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What are utility and control-cabinet keys made of?

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Solid metals and component utility and control or service key Many utility and control-cabinet keys are made from one piece of solid metal. Others have metal heads and plastic bodies.
Metal and plastic are used to make components of utility and control or service cabinet keys The metal parts of utility and control-cabinet keys are made from either a zinc alloy or steel. The plastic parts are made from a thermoplastic, sometimes reinforced with fibreglass.

Zinc alloy

Zinc alloy die cast utility and control or service keys Most utility and control-cabinet keys are made from die-cast zinc alloy. In order to die-cast zinc (see {{widget type=”cms/widget_page_link” anchor_text=”How are utility and control-cabinet keys manufactured?” title=”See How are utility and control-cabinet keys manufactured?” template=”cms/widget/link/link_block.phtml” page_id=”3367″}}), other metals need to be added to ensure a high quality of finished product. When chemical elements are added together like this it is called an ‘alloy.’
Aluminium is used in the zinc alloy to change the zinc's properties and make it better for die-casting into utility and control or service key parts Aluminium is added to zinc (no more than 4% of the final mixture) which decreases the chance of the metal getting stuck to the inside of the mould and also helps to prevent the zinc reacting with the iron in the mould.
Copper is added to zinc alloy to change the properties to make a better utility and control or service cabinet key. Copper is also added to the mix (no more than 1.25% of the final mixture). It increases the alloy’s strength and hardness.

Steel

Iron and carbon make up most of the steel alloy although other metals are also added. Steel is an alloy of mainly iron and carbon. Different amounts of chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen and manganese are added to the iron to change how it can be used.
Chrome vanadium stamped steel handle of a tool. Some utility and control-cabinet keys are made from ‘chrome vanadium steel.’ Chromium and vanadium are metal elements that are added to steel to increase the metal’s strength. Chromium also increases the steel’s resistance to rusting.
Chromium is used in alloy steel to make utility and control or service keys The overall chromium content of steel is usually between 12% and 20% while the overall content of vanadium is between 0.2% and 1%.
Cheap chrome vanadium steel doesn't have much vanadium in it. Vanadium is expensive so cheaper ‘chrome vanadium’ steel products often have a very low vanadium content, as low as 0.1%.

Thermoplastic

Thermoplastic beads can be melted and shaped into new shapes. Thermoplastic is a plastic that can be repeatedly melted to a liquid and cooled to a solid.
Thermoplastic is used to make a lot of common objects like these plastic beakers. The most common thermoplastics used are polypropylene, polyurethane, polycarbonate and acrylic. Thermoplastics are used to make a huge variety of objects in the modern world.
Utility and control or service key with a thermoplastic body. Plastic is durable, although not as strong as metals, comfortable to use and looks pleasing to the eye.

Fibre-reinforced plastic

Fibreglass makes high quality utility and control or service keys Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) is very occasionally used to make utility and control-cabinet key bodies. It is a plastic with strands or fibres of a reinforcing material running through it. Glass is the most common type of fibre to be used but they can also be made from carbon, basalt (a volcanic rock) or synthetic fibres such as aramid. Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) is commonly known as ‘fibreglass.’
Fibreglass is strong and durable and makes high quality utility and control or service keys Fibre-reinforced plastic is strong and lasts for a long time.