Leaded brasses have been widely used in many industries: water or hydraulic components, mechanical parts, electrical contacts, micromechanical or watch components, furniture components, decorative and architectural elements, musical instruments…
The typical lead (Pb) content (up to 3% or 4%) enables good hot formability and machinability to the alloys.
However lead is known for its toxicity, even at low levels. If ingested or inhaled, lead and its compounds are poisonous both to animals and humans. Lead is also a neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones over time, damaging the nervous system and potentially causing brain disorders. The elimination of Pb from all widely used material is therefore an environmental imperative.
Regulation is becoming more and more restrictive regarding the usage of leaded brass and these alloys will sooner or later be banned.
Lebronze alloys is actively engaged in proposing environmentally sustainable and ethical solutions. This allows our customers to propose to their own customers environmentally friendly products and services.
Aware of the technological and economic challenge that the move towards an unleaded brass world represents, Lebronze alloys has developed many solutions to support its customers towards this goal. These solutions are environmentally responsible, durable and cost effective.
Today, we produce more than 4000 T / year of unleaded brass and more than 4000 T / year of other unleaded copper alloys.
Lebronze alloys is member of the study group – machining of unleaded alloys -in collaboration with the RWTH Aachen and IGF, Federal Ministry of Economics.
Lebronze alloys offer covers a range of materials with lead contents that vary from less than 1000 PPM (0.1%) to less than 60 PPM (0.006%). Furthermore, Lebronze alloys offers raw material (flat, bars, tubes, profiles, wires, …) as well as engineered components.
For electrical applications as well as for mechanical applications or fluid transport, Lebronze alloys will support you with its expertise to implement the best cost effective solution taking into account all relevant technical constraints.
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European directive 1998/83/CE regulates the quality of drinking water. Regarding lead, the maximum concentration in water is fixed to 10 µg/l. The copper alloys that fulfill this requirement are listed in the list of German Drinking Water Act TrinkwV2001. In the United-States, since January 2014, all copper alloys in contact with drinking water have to have a lead content lower than 0.25% (2500 PPM).
European directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS, Restriction of Hazardous Substances) applicable for the electrical and electronic industry. This limits the usage of 10 toxic elements. Regarding lead, the RoHS directive states a level that does not exceed 1000 PPM (0.1%). Copper alloys are listed in the exemption list and a maximum level up to 4% is currently accepted until July 22, 2019
European directive 2000/53/CE (ELV, End of life Vehicle) aims at reducing waste arising from end-of-life vehicles. The directive covers aspects along the life cycle of a vehicle as well as aspects related to treatment operations. As such it aims at preventing the use of certain heavy metals such as lead. The lead content in metal is limited to 1000 PPM (0.1%) maximum. Copper alloys are listed in the exemption list and a maximum level up to 4% is currently accepted until July 22, 2019.
European Union Regulation 1907/2006 (REACH, Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment.
For Jewelry products, REACH states a maximum lead content to 500 PPM (0.05%). Derogations for crystal glass; internal components of watch timepieces inaccessible to consumers; non-synthetic or reconstructed precious and semiprecious stones unless they have been treated with lead or its compounds or mixtures containing these substances; enamels, defined as vitrifiable mixtures resulting from the fusion, vitrification or sintering of minerals melted at a temperature of at least 500°C, are applicable, as well as for jewelry more than 50 years old. All values and exceptions will be evaluated again latest on October 9, 2017.
For all mass market components that children could potentially put into their mouth, the maximum level of lead is also 500 PPM (0.05%). Several exemptions are granted to this restriction, such as jewellery (as already restricted), crystal glass, several precious and semi-precious stones, specific enamels, keys and locks, musical instruments, articles and parts of articles comprising brass alloys (if the concentration of lead does not exceed 0,5 %), tips of writing instruments, religious articles, portable zinc-carbon batteries and button cell batteries, packaging material, articles with food contact, toys, electrical and electronic products. All values and exceptions will be evaluated again latest on July 1, 2019.