Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How Atlas Bronze Could Help if Santa's Sleigh Broke Down on Christmas Eve

Every Christmas Eve, countless children lie restlessly in bed, thinking about all the toys that they hope to find under the tree on Christmas morning. They’re barely able to contain themselves as they anxiously await Santa’s arrival, depending of course on how well-behaved they were the past year.

I remember when my kids used to look wistfully into the dark, winter sky from their bedroom windows, waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh flying through the air. They would point and jump up and down when they saw Rudolph’s red nose, and my husband and I would agreeably nod, even though we knew it was simply a blinking airplane light. So few things are as boundless as a child’s imagination!

One day, a terrible thought crossed my mind. If Santa was in fact real, how devastating would it be if his sleigh broke down during his annual expedition to deliver gifts to the girls and boys of the world? The kids would wake up and fervently rush down the steps only to find the harrowing sight of a Christmas tree devoid of any gifts beneath it.

Well, if Santa’s sleigh did break down, I know just the people who could (probably) fix it. Atlas Bronze of course!

If Santa’s sleigh was a real vehicle making these millions of trips all around the world in one night, an obvious source of potential troubleshooting would be with the engine. First, Atlas Bronze would go straight to the source and inspect the engine’s valve seats, or the strength center part of the engine that prevents harmful gases from leaking into the manifold. Aluminum bronze is a key component of the valve seat and also helps prevent corrosion. With the addition of bronze parts for added strength, Santa’s sleigh would be dashing through the snow again in no time!

Since Santa has been so busy making a list and checking it twice, we’re sure he hasn’t thought about the exterior of his sleigh and how it could endanger him on his merry travels. Before Saint Nick goes on his merry way, he would need to incorporate some architectural bronze into the exterior. Bronze is commonly used in the production of doors, making them nice and strong. As an added bonus, bronze will not generate sparks when struck against a hard surface. So, as Santa lands up on the housetop with a click, click, click, he can ensure that his trusty sleigh won’t slide off of the roof.

Finally, you can’t forget about the bronze sleigh bells on the reindeers’ harnesses. As Santa’s original bells may have rusted over many years, he might go to Atlas Bronze to get the materials he needs for a shiny new outfit for Rudolph.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Deck the Halls with Bronze

It’s that time of year again! As the garland is wound up the staircase, the tree is propped up and adorned with ornaments, and strands of light are wrapped around the window frames, you just can’t help but get into the holiday spirit. Even if only half the lights actually light up (resulting in hours of frustration), decorating is one of the most fun parts of the season, especially when done with your loved ones.

The common theme for Christmas decorations involves lots of greens, reds, golds and silvers. We also see a lot of ceramic, cloth and glass in various holiday-themed displays. However, bronze has really made a comeback in recent years as a fresh alternative to those classic colors.

This is because bronze decor can make your home even more glamorous, as the metallic hues add a striking effect to any room.

Although I’m not an interior decorator, I’ve been reading that the professionals are seeing a lot more copper and bronze and jewel tones brought into holiday decor. Furthermore, by integrating bronze into your holiday decor and color scheme, you can create a lavish feel without overwhelming your space.

I found some great examples of bronze decor in my research, and have included them below:
  • If you’re looking for a vintage, mid-century, modern feel, you can find antique bronze candle holders. Even better: if you have old candle holders in your attic, you can definitely polish them and make them look brand new! 
  • To make your tree shine even brighter than before, add ornaments finished or accented with rich bronze. 
  • Angel or star tree toppers with intricate designs and trendy bronze finishes can add the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas tree. 
  • If you’re having company over for a nice dinner, you can set your table with bronze charger plates. Charger plates are large, decorative plates used to dress up dinner tables at parties and other special events. 
  • Bells, especially church bells, have traditionally been associated with Christmas for a long time. Hanging bronze bells from the tree or in the doorway will create a traditional look for your home. 
  • And, as you wrap presents for your family and friends, try a dark bronze, shimmering wrapping paper to add a classy, modern style to your gift-giving. 
Bringing these metallic elements from the tree to the mantel to the front yard or door, you can create a cohesive, simple decorating scheme with a modern edge. And you probably won’t want to take the decorations down!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Giving Thanks for Bronze

It’s a typical tradition for families to sit around the Thanksgiving table and announce what each individual is thankful for. I can easily think of many things that I’m so thankful for, such as my family and friends, and my wonderful job. Although these responses are typical for many people, if you considered all of the essential things made of bronze that we use so frequently in our lives, bronze might come up at the Thanksgiving dinner table more often.

Just as an example, we can pick out the many bronze items that help us celebrate Thanksgiving and kick off the holiday season.

Upon waking up on Thanksgiving morning, we are greeted with the sounds of bronze coming from the annual parade on TV. Cymbals and guitar and piano strings all come from this ubiquitous metal.

Additionally, bronze is an ideal material for electrical connectors, which are used to join electrical circuits. Electrical connectors power electronics including lamps, computers and the televisions that we use to watch the parade and, of course, Thanksgiving Day football.

Then, as we drive to our relatives’ houses in anticipation of great food and company, we may want to give thanks for bronze bearings. Bearings are components that allow heavy machinery to move heavy loads very quickly with little friction. Bearings are key elements in the steering wheel, engine and transmission of our cars.

Bearings are also essential for the function of electric ovens, which many people use to make their perfectly bronzed turkey - no pun intended. On a side note, interestingly enough, the most popular Turkey variety for most of American history is actually named the Bronze Turkey... How about that for coincidence?

Finally, many hammers, mallets, wrenches and screws are made of bronze. These tools are used for general purposes, including constructing the tables that we sit at during Thanksgiving dinner.

So, as you gather around and raise your glasses to toast, you can really surprise your family members with something they surely won’t expect you to be thankful for.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Bronze Horror Story: Scary Lucy

Happy Halloween! What a treat this year that something made from bronze is creating some Halloween buzz – and it’s terrifying!

Below is a pic of a 400-pound bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball that was unveiled in 2009 at the Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, New York, Lucille’s hometown. No, that’s not an extra from The Walking Dead. That’s the famous comedienne from the ‘50’s famous for the iconic TV show, “I Love Lucy.” Doesn’t really look like her, right?

Photo courtesy of Facebook group, We Love Lucy! Get Rid of This Statue.

The creepy nature of the statue, aptly named “Scary Lucy,” has been the talk of the town for many years now, so much so that it has inspired multiple petitions to get it fixed or removed. There’s even a Facebook group titled, “We Love Lucy! Get Rid of This Statue.”

The sculptor, Dave Poulin, who has created more than 120 commissioned public sculptures, defines his work as “life size and cast bronze.” Which is definitely true for this statue. Unfortunately, Ms. Ball’s features did not translate well. According to CNN, “Poulin said he has been talking to Celoron officials for several years about removing and redoing the sculpture. It seems that cost has been the chief barrier.”

This Halloween, a haunted attraction titled, “The Haunting at The Mall” in New York will feature a live rendition of Scary Lucy. She will also carry the famous “Vitameatavegamin” bottle, but there surely won’t be any laughter from the audience.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

An Atlas Bronze Project: Ground Plates

Last month, a customer of Atlas Bronze came to us and requested ground plates from our stock. We were thrilled because ground plates are Atlas Bronze's specialty products that we make in house!

Our customer wanted ground plates to create award plaques for the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance 2015, a premier automotive exhibition held at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in September. It is an invitation-only exhibition of more than 100 vintage and classic motor vehicles, selected to celebrate the fine art, design evolution and amazing innovations of motor vehicles through the years, as well as the talented designers and engineers who created them.

The award plaques that were created were designated for People’s Choice and Best of Show. You can watch the video of the exhibition here, and at the end you will see the award with the winner!

Our ground plate material is a cost saver and time saver. Since the material is stocked in a ground condition +/- .002 on the thickness (we aim for +/- .000 so if you need a closer tolerance we will mic material upon request). Our bronze flat stock is machined from continuous cast, fine grain plate. Our bars are supplied ground top & bottom. 

A benefit of the ground plates is that there is no milling or grinding necessary on the top or on the bottom – it’s already done for you! No need to block it in, taping it down or tow clamp it anymore!

It was truly a neat experience to see one of our guys actually ground this. Watch the reveal video here!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Atlas Bronze Invites You to Celebrate National Manufacturing Day!

On October 2, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP), a not-for-profit organization that works with New Jersey’s small to mid-sized businesses to help them improve their bottom-line while meeting and exceeding customer expectations, will host their own event for National Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day℠ is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Manufacturing Day’s mission is to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is and what it isn’t. The event is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. Learn more about Manufacturing Day on their official website!

In an effort to collaborate with NJMEP to address the skilled labor shortage in the industry, Atlas Bronze has decided to sponsor the event at The Palace at Somerset Park! Being a manufacturing business in New Jersey, we’re so excited to participate in the event to connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

There will be plenty of inspiring and education segments throughout the day, including keynote addresses from Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Dennis Bone, Director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State.

An insightful panel on “Attracting the Next Generation to a Career in Manufacturing” will feature industry pros such as Jonathan Moore, Director of Talent Acquisition at L’OrĂ©al; Stacy Saunders, Member of Talent Acquisition Team at Triangle Manufacturing Co; and Tarakshaya Bhati, Student of Rutgers University and Experience Manufacturing Participant. The President of the Summit Group, Gary Pezzuti, will moderate it. Check out the full agenda for the event has been listed here!

We’d love to see the community of manufacturers support the event. If you want to attend, here’s the link.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Differences in Bronze: Statuary vs. Architectural vs. Commercial

Although usually composed of copper and tin, bronze encompasses many different copper alloys. Other elements, such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon, can be used as additives or replacements to the metal, creating various proportion and elemental compositions.

What’s known as "true" bronze is a combination of approximately 90% copper and 10% tin. However, the implementation of the other additives has created other types of the metal for different uses and purposes.

There are three major classes or types of "bronzes" used in sculpture and construction. They are: “statuary bronze,” “architectural bronze” and “commercial bronze.”

Statuary Bronze

Statuary Bronze, which is used predominantly in outdoor sculpture, is approximately 97 percent copper, two percent tin and one percent zinc. This composition is the closest to "true" bronze, as it only deviates from the composition by 1 percent.

Statuary bronze has limitless forms because it has incredible weldability and can be cast in any shape necessary. Most commonly, you can find statuary bronze in the forms of human figures, landscapes, battle scenes, animals, weapons and decorative elements such as plaques. The great civilizations of the old world worked in bronze for art, from the time of the introduction of the alloy for edged weapons. The Greeks were the first to scale the figures up to life size. Few examples exist in good condition; one is the seawater-preserved bronze now called "The Victorious Youth," The sculpture was found in the summer of 1964 in the sea off the coast of Italy, snagged in the nets of an Italian fishing trawler. It is believed to have been made between 300 and 100 BCE,

Which required painstaking efforts to bring the sculpture it to its present state for museum display. Far more Roman bronze statues have survived.

A more recent example is “The Little Mermaid” in Copenhagen, Denmark commissioned in 1909. Although it has been damaged and defaced over the years, the bronze has held up due to Bronzes’ strength and ductility.

Architectural Bronze

Architectural bronze, which is actually more of a "leaded brass," is generally composed of approximately 57 percent copper, 40 percent zinc and three percent lead. You can find architectural bronze in the frames and hardware of doors and windows, as well as standard household items like mailboxes, railings, chutes and furniture. A wide variety of copper alloys are available for use in construction. The variations in color stem primarily from differences in chemical composition.  In general, most copper alloys eventually weather to the gray-green patina. There are, however, significant variations in their natural colors and in the rate at which they form a patina.

A beautiful example of Bronze used in architectural design is depicted in the image to the right: 

Commercial Bronze

Commercial Bronze is composed of approximately 90 percent copper and 10 percent zinc. Commercial bronze is stronger than regular copper and has equivalent ductility. Not to mistake the title Commercial Bronze with C22000 “Commercial Bronze” – this group of Bronzes is commercially used in just about every industry.  These bronzes make up the Wearplates, Scews, castings, valves, and whole host of other applications.  The most common application for this group is “Bearings & Bushings”.  While it is easily machined, the bronze alloy is hard, strong and resistant to wear.

Below is an image of a Bronze Valve that is used for Commercial applications. Typical services include; hot and cold water, HVAC, steam, compressed air, gas and other general utility services.

Monday, August 31, 2015

How the Steel Industry is Directly Related to the Bronze Industry

I am relatively new to the metals industry.  Now 10 years in an industry might not seem “new”…until you factor some folks have been in the industry for 30+ years…I’m new!  That being said, since joining the metals industry, I have heard repeatedly – If you want to see where copper prices are going, follow the oil prices.  Which I of course have been doing! But over the past few years, I have found that following after global steel consumption and loss has been equally valuable! 

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon containing less than 2% carbon and 1% manganese and small amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and oxygen. Steel is the world's most important engineering and construction material, according to the World Steel Association, a trade group that includes steelmakers from 65 nations.

Steel has played a monumental role in the daily function of society, contributing to the cars that we drive the houses in which we live, the buildings that we work in and the infrastructure of the cities and towns around us. Its ability to be easily welded, resistance to heat and corrosion, and suitable machinability have made steel incredibly valuable – until recently. 

Although the nation’s economy is gradually improving across many industries, the steel industry is still waiting to feel any sort of economic lift as imports push steel prices down and the oil and gas industry cut orders in response to low energy prices. For the first half of 2015 ending in June, steel production in the United States has declined 6.5%, compared with the same period last year.

This decline is not specific to the United States; rather, it is a global concern. According to a report by Industry Week at the end of July 2015, China’s raw steel production was 68.9 million metric tons, down 1.4% from the previous month and down 0.8% compared to June 2014. Japan, the world’s second-largest steelmaking nation, produced 8.6 million metric tons of raw steel during June 2015, 3.9% less than during May and 6.2% less than during June 2014. Germany, the largest steelmaker in the European Union, produced 3.8 million metric tons of raw steel during June, increasing its output by 1.6% from May and 5.8% compared to June 2014. Despite the improvements, Germany’s year-to-date steel output is down 1.49% compared to the same period of last year.

The decline in bronze consumption in the US, and possibly across the globe, is directly related to a decline in steel consumption. Copper production fell more than 1% and, even worse, tin fell as much as 4.9%. Bronze, an alloy that is most commonly made with these two metals, has thus felt the impact in this slowed production. 

In a Bloomberg article titled, “Gold Rout Spreads to Copper, Tin and Zinc,” Daniel Brieseman, an analyst at a bank in Germany, stated, “Commodities are not in vogue. The weakness of the precious metals is spilling over to the base metals.” So as each of us watch oil & gas prices to gauge future Bronze usage…truly we should be watching oil & gas and steel.