The Future of Brass Turned Components: Emerging Technologies and Trends
Most industries today are evolving to meet consumer, legislative and economic demands. CNC brass turned components are no exception. Yet, like other industries, there are some barriers as manufacturers try to balance digitisation, green initiatives and emerging markets.
Industry 4.0: The Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The term ‘Industry 4.0’ is in reference to the fusion of manufacturing with the latest digital processes, which is seen by some as a 4th industrial revolution. You can see Industry 4.0 emerging through uptakes in the internet, cloud computing, data analytics and, more recently, artificial intelligence.
The new technologies that are available aim to maximise efficiency, production rates and safety more than ever before. CNC and engineering are good examples that showcase and even embrace modern technologies:
- Cloud computing allows you to store and access project CAD and CAM code.
- AI and ML can make predictions allowing you to adjust processes in real-time.
- You can use the virtual twin methodology to replicate complex manufacturing processes.
Any of your traditional manufacturing processes, such as making brass-turned components, can integrate into these modern complex drivers with the right level of service for expansion.
This level of modernisation requires much more than buying new machines, and an entirely new shift in operations may be necessary. And this includes network upgrades, new computer installations and developing cybersecurity to meet the PSTI bill as digitisation increases.
The Digitalisation of Manufacturing
The digitalisation of products and services is changing whole industries, with some thriving from the inclusion of on-demand services such as the food delivery service, which is now worth over £10 billion in the UK alone. These advancements have also had a profound effect on CNC manufacturing.
Unless something is hand-crafted, it's hard to find a product that doesn't come from a digitised manufacturing plant. For many manufacturers, this means using CAD and CAM software to accurately model parts. This allows you to then replicate these parts to a high level of accuracy.
Additionally, using digital systems can alleviate some of the issues that are unforeseeable and plague the industry. For example, you can make actionable decisions based on real-time data capture. This can be in response to production rates, supply chain issues and even global events such as COVID-19.
Adopting Sustainable Manufacturing
One of the potential benefits of digitalisation is the adoption of more sustainable manufacturing methods. For example, at Currie and Warner, we operate an environmental policy that meets ISO 14001:2015.
Because of this, we can integrate traditional manufacturing methodologies with modern eco-friendly policies. More than implementing an office and site-wide recycling initiative, modern companies must commit to a more complex initiative:
- Find ways to increase efficiency in accordance with waste reduction guidelines.
- Work with partners, clients and customers to build trust in sustainable practices.
- Progressively work towards changing operations for long-term sustainability.
- Implement and actively measure green policy KPIs with regular reviews.
- Commit to suitable pollution prevention and zero-waste landfill initiatives.
Changes in Regulations and Standards
As we become more aware of the environmental impact of certain operations, policies are liable to change. Brass turning is no less affected by this than other manufacturers and changes are made to reflect safer industrial practices.
One excellent example are controls on lead content in brass. Lead has the capacity to affect drinking water and also raises environmental concerns. This led to the development of Eco-brass that contains less than 0.1% lead content, making it suitable for food and water parts.
Of course, not all changes are in response to laws and manufacturing industries recognise the need for change. For instance, manufacturers of brass turned components commonly used multi-purpose machines, supplementing production with automation and making better use of resources through improved planning.
Challenges and Barriers
Health and safety is a crucial part of any industry and plays a significant role in manufacturing and CNC because of the higher chance of injury. All CNC services should have the correct capabilities to meet all safety concerns, including operator training, ventilation and power supply.
The internationally recognised standards for quality control fall under ISO 9001. And these controls apply across many products, from the smallest nuts and bolts to vehicle door mechanisms. Manufacturers should never put profit margins ahead of proper quality assurance.
Environmental concerns are high on the priority list of almost all manufacturing companies. CNC services, being at the forefront of manufacturing, take this very seriously. Though improvements continue to be made, a larger challenge remains when balancing operations against environmental responsibilities.
Future Applications and Markets for Brass Turned Components
Brass manufacturing is always evolving, and CNC forms a large part of the industry. There is still a growing need for components such as brass-turned parts in new markets and applications:
- Brass is water resistant, and so is essential for the $111.64 billion bathroom industry.
- Water pumps can be enhanced to also generate energy as part of renewable policies.
- Codes from typical brass parts can be applied to other materials, such as car parts.
All industries need to change with the times, meaning CNC brass components can find new uses in non-traditional markets. However, there is still a major supply of these parts, mainly because they are reliable, with the brass rods market projected to reach $9.51 billion by 2027.