What is Brass?

Brass is a metal alloy that consists primarily of copper and zinc. The mechanical properties of brass depend on percentage of zinc along with several additional elements, which can vary significantly. Brass is harder and has a lower melting point than copper, but it has excellent working properties and is excellent for many end uses.

The Brass Forging Process

At Queen City Forging, we use the application of heat and pressure in the forging and forming processes to shape and enhance metallurgical properties, ensuring every brass component meets or exceeds the design requirements. The forging process ensures durability of safety critical components in the most severe service conditions.

Cutting and Heating of Raw Materialbrass rods

Ordering brass bar stock to the specified alloy composition in one of the many forms and shapes available is the typical first step in the process. Saw cutting provides blanks, sometimes called slugs, that then enter the forging or forming process.  Some grades of brass alloy may be processed at room temperature, but it is most common for slugs to be heated to improve formability. Temperature for hot forging is usually in excess of 1000 degrees F but both the alloy and complexity of the configuration will determine the exact process requirements.

Forging

In the forging process, the cut slugs are placed between dies and force is applied as the dies are pressed together. This forces the brass slug to flow, while remaining solid, to fill cavities in the dies creating a new shape configuration and enhancing the material properties.

Trimming

To assure a complex die cavity is filled, excess material flowing out of the cavity is trapped in a narrow “flash land”. This assures sufficient pressure to force material to fill the cavity but not damaging the die, the forging equipment or the part being forged. The excess material, called “flash” extends around the forging at the “parting line”, the location the dies meet when pressed together. A process called “trimming” removes this flash.

Cleaning the forgings

Typically, residual oxides formed during heating or lubricants used during the forging process will discolor the surface of the forged component. Discoloration is often removed by vibratory or blast cleaning with abrasives, depending upon the surface finish required. These processes may also remove or smooth any remaining burrs from trimming operations.

Testing and Certification

Testing requirements vary with customer specification based on product end use, but it is typical to provide certifications of conformance of compliance to the process design along with evidence of the alloy used and measurements taken during operations.

Packaging and Delivery

Brass is a relatively soft material compared to iron-based alloys such as steel and stainless steel. Often there are cosmetic requirements or a need to protect surfaces from further damage during shipping that require brass forgings to be specially packaged. QC Forge provides packaging materials and methods to assure product arrives intact and undamaged whether across the state or across an ocean.

Why Brass Forging

Forging assures exceptional durability to products as the process of deforming metal in a solid state guarantees full density in components designed for fluid handling and corrosion resistance. Brass alloys offer exceptional thermal and electrical conductivity, ease of formability

and machineability. Add to that corrosion resistance, compatibility with many other materials and environments, and the ability of the alloy to accept a wide variety of plating options. These attributes make brass forgings the ideal choice for many applications.

What are some typical forged or formed brass components?

brass bolts, screws, fittings

  • Plumbing fittings for many types of fluids especially water faucets and taps
  • Components used in outdoor environments such as metal fitting on boats and vehicles
  • Knobs, handles and many “hand-touch” items that require antimicrobial properties
  • Bushings and bearings where the “self-lubricating” properties of a copper-based alloy are an advantage
  • Display or architectural items where the warm, golden color of polished brass provides enhanced appearance

Queen City Forging is a leader in providing of brass and other alloy forgings. Let us assist you to solve design and quality issues.