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Story 058 – 2000 – Innovation

Environmentally friendly brass

Wieland develops lead-free machining materials

For a long time lead has been an indispensable alloy component of brass, which is mainly used in machining. With profound know-how in copper materials and process technology, Wieland succeeded in offering lead-free machining materials which meet the requirements of efficient turning shops.

Ever since the company was founded, it has been part of Wieland's successful concept to specifically improve the properties of metallic materials by alloying them. This also applies to machining brass, which has been used successfully for decades and which can be optimally processed in machining operations due to the material structure and the alloying element lead: Its advantages include short shavings, long tool life, smooth component surfaces and the low energy consumption of machine tools.

However, lead is not harmless to health and the environment. That is why there is growing interest in lead-reduced or lead-free materials - especially since legislators are now also striving to reduce the lead content in copper alloys. This is like trying to square the circle, as low lead levels naturally impair the machinability of materials.

Long before the subject became as current as it is today, in the mid-1990s, Wieland set itself the goal of developing lead-free materials - with success: Since the beginning of the 2000s Wieland - as a pioneer in Europe - has been able to offer lead-free semi-finished products made of brass materials. These include the silicon brass CuZn21Si3SiP, better known as Ecobrass. It is used wherever, in addition to good machinability, high mechanical strength values are required - i.e. primarily for material and resource-saving constructions. Wieland's portfolio of machinable, lead-free copper materials has now been significantly expanded and will be further enhanced in the coming years.

But a challenge remains: Ultimately, the classic, lead-containing machining brass is still superior to the new lead-free materials in machining. Wieland is therefore intensively studying the material behaviour during machining. This also includes funded projects with research institutes and other external partners in which the entire machining process including tools and machine settings is optimized for the new lead-free brass materials. In the spirit of "Empowering Success", Wieland not only provides its customers with a portfolio of innovative lead-free machining materials but also with detailed parameters for their processing.

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Lead-free alloys