The use of Beryllium Copper alloy (Strip &Wire)
August 26, 2011
NGK INSULATORS, LTD.
New Metals Division
Beryllium copper (BeCu) is an outstanding alloy that combines desirable properties such as high strength, high electrical conductivity and excellent formability. BeCu alloys are used in a wide range of demanding applications ranging from electronic connectors, IC sockets, switches, relays, micro motors to variety of automotive, consumer, and industrial applications. In addition, BeCu alloys are indispensable in achieving product miniaturization and improved reliability.
On the other hand, BeCu alloy is sometimes referred to in health & safety issues and environmental effect because it contains beryllium. Therefore, we will explain that there are not any problems with use of BeCu alloy from both standpoints.
- BeCu is a copper-based alloy which contains up to 2% of beryllium. Since BeCu alloy is a chemically stable substance, there are no particular risks to human health or the environment under normal conditions. Manufacturing operations associated with stamping commonly do not generate fine particles and can be performed without any special safety precautions. If processes such as melting, grinding or polishing which may potentially release dust or fume are included, certain safety considerations may become necessary just as in many other metal processes.
- There are no regulations that ban or restrict the use of BeCu alloys in the whole world. In the EU, where environmental regulations are well advanced such as REACH, RoHS, ELV, etc, there are no regulations limiting the use of BeCu alloys. The regulations reflect the understanding that BeCu alloys do not cause adverse impact on worker safety and environment in processing / disposal. The BeCu alloys contained in electronic equipment wastes and end-of-life vehicles are recyclable materials.
- Major manufacturers (electronic equipments, automobiles, etc. ) and trade groups (C4E, VDA, etc. ) in the EU published their lists and guidance documents in which they clearly accept the use of BeCu alloys.
C4E (CEFIC-EECA-EICTA-EUROMETAUX) which is a collaborate organization of EU trade groups, described in the guidance document that BeCu alloys were classified as non-toxic substances, and could be safely handled.
The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) defines beryllium as a declaration substance in "GADSL" (Global Automotive Declarable Substance List); however, beryllium and its compounds (including BeCu alloys) are not restricted.
- "Beryllium and its compounds, all members" : Declaration
- "JIG" (Joint Industry Guide) published by Japan/US/EU electronic equipment industries (JGPSSI / CEA / DIGITALEUROPE) and "IMDS" (the International Material Data System) published and accepted by world-wide automobile industries are information collecting systems of chemical substances included in each part, component and product, in which beryllium is defined as a declaration substance, not banned or restricted in either publications.
- The REACH Regulation entered into force on June 1, 2007. It is the comprehensive law which deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances. Our European subsidiaries joined the Beryllium Consortium, performed assessments and completed the registration of beryllium in 2010. In the future we will continue to comply with this regulation, and fulfill our obligations as an upstream company.
As mentioned above, there are no problems with the use of BeCu alloy from health & safety issues and environmental impacts.
The parts which use BeCu alloy perform an important function in electronic devices, automotive applications, etc. Compared with other materials, BeCu alloy offers superior properties such as strength, formability, ductility, conductivity etc. We trust that our customers will design highly indispensable products with BeCu. Miniaturization and life cycle improvement of parts from the use of BeCu alloy will lead to conservation of energy and resources. BeCu alloy will become even more necessary to meet higher standards demanded by today's technology.
We publish technical database on BeCu wrought products and invite technical questions on our web pages. Please contact the following.
Docment No.: E2-11070-R0