materials Performance Evaluation

Silver area:  Typical customer performance requirements on 5 criteria

Blue area:  Typical 400-series stainless performance meets and exceeds all criteria for this application.

This simplified chart demonstrates metal performance (blue area) versus a general market requirement (silver area).  This chart shows performance on a limited selection of performance criteria.  Manitowoc Foodservice uses a more detailed evaluation and grading process to make final selections of steel for specific applications and customer uses.  This chart demonstrates that the stainless used in this application meets or exceeds determined performance requirements.  Each steel grade has its own performance characteristics which are optimized by picking the “right” material for a specific customer application.  Using this and other tools helps us optimize metal performance while meeting and exceeding general market and customer specifications. 

Short and Long Term Implications

As a result of this work and ongoing metallurgical exploration, Manitowoc Foodservice uses a wider variety of stainless steel and other materials to meet the rigorous demands of the foodservice environment while delivering continuing value to our customers.  Specifically:


Continuing increases in raw materials prices (see chart:  Raw Materials Costs, 2004-Present) coupled with concerns about availability are creating new opportunities for innovation in raw materials management.  Following collaborative testing and evaluation with leading global metallurgical experts, Manitowoc Foodservice and its companies have placed into production more products using durable 400 series stainless steel where specific grades meet our rigorous performance, quality and durability standards.  For proprietary and competitive reasons, we do not publish specifications on the stainless grades we use as specific uses vary based on performance requirements, applications, availability and cost factors. 

More Information

We’re updating our websites with new information on materials evaluation and use.  Visit for updates.  Registration is required for access to this information. 

Please direct any inquiries related our metals material management to your Manitowoc Foodservice sales or account manager, or contact us by e-mail at:  Materials Inquiry