Stainless steel replaces brass for wide sustainability benefits

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Using stainless steel instead of brass for lock and door components minimizes the environmental footprint in the manufacturing process as well as improving product durability.

Challenge

For durability and esthetic reasons, many lock components have traditionally been made out of brass. However, when using brass, an additional surface treatment process (electroplating) is required to protect the metal and accomplish a decorative finish. Electroplating involves the use of hazardous substances as well as the consumption of a significant amount of energy. It is a complicated production process which includes long lead times and less flexibility for the customers.

Solution

For these reasons, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality has used stainless steel instead of brass when producing handles for electronic hotel locks. Over the past couple of years, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality made the same transition for stamped parts, with good results. In 2016 and 2017, half of the annual volume transitioned from brass to stainless steel and in 2018 work is starting to convert the remaining volume. The use of stainless steel eliminates the need for electroplating. The switch to stainless steel has reduced the use of materials by 5 percent, cut electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in a life cycle perspective by more than 28 percent and 9 percent, respectively, while boosting quality and durability.

Result

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 results in high-quality deliveries from a smaller number of suppliers, in a safer workplace. In summary, it creates a more attractive product that meets all technical requirements while minimizing the environmental footprint.