Green Innovations in the Metals Industry: GreenAlloys

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If you caught the first part of our series on green innovations in the metals industry, you’ll know that the MetalMiner staff is excited about following the growth and development of green metals. We love hearing about eco-friendly improvements and new practices in the metals industry. The men and women behind GreenAlloys share this excitement for going green, and they decided to take a step to make metals recycling and low-lead products more prominent in our society. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk to Al Barbour, president and CEO of Concast Metals Products Co., the company responsible for GreenAlloys. If you want to be a progressive company or manufacturer today, you need to look at what the end customer wants, he says of his eco-friendly metals company, touted as the next generation of environmentally-friendly alloys and materials. The view of society is moving in this direction, this green direction. This is a trend that will remain long-term.

In addition to their recycling practices, GreenAlloys has tried to make a difference for years through the low-lead content of their products, often as low as .05 percent. It’s not common knowledge, but most household plumbing and water service lines include amounts of lead that when used in fixtures, particularly brass fixtures, can cause health problems when it reaches the water supply, Barbour explains. This is one reason that California recently passed new regulations for the lead content in metal pipes, fixtures, and fittings, despite opposition from a number of manufacturers. By 2010, no valve or fixture in California can contain more than .25 percent lead, and it’s expected that other states will follow with similar laws and legislation. We try to stay ahead of the curve, Barbour says. I think our lead-free, environmentally friendly products — some that we’ve been producing for the past 15 years — will have far-reaching applications.

Barbour notes that the lack of lead doesn’t harm the quality of the company’s products. If anything, it’s an improvement. Replacing lead with bismuth, for example, or silicon, still allows for fantastic strength and lubricity, without the health risks of lead, he says. There are metallurgists and engineers working with all of our products. We have an ISO-certified plant and a full metallurgical lab and mechanical testing.

While known for their custom alloys, which are all created and content-adjusted to fit individual needs for better machinability, more mechanical strength, or other particular content details, GreenAlloys has also been praised for two patented, lead-free alloys that have gone above and beyond the call for safe health practices and environmental demands. These are EcoBrass, a relatively new product that has seen great success and reviews, and Federalloy, copper alloys that Concast has produced since 1993. This particular copper alloy even saves energy — and cost — for companies, as Federalloy casts better at lower temperatures.

Our products are all made from recycled content and scrap metals — whether copper, tin from another alloy, brass clips. Everything is secondary sourced, Barbour says.

This is how one company is going green, but do you know of any other companies in the metals industry that have unveiled their own green innovations? Let us know!

–Amy Edwards

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