Manufacturers missing out on high-speed machining benefits of brass

July 10, 2018 - 01:30pm
Manufacturers missing out on high-speed machining benefits of brass

U.S. machine shops are potentially underutilizing the machinability of brass by as much as 85 percent in their part processing operations, reports a recent study from the Copper Development Association Inc. The research shows that machine shops can and should be machining the material at significantly faster feeds and speeds – often five to 20 times faster – than they do to increase productivity and profitability.

Today’s brass rod materials, for instance, not only machine easier and faster, they do so without having a negative impact on tool wear, part surface finishes or chip formation. With the power and rigidity of the latest high-speed machine tools, shops have the capability to boost brass workpiece material-removal rates in their milling, drilling and turning operations. Also, according to the study, alternative materials such as steel and stainless steel lack the competitive high-speed machining advantages derived from brass.

As a key enabler of current technological advancements in machine tools, brass allows shops to do more high-speed machining for significantly reduced part cycle times. Shorter cycle times, in turn, translate into potentially lower costs per part and more throughput.

In addition to all its machinability benefits, brass is also 100 percent recyclable. The high scrap value of brass allows manufacturers to recoup much of the initial raw material cost through scrap buy-back programs. Machining scrap in the form of chips is then used to produce new brass over and over again with no loss in material properties, contributing to a sustainable planet.

Related Glossary Terms

  • gang cutting ( milling)

    gang cutting ( milling)

    Machining with several cutters mounted on a single arbor, generally for simultaneous cutting.

  • machinability


    The relative ease of machining metals and alloys.

  • milling


    Machining operation in which metal or other material is removed by applying power to a rotating cutter. In vertical milling, the cutting tool is mounted vertically on the spindle. In horizontal milling, the cutting tool is mounted horizontally, either directly on the spindle or on an arbor. Horizontal milling is further broken down into conventional milling, where the cutter rotates opposite the direction of feed, or “up” into the workpiece; and climb milling, where the cutter rotates in the direction of feed, or “down” into the workpiece. Milling operations include plane or surface milling, endmilling, facemilling, angle milling, form milling and profiling.

  • turning


    Workpiece is held in a chuck, mounted on a face plate or secured between centers and rotated while a cutting tool, normally a single-point tool, is fed into it along its periphery or across its end or face. Takes the form of straight turning (cutting along the periphery of the workpiece); taper turning (creating a taper); step turning (turning different-size diameters on the same work); chamfering (beveling an edge or shoulder); facing (cutting on an end); turning threads (usually external but can be internal); roughing (high-volume metal removal); and finishing (final light cuts). Performed on lathes, turning centers, chucking machines, automatic screw machines and similar machines.


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