Manufacturers in the hardware industry are always seeking new methods of efficient and cost-effective production. There is a never-ending quest to find alternative materials for traditional metals that have been used to manufacture supplies for residential, commercial and industrial use. For example, steel is one of the most common metal alloys used for hardware. However, this metal alloy is considered to be relatively expensive. The cost of acquiring the raw form of elemental iron and carbon can be significant. Additionally, there are expenses for processing iron and carbon in order to create high-quality stainless steel.
Aluminum is considered a viable alternative to steel in the manufacturing industry. First of all, the pure elemental form of this metal is more affordable than iron. To save money on hardware production, manufacturers often use some sort of aluminum alloy. There are hundreds of possible alloys that could be created by combining aluminum with other metals or nonmetals. Specialists in materials science work hard to find the perfect formulations of aluminum alloys. Durability is obviously an important factor in the hardware manufacturing industry. Metals are tested for their strength and load-bearing capabilities. Sometimes, it's also desirable to have alloys that are flexible and ductile. For example, some hinges need to be resilient rather than rigid. Similarly, aluminum alloy springs can be produced with the ideal properties for regulating the movement of hardware. A strap hinge that's made of aluminum alloys is much more affordable than one composed of steel.
Brass is another popular metal alloy that is used in the production of high-quality hardware for plumbing applications. Decorative hardware is also made of this alloy, and brass has a rich history in the art world dating back to ancient times.
Hardware manufacturers search for formulas that can be used to create long-lasting protective coatings on metal alloys. For marine applications, hardware needs to resist damage from salty water. Similarly, metal alloys that are exposed to the sun must be protected from intense radiation. Melting and corrosion are some of the threats that protective coatings can prevent.