Replacing brass with stainless steel benefits environment


For sustainability reasons, ASSA ABLOY has begun using stainless steel rather than brass in a many of its locks, lock sets and locking solutions – a change that has had several positive repercussions.

Many lock components have traditionally been made out of brass because the metal is both durable and esthetically pleasing. However, when using brass an additional surface treatment process is required to protect the metal and accomplish a decorative finish. This process not only involves the use of hazardous substances, but also the consumption of a significant amount of energy. The additional surface treatment process also contributes to longer lead times, a more complicated production process and limited flexibility toward customers.

The switch to stainless steel has eliminated the need for a surface treatment process for five out of nine decorative components in ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s electronic hotel lock products. Ninety percent of the total lock volume is now made of stainless steel, of which 75 percent is untreated. Only 15 percent is electroplated to match other components still made out of brass.

The increased use of stainless steel has also reduced the use of materials, cut electricity consumption by 70 percent and lowered carbon emissions by 70 percent, while boosting quality and durability. In terms of raw materials, producing stainless steel generates 80 percent less carbon emissions than producing brass.

ASSA ABLOY has adopted a new method of metal coloration called physical vapor deposition (PVD) – an environmentally friendly process that involves vaporizing an alloy onto stainless steel within a heated vacuum. PVD requires no chemicals and produces no waste or hazardous materials of any kind, resulting in no environmental impact whatsoever. PVD-treated stainless steel surfaces are also highly resistant to wear, discoloration and corrosion.

From a customer perspective, the use of stainless steel shortens the delivery process, allows for more flexibility and ultimately results in a more sustainable and durable product. From an ASSA ABLOY perspective, the new approach eliminates a production process, reduces resource consumption, shortens lead times and it results in more secure and high-quality deliveries from a smaller number of suppliers. In summary, it creates a more attractive product.