usinage pièce de bronze

All About Bronze Machining

Bronze machining is a technique that is revolutionizing the automotive, marine and electronics industries. Bronze is a copper-based alloy made primarily of copper and tin that offers good resistance to wear and tear. This makes it an excellent choice for parts that will be subjected to high mechanical and environmental stress, such as components in engines, bearings, propellers, and more.

In this article, our industrial machining experts in Montreal, Quebec, explain the advantages of using this material.

Using bronze in industrial machining

Bronze offers a range of notable physical and mechanical properties, making it applicable to a variety of industrial and artistic projects.

Bronze generally has a recognizable warm, reddish-brown hue, which can vary according to the composition of the alloy. Its colour is a key element of its visual appeal.

Due to its substantial density, bronze weighs more than pure steel. This makes it a robust and strong material, perfect for use in CNC machining.

Renowned for being tough and long-lasting, bronze outperforms copper in terms of hardness and strength. Its superior mechanical characteristics make it a versatile choice for producing everything from industrial components to complex works of art.

Bronze is unaffected by exposure to harsh conditions or when coming into contact with other materials like iron, brass or steel. This toughness is due to a protective patina that naturally forms on the surface over time due to oxidation.

Bronze is also known to be malleable and is easy to shape and handle. Machining bronze is a straightforward process and bronze alloys can be shaped to meet a variety of design requirements.

Advantages of machining bronze

There are several reasons why many industries are taking an interest in bronze for creating machined parts

Good corrosion resistance
Bronze is a copper alloy that boasts a notable resistance to corrosion. Machined parts made from bronze are highly durable, which reduces costs related to maintenance and parts replacement.

High strength and endurance
Bronze is strong, making it ideal for creating components that need to be highly resilient, such as bearings and gears. It can also withstand high loads and harsh conditions.

Good machinability
Professional machinists class bronze as a metal with exceptional machinability. It can be used in the precision manufacturing processes that are required for designing high-performance parts.

Superior thermal conductivity
The superior heat conduction of this copper-tin alloy makes it an ideal choice for machining parts that require optimal heat transfer. It can also help make systems more reliable.

Negligible friction
Due to its low coefficient of friction, bronze minimizes energy loss and prolongs the lifespan of mechanical components.

Bronze can be recycled indefinitely, making it an ecologically sound choice that reduces the metal industry’s environmental footprint.

Types of bronze used in machining

Several bronze alloys can be used to machine parts that need to meet specific requirements.

Aluminum bronze
Aluminum bronze has a medium carbon content. It is typically composed of approximately 9-14% aluminum, 4% iron and about 82.7% copper. Aluminum bronze is used to manufacture rings, gears, wear plates, etc. Notable aluminum bronze alloys include C95200, C95400, C95500, C95800 and C95900.

Phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze contains around 0.01 to 0.35% phosphorus, sometimes in combination with other elements such as lead. Known for its low friction, it is used to machine springs, bolts, bushings, electrical switches, dental bridges and ship propellers.

Silicon bronze
This is a low-lead brass alloy that contains trace amounts of manganese, aluminum and zinc mixed with 0.3 to 1.4% iron. It is used to build marine hardware and architectural embellishments.

Bismuth bronze
Also known as “bismuth brass”, this alloy is an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional metals. Typically containing 1-6% bismuth, 1% nickel, 2-4% tin and zinc, it is lead-free and ideal for plumbing applications.

Manganese bronze
As the name suggests, this bronze alloy consists of 2.5 to 5.0% manganese. Manganese bronze is well-suited to machining robust parts and is used for precision machining in the aerospace, marine and oil and gas industries.

Bronze machining techniques

Metal sanding
Metal sanding involves using sandpaper to remove imperfections from the surface of a material to make it perfectly smooth and free from visible defects. Numerically controlled (CNC) sanding machines can be used to achieve a higher level of precision than traditional methods will allow.

This technique involves projecting abrasive particles at high speed onto the surface of the metal. The aim is to create a uniform texture. Sandblasting can create a textured finish or prepare a metal surface for subsequent finishing treatments.

Polishing is the final finishing process that makes the metal ultra-smooth and shiny. During this phase, the fabricator rubs the metal with fine abrasives and polishes to obtain an impeccable shine. This can be done by hand or with specialized equipment, depending on the specifications of the part.

Industrial machining applications for bronze

Bronze is currently used in a variety of industrial and artistic applications, in addition to being used for machined parts. Uses include:

  • Offshore installations
  • Metal industry
  • Art industry
  • Hydraulic engineering
  • Turbines
  • Aerospace industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Grinding applications
  • Valves

This iron and copper alloy is one of the most versatile and valuable materials currently used in mass production. Would you like to take advantage of the properties of bronze to improve your company’s productivity and performance? Find a bronze dealer online and request a quote from HARTech’s industrial machining experts. Trust our experience and expertise to help you reach your industrial goals in record time.

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