Let’s talk lead free
Q&A with Martin A. Little, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Concast Metal Products Company
Q: What is the history of Concast? At Concast, we trace our beginning back to 1891, when we began production of brass and bronze ingot in Pittsburgh, Pa. Since 1960, Concast has been producing continuous cast products. Fifty five years of history have led to today’s high standard of excellence.
In the mid-1990s, the company pioneered the entry into GreenAlloys, a Concast registered trade name, by making several low-lead alloys available to the market. Today, Concast offers in excess of 100 sizes of C89835, which is the lead free replacement alloy for C93200, whichis the most popular continuous cast copper alloy.
In 2009, we expanded our Birmingham, Ohio facility and added wrought drawn products to complement our total product offerings.
Q: What is Concast like today?
A: Concast Metal Products is the largest continuous cast manufacturer of copper alloys in North America. Today, Concast employees approximately 140 people and has two production facilities. The facilities in Mars, Pa., and Birmingham, Ohio have a total of 14 casting lines; five vertical and nine horizontal. We have distribution partners in Europe, South America and our own sales force in China, where our products present a high quality option for the OEM market.
Q: Customer service is a pillar for many companies. What is Concast’s customer service commitment?
A: We offer the market a total value proposition:
- Largest inventory of continuous cast copper alloys finished product in the world including both standard stocked items and customer specific stocking programs.
- A quality system that is certified to ISO 9001: 2008.
- The best technical resources in the industry, both engineering and metallurgical.
- The ability to manufacturer most products at both plants.
- Manufacturing of 40-50 alloys per month, including custom alloys.
- Experienced staff with an average of 20-30 years in the metals industry.
- Overall flexibility in our ability to service customers with what they need, when they need it.
- Assurance to customers that they are dealing with a mill partner that does not offer any in-house machining or act as a distributor.
- A lead sharing program for major distributors. When a customer calls with a non-mill requirement, we pass the lead on to one of our major distributors.
Q: Why has lead free been a focus for Concast over the years?
A: Concast started producing lead free alloys in 1993. Concast has been the only foundry in the nation licensed to produce the Federalloy series of lead free copper alloys. Initially, we responded to the market due to the concerns around the lead issue and the inevitable legislative move to mandate lead content regarding drinking water.
Today, we see other industries, outside of the potable water industry mandating lead free usage in their products and we are seeing strong demand and growth for these products on a monthly basis. Our lead free replacement alloys have extremely low lead content, often as low as 0.05 percent. Within these alloys, lead is replaced by other elements, but the product still offers exceptional lubricity, pressure tightness, wear, strength, hardness and machinability.
Concast is now offering C89835, a lead free C932 replacement, as a standard-stocked inventory item. This alloy is also a suitable replacement for C836 and C844. C89835 standard-stocked alloy supports the market demand for lead free material and compliance with the 3874 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, effective January 2014. C89835 has a max lead content of 0.05 percent.
Concast produces several standard lead free replacement alloys that range from aluminum bronzes to high tin bronzes. These alloys are recognized by the Copper Development Association and are manufactured to ASTM specifications.
We are the only continuous cast lead free producer with in-stock finished goods inventory available for immediate shipment. We plan to continue to expand our inventory for lead free products.
Q: What can readers expect from Concast in 2016?
A: In order to maintain our position as the leader in our industry, it is necessary to maintain an ongoing capital investment program in our facilities and people.