- ALMAG spa - Azienda Lavorazioni Metallurgiche ed Affini Gnutti

Utilization

USE

Brass is commonly perceived, even among technicians, as an alloy for architectural use, for its characteristic color and maybe because of its similarity to gold. Manufacturers of metal parts, for the most diverse areas of application, have often found that a specific cost-benefit analysis proves surprisingly that the higher cost of the raw material is more than offset by the cost of production, so that at the end a brass piece costs considerably less based on the same performance. Let's look at the technological features and competitive advantages of this material, in comparison with other materials commonly used. Brass is a copper-zinc alloy with sometimes added with other elements to obtain specific properties; it can be provided as semi-finished products such as sheet metal, strips, tubes etc., or in round full and hollow bars, extrusions, wires, etc. intended mainly for mechanical processing or hot pressing, which are the main object of Almag Spa production. It is a series of alloys with 57-63% copper content and zinc to complement, with other elements added for particular characteristics, such as lead, which is added in levels up to 3.5% to promote the removal of chips. The legislation provides numerous alloys for this composition range, so it is possible to have the most appropriate composition corresponding to the set of technological characteristics desired, as illustrated in the catalog. In the same catalog, you can learn the size and relative dimensional tolerances of the bars; suffice it to say that the tolerances are usually expressed in hundredths of a millimeter to see that they meet the most stringent requirements demanded by modern machines.

 

 

MAIN FIELDS OF USE AND APPLICATION

As stated above, despite the relatively high cost of the raw material, compared to other metals such as steel, in many cases the use of brass with lead yields a more convenient finished product, mainly for the following reasons:

  • details that are obtained by hot pressing, in near definitive shapes;
  • incomparable cutting speeds in machining by chip removal;
  • corrosion resistance;
  • complete and convenient recycling of processing waste;
  • good thermal and electrical conductivity;
  • no embrittlement down to -100° C.

This results in the main areas of use:

  • construction industry: fittings, valves, taps, for the distribution of drinking water, heating, air conditioning, fire protection, irrigation, handles, locks and elements of architecture and furniture;
  • industrial sector: fittings, valves, taps for the distribution of compressed gas and industrial fluids, various small parts for building machines, elements for the transduction of signals, etc.;
  • automotive industry: fittings, bolts, screws, elements for the transduction of signals, electrical and non-electrical clamps;
  • electromechanical sector: clamps, lugs, bolts and screws, etc.

 

 

RECYCLABILITY

The high costs of raw materials, energy, and environmental protection require an absolute reduction of non-recyclable or poorly recyclable raw materials. In this sense, brass is an example of excellence, in fact:

  • machining scrap: it is essentially swarf and blanking from hot forging, which are entirely re-used, with a value that, unlike other metals, is not much lower than the price of the semi-finished product used. Evidenced by the fact that convertion contracts are common in this field, that is to say that the scraps produced by a process are re-processed by the manufacturer in a new semi-finished product, for only the processing cost; so the apparently higher price of semi-finished products is in many cases really cheaper compared to other metals or raw materials, whose recycling is more difficult and therefore more expensive.
  • energy: the high thermal conductivity of brass and the use of electric induction furnaces with very high yields allow for lower energy expenditure, which for example is less than half of that required to produce one kilogram of steel.
  • environmental compatibility: fusion technologies have low environmental impact that can be totally controlled; also in this case by-products are conveniently entirely recycled.

DRINKING WATER

Brass is used for the production of parts that are often in contact with water intended for human consumption. With particularly aggressive water, some brass alloys release Lead and Nickel, which can affect the potability of the water. The world has witnessed in recent years a plethora of rules and regulations designed to limit the presence of hazardous substances in materials intended for water distribution.
There are different approaches that deserve separate discussions:
   USA
   EUROPA E 5MS
   ITALIA