Lead-free gunmetal – the all-rounder

Lead-free gunmetal – the all-rounder

Our REACH- and RoHS-compliant material for a seamless, uncompromising switchover.

Making the switch to lead-free easy

Lead-free gunmetal is approved under the new drinking water directive and provides flawless, uncompromising processing properties. With this alloy, you can meet all the requirements of REACH and RoHS. We’re happy to advise you commitment-free when switching over your components.

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Lead content – the focal point of the guidelines

The revised Drinking Water Directive protects members of the public and the environment from contaminated drinking water and improves access to it. The directive came into effect on 12 January 2021 and introduces minimum requirements for materials that come into contact with drinking water EU-wide. Article 11 of the directive outlines the framework for minimum hygiene requirements. The ECHA supports the European Commission in creating European positive lists for approved materials and develops risk assessment methods and management processes for updates. The positive lists are regularly updated in order to add new entries or change or remove existing entries.

The ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) creates an EU positive list for materials in contact with drinking water. Substances available in the member states are evaluated within 15 years following publication. Each approved substance is permitted for a limited period of time. Companies can make applications to have their substances retained in the list or to add new substances. The ECHA and the risk assessment committee will check the applications and make recommendations.

Current situation in Germany:

The German Environmental Agency (UBA) has defined principles of assessment for materials in contact with drinking water. These were compiled in the last few years for material groups such as lead as a metal material. UBA principles of assessment also contain positive lists of substances.

In April 2023, the ECHA made a proposal to the European Commission for eight substances to be accepted into Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation (authorisation list). After being accepted, these substances may only be traded on the EEA market or used with approval or an application made in good time. The purpose of the approval procedure is to promote fewer alternatives of high concern, while controlling the environmental and health risks to an appropriate extent. Metallic lead has been on the list of candidates for substances of high concern (SVHC) since 2018.

No exemptions for lead

The recommendation contains information on sunset dates for prohibiting the use, application deadlines for continuous use following the sunset date and testing intervals for specified uses. There are no exemptions for lead in the proposal.

The final decision regarding the acceptance of the substances and the regulations associated therewith lies with the REACH Regulatory Committee of the Commission. The authorisation list on the ECHA website is updated after the publication in the official journal of the EU.

The REACH Regulation has categorised lead as a substance of very high concern since 2007. The RoHS Directive governs the use of substances such as lead in electrical and electronic equipment and contains exemptions for different uses of lead in materials such as steel, aluminium and copper. Originally, the use of lead was supposed to be gradually ended over 4 years leading up to 21/07/2021. The exemption regulation 6c for lead in copper alloys is especially important in the manufacturing of electronic components, and an extension to this exemption period is being sought.

Decision-making in extension of exemptions

In making its decision for the exemption regulation, the EU Commission relies on the report made by the Oeko-Institut e.V., which inspects the necessity of an extension of the exemption period. The report proposes a partial extension of 5 years, until 21/07/2026. However, the official decision made by the EU may still be delayed.

Short transition periods necessitate speedy action

If the EU Commission has not made a decision regarding the extension application, the exemptions continue to be valid. If an exemption is withdrawn, manufacturers have a transition period of approximately 12 to a maximum of 18 months to switch over to alternatives.

The future at a glance: reduce lead content in good time

Please click on the sections for more information

Our solution: Lead-free gunmetal Rg+

  • Meets all requirements of REACH and RoHS
  • Complies with a possible tightening of the limit for lead in the drinking water directive
  • Mechanical characteristics identical to Rg5
  • Suitable as an unrestricted press connector
  • Existing components for Rg5 can be cast in Rg+
  • Can be processed with available processing tools from Rg5
  • Identical design freedom as with Rg5
    • Installation-friendly
    • Inner contour is designed for the flow, not for the material
    • Less noise and less flow resistance
    • Increases efficiency through several functions within a component
  • High level of corrosion-resistance and long service life (formation of cover layer)
  • No risk of stress crack corrosion
  • No cold brittleness (can be used up to -176°C)
  • SVHC-compliant: maximum lead content only 0.1%
  • The alloy has no hygienically unsafe alloy elements

We’re happy to advise you commitment-free when switching over your components.

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Rg5 and Rg alloy comparison
since 2018
Alloy contents [% weight] Copper 84.0 - 88.0 90.0 - 96.0
Tin 4.0 - 6.0 3.0 - 5.0
Lead 0.2 - 3.0 <0.10
Nickel 0.1 - 0.60 <0.3
Sulphur <0.04 0.20 - 0.6
Mechanical characteristics (sand casting) Tensile strength [MPa] 200 200
0.2% yield strength [MPa] 90 90
Elongation at break [%] 13 13
Hardness [HBW] 60 60
Lead-free gunmetal: Casting technology specialist

Your specialist for casting technology

A reliable, experienced partner

Our products place us among the world’s leading suppliers. A major contributor to this is our vast experience in casting and processing copper alloys. We’re specialists when it comes to particularly demanding and durable products. Expertise and experience are the basis of our exceptional quality. At the same time, we’re our own single biggest customer, as the renowned KEMPER branded valves for domestic water installations are produced at a foundry and turnery. The lead-free gunmetal used is not only corrosion-resistant but also meets the strict requirements of all directives and regulations surrounding drinking water – now and in the future.

We’re happy to advise you commitment-free when switching over to a lead-free material.

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Commitment-free consultation

Give us a call or contact us via e-mail for a bespoke consultation or use our form below to leave us a message. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and finding the perfect solution that meets your requirements together.

We’ll be happy to check your component drawings at no charge and commitment-free while adhering to our obligation to maintain secrecy.

Thomas Funke
Casting Technology Sales Manager
+49 2761 891 432

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