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Posted on Saturday January 30, 2021

How the nature of specialisation has changed.

We are familiar with the ever-growing number of specialisms and specialists which seem to saturate the modern world. They are nothing new, of course. Ever since man came down from the trees, there have been specialists – hunters, fishers, cooks, warriors, healers.

And in the modern world, specialists play a vital role. We would, for example, be in a dreadful place without the scientists who specialise in developing vaccines. On a slightly more prosaic level, I would much rather have a tooth removed by a qualified dentist than his or her predecessor, the notorious barber-surgeon.

 

Specialists for everything?

It is hard to argue against the fact of specialisation. Through history it is specialists who held the reins of power. For centuries it was soldiers, then in the middle ages it was lawyers. And because most lawyers were clerics, power rested with the church, an institution that specialised in wielding earthly power as well as spiritual.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, lawyers stayed near the top, and were joined by scientists and engineers. Perhaps the twentieth century was the era of big capital and accountants. The 21st certainly looks very much like the age of big tech, with hordes of specialist programmers.

Sometimes it can look as if the generalist has gone for good, and in the sense of the all-round “renaissance man” this might be true. But if you look around, the type of specialist is changing. More and more we get things done by collaborating, by merging specialisms together. It’s obvious in the field of computing and medical science, but it happens elsewhere too.

 

Metals support the World

Nowhere is this more the case than with metals, each of which requires specialist manipulation to maximise potential. Steel and Copper may be the most significant industrially; steel for its ubiquity in construction and manufacture, and copper for the multiplicity of alloys it can accommodate.

With alloys, the specialist in one metal really needs to be a specialist in others. How else can we understand that range of uses and tolerances of different alloys? With copper alloys you need a supplier familiar with all the characteristics of all the alloys made using copper. Only a specialist will do.

In fact, the modern specialist is rarely a specialist only one field. Doctors are specialists in many fields, even if they work mainly in one. Those who work with paints need to understand chemical behaviours even if they’re not chemists; and those who work with metals need a depth of knowledge about sourcing of raw materials, production processes and appropriate applications. Add to that an understanding of the way commodity markets impact on retail prices, via wholesale, and we are edging back to the multidisciplinarianism beloved of the Enlightenment.

 

Don’t cut corners - go to the specialist you need

Inevitably specialists come in for a bit of flack. Occasionally the odd politician makes disparaging comments about experts, but specialists are here to stay, and we should welcome the fact. After all, we are all a specialist of one sort or another. The real challenge is in finding the right one at the right time. Seek out the specialist who has the knowledge to advise you well, and the vision to do so honestly and fairly, time after time.

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Advanced Alloys Ltd is a specialist supplier of products made from the highest quality alloys of copper, brass, bronze and zinc. They have an exhaustive range of products suitable for all industries. Alloys can be delivered in wire, tube, sheet or bar form, and cut, bent or manipulated as required. An experienced logistics team makes sure that products reach their destination in perfect condition and on time every time.

Telephone: 023 8061 8891 Email: sales@advancedalloysltd.co.uk

 




Posted on Sunday December 20, 2020

or ancient solutions to modern problems

The shock of the new
Life is full of surprises and 2020 has certainly brought its fair share of those in the form of multiple and formidable challenges. Even putting Brexit aside, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic not only took many countries by surprise, but it has had global impacts on supply and demand with which we’ll be dealing with for many years to come.

It is hard to imagine an individual, business or industry that has not staggered under the weight of these changes. Many businesses have collapsed and those that continue to trade are doing so in markets that have experienced radical change.

The metals industry is no exception. In 2020 The World Steel Association forecasts that steel demand will have dropped by 6.4%, with an expected recovery in 2021 of demand of only 3.8 % over 2020. Relatively small percentages perhaps, but in terms of the tonnage of steel produced and sold, of huge consequence.

 

Not all metals are equal
Copper has also faced an initial drop (major producer Rio Tinto reported that its copper production for the first quarter of 2020 was 8% below 2019 levels) but overall global production for the year has fallen by only 2.1%. And the longer term outlook for copper is much stronger. According to analysts S&P Global Market Intelligence, worldwide production is expected to rise by 4.3% year on year after 2021.

The reasons for this are complex but lie with the fact that copper is remarkably versatile

 

Copper - civilisation’s jump start
Without copper, there would have been no bronze age; bronze is an alloy of tin and copper, first developed about 3500 years ago. Without copper to make bronze, on the dusty plains outside Troy the Greeks and Trojans would still have been fighting with sticks and stones.

Through the ages, copper has proved itself invaluable, and in practical terms more useful than gold. It withstands heat well, it’s malleable and its a recognised anti-microbial; beneficial properties include a short life for bacteria and viruses with which it’s in contact.

Copper is supremely recyclable. It conducts heat and electricity very efficiently and the phrase ‘copper-bottomed’ now stands for anything genuine, trustworthy and reliable. In the mid eighteenth century it was discovered that barnacles did not grow on copper, so sailing ships with copper sheeted bottoms were faster through the water and needed less maintenance – everything about them was better.

Today copper and hi-tech copper alloys are used in myriad industries, from construction (those beautiful green roofs as well as piping) to wiring, electric motors, healthcare and the most delicate of electronics.

 

Approaching the New Normal
All this means that the basic outlook for copper and copper alloy products is good. However, such has been the economic shock of the pandemic that if you need copper or sell it, it’s not just a case of turning on the tap.

The needs of individual businesses are changing. Business recovery can be complex. Some are working to get back on track. Some are changing direction or diversifying well out of their comfort zone. Copper production may struggle to keep up with demand, so established wholesalers will probably be the people to go to for a reliable – copper bottomed – supply.

In such challenging times it is easy to lose track of some fundamentals. So, be cautious of consultants offering miracle cures, and it good to remember that commercial flexibility is a means to an end, not a purpose on its own right.

In the same way that the uses of copper have changed over time, so too do our approaches to problem solving. Finding new markets or serving existing ones, supporting old clients or providing incentives to new ones, this is a time to take stock and take positive action. Be open to new ideas and, like the bronze-age masters of their new technology, do whatever you do, really well.

 

Advanced Alloys Ltd is a specialist supplier of products made from the highest quality alloys of copper, brass, bronze and zinc. They have an exhaustive range of products suitable for all industries. Alloys can be delivered in wire, tube, sheet or bar form, and cut, bent or manipulated as required. An experienced logistics team makes sure that products reach their destination in perfect condition and on time every time.

Telephone: 023 8061 8891 Email: sales@advancedalloysltd.co.uk



Posted on Friday August 28, 2020

 Copper is the preferred material in the construction of stills, uniquely creating a more even and smooth whisky

It’s official: copper is the best metal with which to construct the stills used in the distillation of whisky.  Copper disperses the heat evenly over the surface of the still yielding a more uniform distillation process, as does stainless steel.

But copper goes one better than stainless steel, because it also reacts with the sulphur released by the fermenting yeast, ridding the whisky of that chemical, which would otherwise affect the taste of the spirit, making it more bitter.

The yeast actually binds itself to the copper, eventually producing copper sulphate, which adheres to the inside wall of the still, and which, after cleaning, is washed away rather than ending up in my whisky!

I can shay from pershonal essshperience (hick) that – you’re my best mate, you are – the whisky from vees copper sshhtills is far more drrinkabubble van de shhtuff (burp) you get from ovver places.

Oneshhhtly, I love the whishhky (hick) you get from copper cos it tashhhtes better and bee-eer de more hugh haff ovit.  I luff you buddy, I realllly do.  I keeeep on drinking it show I can keeeep on toashhting da wondafool (burp) copper.

And that’s why I need AA!



Posted on Wednesday July 15, 2020
You may be surprised to learn that we don’t have a Latin motto here at Advanced Alloys, but if we did, this might be it – cura cuprum – “care with copper.”

Care is built into everything that we do – from answering the phone within two rings, so that you don’t have to wait, to holding quantities of seldom-requested stock items, so that we can supply them to you quickly.

And. if we are not answering the phone, we are replying to emails immediately, picking, manipulating and packing what you need, and delivering it to you the same day that you order, if you need us to.

We know you also appreciate that you can order any amount of any product, and you know that we will have it in stock, manipulate in the way that you require, and pack it carefully to guarantee its arrival in perfect condition.

It all comes down to knowing you, our customers.  It is our business to know what you want. We know that you will need more of certain products at certain times of year, so we make sure to keep those in stock.

You probably know all of the above, but did you also know that you can walk in off the street and buy from us?  Did you know that every item we stock holds all of its relevant test certificates?  Did you know that we have our own dedicated UK delivery drivers, to ensure the safe transport and handling of your precious items?

As we slowly emerge from lockdown, you can be assured that these principles of customer care, which have guided our progress over the last thirty-plus years, will continue to be built into everything that we do.


Posted on Thursday May 28, 2020
As lockdown gradually eases, we are here for you when you need us

The news that more businesses will return to operating in the coming weeks has prompted everyone to consider what needs to happen and not happen.

As car showrooms and open-air markets recommence trading next week, with many other shops scheduled to follow suit from the middle of June, there is now a little light at the end of Coronavirus tunnel.

Whether you have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, drastically changed your trading practices, or ceased altogether, the easing of lockdown will no doubt have made you think about the short to medium term future.

You will be aware that Advanced Alloys has continued to supply copper in a socially responsible way during this time. It is an important raw material in areas such as health, in food production, in communications, in heat exchangers, and not least for the Nightingale Hospitals.

We have refined our working practices to punctiliously abide by government guidelines, to safeguard our customers and employees, and to operate in a way that is most congenial to you in these extremely challenging times.

And we will continue to do so.

As your operations evolve in the coming weeks, we are here to help you in every way that we can. If you need us to supply you in a different form, at a different time, in a different quantity, please let us know.

We will do all that we can to help you to bounce back as fast as is legally possible, and to take advantage of the opportunities that the ‘new normal’ is bound to present.



Advanced Alloys – the AA that is almost an emergency service


 

ADVANCED ALLOYS

Doing exactly what it says on the copper

 

Advanced Alloys Limited
Unit 17, Parham Drive
Boyatt Wood Industrial Estate
Eastleigh
Hampshire SO50 4NU

Telephone: 023 8061 8891
Fax: 023 8061 1481

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