What is the DFARS Specialty Metals Clause?
The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, better known as "DFARS", is an enormous and far-reaching document. As part of the even larger 'Federal Acquisition Regulations' it covers things like how a Department of Defense purchasing contract is written, negotiated, awarded, and paid for. It's an important set of guidelines designed to protect the political interests of the United States. DFARS is aimed at keeping money and quality control in the hands of our friends, and away from threats to US interests.
For instance, you are probably aware that Cuba has been recommended for removal from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. That list is contained within DFARS clause 252.209-7001 "Disclosure of Ownership or Control by the Government of a Terrorist Country".
In our industry, the supply and fabrication of metals, we're concerned with
one single clause; DFARS, 252.225-7014 "Preference for domestic specialty metals". This clause was added in 1973 and amended as the world around us has changed. It provides* two specific clauses that provide rules about what's considered a "specialty metal", how specialty metals are used, and which countries those metals must be melted in. These clauses are 252.225-7008 "Restriction on Acquisition of Specialty Metals" and 252.225-7009 "Restriction on Acquisition of Certain Articles Containing Specialty Metals".
*252.225-7014 "Preference for domestic specialty metals" has been discountinued and it's number marked as "Reserved" in the DFARs document.
The Purpose of the DFARS clauses.
Sometimes it seems like this clause can get in the way of fulfilling your customer's order or finding the lowest price on metals. At that point you're probably viewing it as 'government red tape' and wondering why it is even important.
The purpose of the specialty metals clause, (and the spirit of its forefather, the "Buy American Act") is to insure that in the worst of times we have an adequate industrial base to make the defense of our country, and our allies, a reality.
That makes paying more for domestic titanium a little easier to swallow when you're tempted to maximize profits by using Chinese titanium.
What is a "Specialty Metal"
The clause lists both base and alloying elements and what quantity of these elements can be incorporated into steel and the other "specialty" metals. Unless you have an ASTM or AMS specification or a mill test report in front of you, however, it can be confusing as to what specific alloys it applies to. You could read the clause whenever you need to buy an alloy, or you can use this list as a general guideline to the DFARS compliant alloys M. Vincent & Associates sells.
- All 300 and 400 series stainless
- 15-5 PH stainless
- 17-4 PH stainless
- 13-8 MO stainless
- Commercially pure grades 1, 2, and 4
- 6AL-4V (Grade 5)
- 6AL-4V ELI (Grade 23)
- Nickel 200, 201, & 205
- Nickel Alloys 400, 405 and K-500 (Monel® family of alloys)
- Nickel Alloys 600, 601, 625, 718, & X-750 (Inconel® family of alloys)
- Nickel Alloys B-2, C-22, C-276, & X (Hastelloy® family of alloys)
Cobalt Chrome Alloys
- CoCr20Ni15Mo7 (ASTM F1058, Conichrome®, Elgiloy®, Phynox®)
- 28Cr-6Mo (ASTM F1537, BioDur® CCM Plus®)
Note that DFARS doesn't apply to the copper alloys we sell. It's a common practice of machine shops to include a "DFARS Required" statement on all purchase orders. If DFARS doesn't apply to the purchase, we may ask for an exception before the purchase order is accepted.
M. Vincent & Associates Can Fulfill Your Requirement for DFARS Compliant metals.
Our DFARS relevant alloys are melted in the United States, Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom. We do not purchase materials from China or other countries that are not on the list of qualifying countries. We feel that this insures that our customers get the best quality alloys. It means that when you buy from us, you can rest assured that you'll receive materials that won't come back to haunt you later.
UPDATE: Japan and Slovenia have been added as "Qualifying Countries" as of August 2016.