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Bernd Heinermann Manager Product Management & Application Engineering

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Materials

Non-ferrous Metals

Properties of Aluminum and Other Non-ferrous Metals

All metallic alloys containing little to no iron, with the exception of precious metals, are referred to as non-ferrous (NF) metals. These include magnesium, copper, zinc, bronze, brass, and, most importantly, aluminum. Non-ferrous metals are divided into wrought and cast alloys. The former can be worked immediately, whereas the latter must first be shaped into the desired form.
Non-ferrous metals – versatile materials for industrial applications

One of the most important and best known non-ferrous metals, which all belong to the ISO N group, is aluminum. It is highly popular in the engineering and automotive sectors due to its low dead weight and corrosion resistance. The most common grades include the aluminum alloys AlMgSi1, AlZn5.5MgCu, and AlSi9Mg.

Each of the aluminum alloys listed above poses its own unique set of challenges. See below for a description:

  • AlMgSi1: AlMgSi1, also known as EN AW 6082, is a wrought aluminum alloy (material number 3.2315). It is easy to weld, requires low cutting forces, and can be faced with a high-quality coating. After aluminum, silicon (Si) is the second largest component of the material. Medium to high tensile strengths are possible. The main issues encountered when machining the material include its tendency to adhere to the tool, burr formation, and poor chip control.
  • AlZn5,5MgCu: Due to its high tensile strength and because it is easy to polish and machine, this cast aluminum alloy, also known as EN AW 7075, is widely used in aerospace, engineering, as well as tool and die-making applications. However, this material also exhibits a tendency to form burrs as well as to adhere to the cutting edge of the tool and makes chip control more difficult.
  • AlSi9Mg: This material (material number 3.2373), also known as EN AC-43300, is one of the most important age-hardenable AlSi casting alloys. It is highly resistant to corrosion. AlSi9Mg offers high tensile strength after hardening and is regarded as easy to machine. It is commonly used in automotive and engineering applications. The material is also suitable for complex cast parts. The primary issue encountered when machining the material is its abrasiveness, which leads to increased tool wear.

When machining non-ferrous metals – and aluminum in particular, it is important to consider the specific issues with the material. Special requirements in terms of the cutting fluid as well as burr formation also play a critical role. As an international company specializing in cutting tools, ZCC also offers high-quality, durable turning, milling, and drilling tools for applications involving non-ferrous metals.

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