How can I reduce the total cost of production?

Buy components directly from Copper Alloys as the swarf gets credited against the machining cost. Copper Alloys also covers the risk of scrapping metal for high-value component production.

How can we make submarines last longer?

Most of the world’s submarines are using 1950s material technology with material science advancing considerably since then. With that in mind, Copper Alloys sees it as key to harnessing new material technology and designing components and systems around these properties. The development of CNC-1 and Thermalloy demonstrates this.

How can we reduce the burden of maintaining our submarines or mechanical equipment?

Spend more time upfront planning to design with longevity and compatibility to minimise in-service management. Ideally, take a long-term view and develop a range of material options to give you exactly what you need. This newfound industrial capacity can be used for new builds rather than maintenance.

How can we make mechanical engineering more sustainable?

You have more sustainable material technology. Most metals are produced in the same way, yet some last for months, some for centuries. Make sure you choose wisely.

What alloys are best for complex marine applications?

Copper Alloys’ range of Elite Alloys is the home of some of the world’s best, most advanced and longest-lasting materials.

How can I increase the integrity of the components we use?

Working directly with Copper Alloys gets you direct access to the metallurgists responsible for making the metal and then the mechanical engineers responsible for converting this into equipment. Every stage can be customised and honed to your individual needs.

How can I reduce the lead time for material production?

Plan and communicate with all touchpoints of your supply chain. Decisions typically take a long time to be made and then once they are made, deliveries are required ASAP. If Copper Alloys is involved in the decision-making process, we can start preparing and reducing time frames ahead of the decision with no risk to the customer.

How can I reduce the lead time to make new parts?

Copper Alloys holds dedicated bar and forgings stock to support key programmes and customers, this typically takes months out of the lead-time to make new parts, and if we can get ahead with the machining programmes and processes it can easily take a six-month lead-time down to six weeks.

How can I improve transparency throughout the supply chain?

Copper Alloys provides traceability right back to the original melt. We can store test samples for decades and enable third-party witness inspection of testing for additional transparency. The best approach for most of the people we work with though is that they can come to witness any stage of production. Our proprietary project management software can easily create hold points, and notices for witnesses for processes. Whether it melting, casting, forging, destructive testing, NDE, machining, assembly or packaging, specify the witness point on the PO and our engineers will make the arrangements for you to witness any of these processes.

What is the best way to design for manufacturing?

So many components are designed without a complete understanding of the principles of manufacturing. This process not only increases cost, risk and timeframes but also limits performance, sustainability and safety ratings. The most successful projects involve Copper Alloys before designs are finalised.

What are the best alloys for resisting biofouling?

Only alloys with a copper majority content have an inherent ability to resist biofouling. The most useful range of copper alloy materials for engineering against biofouling can be found in the range of Elite Alloys.

Highly noble alloys such as Titanium and Super Duplex Stainless Steels are excellent at resisting corrosion, but are helpless in the fight against macro and micro marine growth. Studies show that these metals that have no inherent ability to resist biofouling suffer from poor equipment integrity and require significant environmentally deleterious management to prolong life.

Why do we need so many alloys?

There are tens of thousands of alloys that have been developed by mankind. Different countries have developed different standards, as have different industries, and with 118 known elements on the Periodic Table, the combinations and permutations are practically endless.

At Copper Alloys we are currently making 248 different alloys designed for some of the most advanced and critical engineering applications on the planet. All have been developed and adapted to improve the performance of specific equipment for specific operational environments. We are still developing and modifying alloys, so get in touch with one of our metallurgists to explore what is possible for your application.

Are copper-based alloys better than stainless steels?

It certainly depends on several variables. Generally speaking, though, the answer is not necessarily. There are so many options with copper alloys, however, that if you can create a copper alloy with a body-centred cubic (BCC) crystal structure it yields surprisingly high strength and ductility. Couple that with inherent resistance to corrosion and biofouling and then add the ability to dissipate heat to a greater extent than most other metals, you have very useful combinations of physical and mechanical properties that can last much longer and perform much better than stainless steels.

However, we do make some stainless steels for use in non-critical applications as a potentially low-cost option, so again it depends on the nature of the use and it is important to keep both as options.

Are copper-based alloys any better than nickel alloys?

It depends on various factors. Nickel alloys are typically much more costly to produce, but can offer higher mechanical strength. Highly alloyed nickel alloys also quickly become very noble, meaning that whilst they resist corrosion they are incompatible with most other metals. Most copper-based alloys are compatible with other metals as they have lower potential and therefore minimal galvanic corrosion issues. There is a place for both alloy systems and it depends on the specific constraints and requirements at the time.

How can we reduce the total cost of the metals I use?

Speak to our engineers to get an honest and neutral appraisal of your current material usage situation. Clients around the world have benefitted from this appraisal which almost always reduces the total cost of production and often increases performance and sustainability.

How suitable is additive manufacturing or 3D printing for my application?

Additive manufacturing is a fantastic method of producing finished parts in situ. As the technology develops, it will hopefully address the high cost (environmental and economic) of first producing suitable powder.

That aside, it will most likely present a more reliable manufacturing process than sand and other types of mould casting. However if your application requires high strength and integrity there is no better way than to work the metal, which refines and homogenises the grain structure. This takes gas, directionality of grain flow and many other root causes of low integrity out of the running.

How can you guarantee the properties in your alloys?

Copper Alloys has the highest quality standards possible for a manufacturing company. We are audited to great lengths several times a year and have set the standard for foundry cleanliness and chemistry control.

This firm foundation coupled with world-class material processing technology enables Copper Alloys’ materials to outperform others. The properties in the metals made by Copper Alloys are tailored to not just meet the specification minimum but to ensure long-term fit for purpose and ultimately maximum safety ratings.

Why are you still developing new material technology?

We are regularly approached by engineers and operators of mechanical equipment in submarines, aircraft, power stations, high-performance vehicles, processing facilities and more who all have the same problem: their materials are not performing or they cannot find a material that will give them multiple often conflicting properties.

The result is that they have to compromise. Copper Alloys doesn’t like compromising, and therefore we will work with them to develop new material technology to overcome their specific engineering challenge.

How can you induce such high mechanical properties in alloys?

It all starts with world-class foundry controls. It is impossible to forge bad metal into great metal, so you need very good input metal which can then be worked to a greater extent into even better metal. Copper Alloys and we work hard to get small homogenous grain structures even in the cast billet. This is achieved through the application of proprietary casting techniques and controls.

Why is it better to buy from Copper Alloys?

You can get exactly what you want with full transparency. The capability and capacity at Copper Alloys is defined by the people and organisations it works with. Our mission is to build bespoke material and engineering solutions for our customers that ultimately drive performance improvements and reduce the total cost of ownership.

How can I know which alloy is the most suitable for my application?

If the data is available, try the Alloy Selector or speak to one of our metallurgical engineers. If something new or enhanced is required, Copper Alloys has invested in R&D melting and heat treatment furnaces designed to make small-batch trial material which can pin down the specific blend of properties for your application. For many customers, the resultant material technology is a source of competitive advantage and helps them to increase market share and margins.

Can I modify certain properties of the metal alloy to make it perform better?

Yes, Copper Alloys produces some of the most advanced material technology available and is used to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in material science. Speak to or email one of our metallurgical engineers with your requirements and we will present the options to you.

Why do I keep having to replace corroded or work-out components?

There could be several reasons for this, but often the root cause is sub-optimal materials. Engineers typically have to compromise on the guaranteed operation life of equipment because of unstable alloys that struggle to resist forces such as corrosion, impingement or erosion in a consistent manner. This means they have to work to worst case scenarios which limits performance, typically results in over-engineered components and reduces sustainability. Speak to one of the metallurgists at Copper Alloys to see how you could benefit from a material selection review. This can happen on a small scale or we can send a team to do a workshop on best practice material selection with your engineers. This can also massively help design for manufacture.

How do I reduce downtime of my applications?

Identify the critical factors limiting performance and look to improve material selection to reduce them.

Can you ship the product directly to me?

Copper Alloys ships globally and is used to working with small and medium-sized engineering organisations who are not used to buying outside of their country. We make everything simple and import on your behalf so it feels like a local company.

Who is the mill or manufacturer of the materials?

Copper Alloys Ltd makes over 240 different alloys all from our base in the UK to the same exacting standards.



Pioneering aerospace...

America’s Navy

Protecting America at sea...


Creating a safe, secure world...

BAE Systems

Manufacturing for combat...

GE Aviation



Complex power solutions...

Royal Navy

Protecting our nation...


Sustainable aviation...


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