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Williams Industrial Services




FCS


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Heat Treat News

Nickel charts on InfoMine.comMolybdenum charts on InfoMine.com

Throughput

Nitrogen Case Study. As an inert gas Nitrogen has many uses in the heat treating industry from quenching in vacuum furnaces to safety protection in an atmosphere furnace. The big question for years has been which makes more economical sense; Nitrogen Generation on site or bottled nitrogen? We have no "dog in this race" as the southern boys would say so we are open minded. This vendor of Nitrogen generation systems has this to say and the case study they present certainly appears attractive in terms of ROI (return on investment). This study comes from Jordan Messick, jmessick@southteksystems.com, South Tek Systems, NC.

"What is a Nitrogen Generator? Nitrogen Generators mechanically separate N2 from compressed air, and feed it to a N2 storage tank for continuous use in a wide range of industrial processes.  Two technologies can be used to accomplish this, membrane and PSA. Membrane N2 Generators are widely used for lower purity and lower flow applications (up to 99+%) but the separation membranes degrade over time, require replacement, and overall limiting the lifespan of the generator.  PSA N2 Generators can produce N2 at purities from 95-99.999+%, and can remain in service for 20+ years without changing the separation material. They are truly the "work horses" of the industrial world for generating nitrogen on demand.   

Why Switch Your Nitrogen Gas Source?  Businesses and facilities currently using bulk gas or liquid nitrogen in any of Nitrogen's many useful applications may be tied to a gas company for N2 supply, delivery, high pressure tank change outs, and gas storage. All of these steps in the process of securing the necessary amount of Nitrogen gas represent inefficiencies and excess expenses including: unending cycle of monthly gas bills, overage and surplus fees, gas taxes, tank leasing fees, contract management costs, and long term contracts that all result in an increase in Nitrogen gas costs.

How Can a Nitrogen Generator Produce Valuable ROI? By purchasing a Nitrogen Gas Generator, you can make your own Nitrogen gas at your facility and put an end to your gas contracts.  Benefits of this investment include: eliminating routine costs and inefficiencies outlined above, producing only the N2 gas you need, when you need it, and at the purity, flow rate and pressure you require.  Working with a nitrogen generator manufacturer, such as South-Tek Systems, will allow you to verify your flow and purity requirements in order to size the appropriate system for your application. Make sure to get a performance verification certificate with your equipment to guarantee the nitrogen generator you purchase meets or exceeds the specification requested. January 28/2015

Sample ROI of Nitrogen Generator Purchase; Input/Useage Data:

Bulk Liquid Nitrogen Usage:
Average monthly N2 use: 29,200 CCF
Average montly LN2 Cost: $14,260
Bulk LN2 Cost per CCF: $0.48 per CCF)

N2 Generator Equipment Cost: $170,872
Cost to generate N2/year: $49,120
N2 GEN Cost per CCF:  $0.14 per CCF
$KWH: $0.09

Results:

Capital Expense Payback Period: 16.8 Months
5 yr Cumulative Savings: $439,128
Cost Per CCF reduced by 71%"

Super Systems

Business Opportunities. "The Monty" has many top notch positions available in the heat treating industry which indicates both the shortage of good people available and also the fact that we get results for our advertisers. A small sampling of recent offerings include these; a Quality Assurance Manager required at National Heat Treat in Houston, Texas, an Outside Sales Executive Position for alloy supplier Steeltech and a number of other very desirable positions.

Do you want results when it comes to filling a position within the heat treating industry? "The Monty" is the most economical, fastest way to fill that position. Looking for a job? Send us your ad and we will put it on the site free of charge for as long as you would like. When it comes to filling positions within the heat treating industry "The Monty" can't be beat. With a readership of over 20,000 heat treaters/month we will help you fill your position or help you find a job. Just contact jordan@themonty.com. January 28/2015

Qual-Fab

AFC-Holcroft/Heat Treating Services. Now this is a very interesting press release. Basically is says that AFC-Holcroft has sold an enormous roller hearth line to commercial heat treater Heat Treating Services in Pontiac, Michigan. HTS is a family owned business owned by the Hynes family and one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the Northern US largely on the basis of the auto industry. Have to say we are pleased to see that HTS is doing so well these days-good people. January 27/2015

AFC-Holcroft Press Release. "Heat Treating Services located in Pontiac, Michigan, USA, has placed an order for a two-chamber Roller Hearth Isothermal Annealing Line capable of producing 12,800 lbs/hour gross (5800 kg/hour) product. AFC-Holcroft was awarded the order after working with the customer for several iterations of refinements to the scope of supply.  AFC-Holcroft’s multi-disciplined engineering team will engineer an equipment solution tailored to meet the customer’s metallurgical requirements. Said Ron Graham, Sales Engineer at AFC-Holcroft, “We differentiated ourselves from competitors by undertaking a thorough engineering analysis of the customer's stated process requirements, and offering an equipment solution which will be designed to meet these requirements.”  Added Graham, “This experience and know-how is what our customers rely on and expect from AFC-Holcroft.” The isothermal annealing system will consist of a charge vestibule, annealing furnace, fast cooling chamber, holding chamber, atmosphere controlled cooldown, and discharge vestibule.  An E-Z 9000 endothermic gas generator, material handling system including auto loading and load weighing system, fan cooled tray return with dumper system, and a process water cooling system will complete the line. AFC-Holcroft engineering teams will be responsible for working with the customer and subcontractors to engineer and integrate all the mechanical and electrical controls into one custom controls package.

Once constructed, the line will measure over 175 feet (53 meters) long, representing one of the largest roller hearth furnaces designed and built by AFC-Holcroft. Due to the length of the line, the equipment will be built in sections, match-marked, disassembled, and moved in pieces for reassembly on the customer’s floor.  An estimated 20 trucks will be required to move the furnace equipment, material handling equipment and process water system from their respective build sites to the plant. AFC-Holcroft project management team will be ultimately responsible for the coordination, installation and integration of the entire line in the customers’ facility. The equipment will be installed in a purpose-built addition to the customer’s existing building.  Groundbreaking on the new addition has already taken place and, the new addition is expected to be ready to accept the new line at the beginning of August 2015.

About Heat Treating Services Corporation of America: Heat Treating Services Corporation of America (www.htsmi.com) is a high volume, low cost thermal processor of rough forgings and castings prior to machining.   Processes include normalizing, annealing, oil quench & temper with post process tumble blast cleaning of parts.  Serving customers on their products coming from, to or through Southeastern Michigan since 1978. 

About AFC-Holcroft: AFC-Holcroft is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heat treating furnaces.  The legacy companies that comprise AFC-Holcroft have a combined 225+ years of thermal processing experience.  The company manufactures turn-key heat treating systems for applications including commercial heat treating, bearings, automotive, aerospace, mining, military, aluminum heat treatment, gear manufacturing, fastener manufacturing, and alternative energy industries. AFC-Holcroft, headquartered in the United States, has a global reach with direct sales coverage in North America and worldwide, while AFC-Holcroft Europe serves major industrial markets in Germany, France, and other European locations.   AFC-Holcroft’s Asian Operations manages partners in China, India, South Korea, and other countries in the region, and the company also extends into markets in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Spain, through relationships with partners, many of whom have manufacturing capability. For more information, contact media@afc-holcroft.com."

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Used Equipment Available. Our list of the best priced used furnace equipment in the industry keep changing. So what have we added in the past couple of weeks? A bunch of stuff including a small Grieve Oven, two Roto-Jet parts washers, a Canefco Cast Link Belt Furnace, a "Bell Style" Furnace System made by GM Enterprises and a "Multibottle Surface Endo Generator." What you see above are the additions within the past couple of weeks-if you don't see what you are looking for please let us know and we will try to find it for you. jordan@themonty.com January 27/2015

A few examples include:

Solo

Monday Morning Briefing. We’re doing well these days in North America according to the Metal Treating Institute although the New England district was down slightly for the year. However looking down the road we can see most areas continuing to do well based on the automotive, aerospace and medical industries but the Southwest showing a drastic slowdown because of the slowdown in the energy sector.  "Ytd sales for the Metal Treating Industry for December 2014 were $946.1 million USD, an increase of 7.7% from 2013 when sales for January-December equaled $878.9 million USD. Sales for the Metal Treating Industry for December 2014 totaled $74.1 million USD, an increase from 2013 when sales for December equaled $65.1 million. All nine MTI districts reported higher sales in December 2014 compared to the previous year". Premier Furnace Specialists of Farmington Hills, MI., recently delivered two gas-fired box forge furnaces for normalizing and annealing to a customer in Michigan. Both furnaces have working dimensions of 6 feet wide x 3 feet high x 6 feet deep with an operating temperature range of 225-1900°F (107-1038°C). Aero Gear. It is now roughly 1 ½ years since captive heat treater Aero Gear in Connecticut installed a new Solar Manufacturing vacuum carburizing furnace with the main reason for this investment being reduced distortion. Apparently Aero is pretty pleased with the installation and the photo below shows a very professional installation.

EFD Induction/Superior Technologies Europe. EFD Induction is a growing operation and growing even more these days. They recently acquired Superior Technologies Europe (STE), a U. K.-based leading supplier of impeders, induction coils and related equipment to tube and pipe manufacturers in Europe. "According to EFD Induction, the combination of STE’s welding consumables business with EFD’s strength in induction welding systems makes perfect sense. The tube and pipe welding industry accounts for a significant portion of EFD Induction’s global business, and its range of solid-state induction welders are sold around the world to makers of pipe for the oil and gas industries". Bodycote/Westminster, California is adding a second salt bath for solution treatment of aluminum alloys in the commercial and military aerospace market. This doubles their capacity and the company is pretty pleased about it as they should be. Speaking of commercial heat treater Bodycote this is the latest consensus on the share pricing; "Bodycote PLC (LON:BOY) has earned a consensus recommendation of “Buy” from the twelve brokerages that are covering the company, one has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 12-month target price among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is GBX 727.83 ($11.02)". Advanced Heat Treat Corporation out in Waterloo, Iowa has completed another successful Nadcap (National Aerospace Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) audit. To maintain Nadcap certification, an audit is done every 12 months. Advanced Heat Treat Corp. was just audited about a week ago, and although the official results will not be released for a few weeks, the audit couldn't have gone better is what we understand.

Horsburgh & Scott a Cleveland company that makes and maintains large gears and gearboxes for the mining, metals processing, sugar processing, oil and gas drilling industries, has promoted Pradeep Saha to president and CEO. Now we don’t personally know Pradeep although we have no doubt but that he is a fine fellow but what makes this interesting is the Horsburgh & Scott has a very impressive heat treating department which features a number of very large pit furnaces including a line from Aichelin that the company installed just 3 years back. The photo below shows a load coming out of the furnace. January 26/2015

Advanced Heat Treat Corp. WATERLOO, IA — (AHT) is hiring for the following positions and locations.

· The Burton facility located at 2839 Burton Ave., Waterloo, IA—full and part time openings for Equipment Operators and General Laborers

· The Corporate Headquarters at 2825 MidPort Blvd., Waterloo, IA—full and part time openings for Equipment Operators and General Laborers

· The Monroe facility located at 1625 Rose St., Monroe, MI—part time openings for Equipment Operators and General Laborers

Applications should be filled out at 2825 MidPort Blvd, Waterloo, which is directly Southeast of the Waterloo airport, 1625 Rose Street, Monroe or visit www.ahtweb.com/careers/ to fill out an online application. “Most of our production employees start their careers as General Laborers and progress to Equipment Operators and Heat Treat Technicians,” states Gayla Hoppenworth, HR Manager. “We also have skilled positions in the Metallurgy, Laboratory Technician, Maintenance, Quality, Sales and Administration fields.”  Advanced Heat Treat Corp. offers a comprehensive benefits package including: Medical Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, PTO, Paid Holidays, 401K plan with company match of 50% (up to 10% of employee contribution), Bonus Program. Most of all, Advanced Heat Treat Corp. takes pride in its ‘family’ feel—for both employees and customers. January 26/2015

Alfe

Alloy Heat Treatment/Dudley, UK. Commercial heat treater Alloy Heat Treatment (AHT to you and I) is planning on investing £500,000 in a new plant and more equipment in 2015.  The new plant will be semi automated and the centerpiece will be a new drop bottom oven with water tank, polymer tank, and rinse tank line, as well as an electronic tracking system. The oven will have working dimensions of 2m x 2m x 2.5m which makes it the largest that AHT has and when all is said and done the company will have roughly 55 employees. January 23/2015

Eurotherm

Nutec Bickley. Nutec Bickley is a pretty good sized operation when it comes to new furnaces and ovens however we don’t run across them on a regular basis when it comes to what we would consider “real heat treating”. Having said that though we do run across them from time to time and as an example the company just landed an order for a roller hearth oven from a customer in Monterrey, Mexico. This will be used for processing transformer  components and will have a capacity of up to 3,500 kgs/hour. January 23/2015

Wirco

Endothermic  Generator Catalyst. One of our advertisers on this page is  a company by the name of FCS in Italy  who  manufacturers catalyst for endothermic generators. As all atmosphere heat treaters know an "endo" generator does nothing more than produce a carbon rich atmosphere which is added to  furnaces for processes such as neutral hardening and more importantly carburizing. FCS very kindly sent us a couple of photos of the process involved in making catalyst. This would appear to consist of taking ceramic blocks, cutting them into bricks or cubes if you will then taking the cubes which range in size from 14mm to 40mm cubed and then placing the cubes in a large tube filled with chemicals containing nickel. After the cubes are impregnated they go  to a drying oven-photos of several of these process are below. Interesting process. FCS appears to be well known and competitive in Europe, no idea how they compare in North America. January 22/2015

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Solar Press Release. "In today’s modern production environment requirements seldom stay the same. In 2015, a prime example is a new third-party accreditation program called MedAccred in the medical industry.  This program is going to be the equivalent of the Nadcap program in the aerospace arena. In addition to MedAccred, medical prime contractors are demanding that environmental conditions are controlled, processes validated, and the risk of exposure to foreign object debris (FOD) reduced. Solar Atmospheres has taken preemptive action to develop and build a new area to meet these upcoming requirements.

In mid-2014, Solar Atmospheres installed a new area within the existing shop at our 1983 Clearview Road address. The area is approximately 1500 square feet and incorporates temperature and humidity controls, as well as a slight positive pressure environment. These features will minimize water vapor and dust/debris in the heat treating area. One unique feature of the space is the addition of a brand new, state-of-the-art, all-metal hot-zone vacuum furnace with an oversized pumping system, ability to isolate the quench system during the heat cycle, and all stainless steel chamber. The furnace is capable of maintaining a vacuum level of 5x10-6 torr or lower and has successfully processed the most sensitive materials unshielded without any surface contamination. The furnace is positioned outside of the room, and only the door protrudes through the wall into the climate controlled room. This is a very unusual arrangement in the commercial heat treating industry.  Early in 2015, an existing furnace will be modified and updated with state-of-the-art controls and added to this new area as well. Currently two laboratory furnaces also reside within the room bringing the total number of furnaces in the area to four. This new climate controlled room will add significant value to our customers’ operations, a core component of Solar’s mission statement, by lowering the risk of discoloration and FOD, and by the time-saving elimination of the need to shield parts during heat treating. If you have an interest in utilizing this specialized area/equipment for your upcoming projects, please contact Mike Moyer, Director of Sales at 215-721-1502 x1207, or mike@solaratm.com, or visit us at www.solaratm.com." January 22/2015

Custom Electric

Quench Oil Fires. As mentioned yesterday it is our feeling that quench oil fires are the most common type of fire in a heat treat department, either in the actual quench tank or as a result of oil build up in duct work and associated support equipment. We asked for comments and we did indeed receive comments. The most articulate and common sense response we have below;

“Gord. Read your morning item on the NHBB fire. I have been in heat treating for a number of years and a duct fire is a serious issue. In an oil quenching operation, the ductwork does build up an oily residue for numerous reasons and it cannot be avoided if you are performing an oil quenching operation. The way to minimize this is a commitment during shutdown to remove the ductwork and steam clean it. Note: Do not tried to clean with the ductwork in place there is a good chance you will contaminate the quench oil. Yes you now need to properly dispose of the resulting oil based waste. This should be part of facility PM Schedule. Once you determine how much residue is on certain ductwork this can be done on an annual or bi-annual basis. Yes this is an expensive and the plant management does not want to do it. (Typically heat treater compliant). However, if there is a fire it will be a lot more expensive and there is a probability that the department roof could be comprised. Also, the local fire department will get involved as well they should and there will be additional expense. I have experienced this issue and no duct work fire is the better option. Just plan for it and life is easier.” January 21/2015

Phoenix

Report from “The Amalgamated Brotherhood of Induction Heating Manufacturers”

“The induction manufacturing market is a small, but critical segment of the total heat treat equipment manufacturing marketplace. Induction is more than just used for heat treating (hardening, tempering, stress relieving, normalizing, etc.). Induction has large markets for shrink fit, brazing, soldering, forging, coating and curing, stretch reduction, melting, and a host of other uses, not including stove top cooking which is so specialized, I won’t even go there.
With an estimated $1 Billion world-wide sales of induction equipment/aftermarket parts and coils there are about six major players to fight it out for market share, each wanting to add growth in the market place. The usual engineer or sales person in the business stays in the business for life. It is a very close knit group of individuals, many of whom becomes friends/enemies over their entire business careers. Having been in the business for 40+ years I have met many fine people, but have found you either work hard and learn from your mistakes or get out of the induction business. We continue to struggle with the lack of well-trained INDUCTION metallurgists who can interpret the photo micrographs, hardness readings and determine how to adjust the induction machines parameters to meet the drawing specifications. The business is much more than just kilowatts and kilohertz selection. Both manufacturing companies and users of induction equipment must train individuals as our universities do not issue degrees in induction heat treating. The ASM is one of the few places to take a live class on induction heat treating technologies and my hat is off to them. Upcoming at ASM International Classroom Courses, “Practical Induction Heat Treating” class will be taught, May 18th to 20th, 2015, Materials Park, Ohio.  The cost is $1391.00 for non-members and $1228.00 for members of ASM. This year the instructors are Mr. Richard Haimbaugh and yours truly. Another great new item from ASM is the updated volume C addition to the Handbook library “Induction Heating & Heat Treating”, published in 2014. This is a great reference that covers most every subject on Induction Heat Treating and has the latest in power supplies and controls. Fred Specht, National Sales Manager - Heat Treat Products, Interpower Induction USA, Almont, MI 48003, 312-342-8799” January 21/2015

European Used Equipment Available. Surplus Heat Treating Equipment. For 16 years “The Monty” has been very successful at putting buyers and sellers of used heat treating equipment together and we now bring this model to Europe. If you have surplus heat treating equipment we would be very happy to help you find a buyer on a non-exclusive small commission basis. Please let us know what questions you have and we will be happy to answer them. If you are a buyer looking for a particular item please let us know and we should be able to find it for you. jordan@themonty.com January 21/2015

A few examples include:

Advanced Heat Treat Corp./Waterloo, Iowa. We welcome our newest advertiser commercial heat treater Advanced Heat Treat Corp., based in Waterloo, Iowa. Advanced has four locations around the US and is single handedly responsible for making Ion (Plasma) Nitriding a mainstream heat treating process in North America after a disastrous introduction into North America many years ago (one of these days we will tell you about that introduction when we put together our list of the worst heat treat decisions of all time). The photos below are a little dated but show the Advanced location in Iowa. January 21/2015

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New Hampshire Ball Bearing Fire. "January 15/2015 we had a small news item about how this captive bearing manufacturer had a fire in their heat treating department. It was speculated at the time that the cause was combustible material in the ductwork above a furnace since then this has been confirmed. We have long felt that the number one cause of fires in heat treating has to do with quench oil, either water getting into a quench tank or quench oil residue building up in ductwork. We have no hard and fast figures to back this up but we would certainly appreciate any feedback from heat treaters, quench oil suppliers, furnace builders or polymer companies about this very real and potentially dangerous issue. For instance how the heck does one clean out ductwork?" January 20/2015

Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum Press Release.  "Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum celebrates the completion of a decade of its Indian subsidiary. Although vacuum technologies from Leybold Vacuum had been present in the Indian market before, the subsidiary was founded to deepen the engagement with local market. Since inception, the focus has been on offering complete application support along with an augmented service portfolio. In 2013, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum set-up its India Head-office in Bangalore, in order to work closely with the Indian scientific community as well as offer sales and service support to neighboring South Asian markets.

Committed to customers; Besides superior technology and service offerings, a major factor behind Leybold Vacuum’s success in the India region has been its strong customer relationships built on reliability and trust. Be it large global companies or India’s space research program, Leybold Vacuum’s technologies have been an integral part of the economic success of its customers. “Our Bangalore facility has enabled us to be in proximity to key customers as well as leverage the local solutions business. Our key customers like the Department of Space are located in Bangalore and this facility would enable us to better serve their needs. Through our staff of trained engineers we offer complete solutions to customers rather than merely selling products”, says Muniram Sreenivasulu, General Manager Sales and Service of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum India, who has been grooming the 10-fold growth of this subsidiary for the last ten years.“We continue to invest pro actively in emerging markets”, says Dr. Martin Fuellenbach, CEO Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, “We have further strengthened local leadership by appointing industry veteran Mr. Parnandi Ravindranath as the new Managing Director. This will leverage again the excellent technological expertise of M. Sreenivasulu and strengthen our decade long partnership with Indian customers by offering them new products and solutions.”

Resonating ‘Make in India’. The India region is critical to Leybold Vacuum’s growth ambitions and availability of skilled manpower at a competitive cost is a substantial factor gaining importance. India is likely to emerge as a substantial manufacturing hub for many of the regional customers and Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum’s solutions and local system building capacity will contribute to serve the customers better with superior technology and service. Success stories in the fields of steel degassing or aerospace are manifold showing Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum’s commitment to India. Local sales also benefits from the decades of experience of the application experts from the global headquarters in Cologne, Germany, who are intensively involved in further trainings and constantly offer technological consulting expertise." January 20/2015

ATP

Monday Morning Briefing. We start off with an upsetting news item-just last week Mr. OV Mathews of MT Heat Treat Inc., in Mentor, Ohio passed away. OV was president of family owned commercial heat treat MT Heat Treat for the past 47 years. While we never personally met OV several people have said extremely complimentary things about him. What we also know about him is that he ran an extremely impressive and extremely clean operation as you can see in the picture below.  

We are taking a real leap here from Ohio to Poland where we have this recent news item about a new plant Bodycote is in the process of planning. British heat treatment specialists Bodycote have picked a location for their sixth Polish production site, in Siechnice near Wrocław. The  2,500 sq.m built-to-suite facility is being developed by Polish general contractor P.A. Nova. In a move to better serve its clients in the Wrocław area, mainly automotive firms., the company chose an investment site near  the city's  eastern ring road. Sitting on a 1ha site, the project will include 2,250 sq.m of production space as well as 214 sq.m of office and staff quarters”. While we are talking about Poland we should mention that Härterei HAUCK GmbH just recently opened up a new plant in Dzierzoniow, Poland which is close to Wroclaw. Hauck is part of the Aalberts Group which is the second largest commercial heat treater in Europe.

Low Country Heat Treat. Unfortunately it is the end of the line for commercial heat treater Low Country Heat Treat of North Charleston, SC. While this was never a large company at one point in time the company had two batch IQ lines and some car-bottom capacity. The last remaining piece of equipment has been sold and by mid March the company will cease to exist. A real shame as we had a high opinion of the owners of the company. Wall Colmonoy, Brazing school. From what we have heard this sounds like a pretty good learning experience. “Preserving the tradition originated by the late Robert Peaslee, a brazing pioneer who invented the first nickel-based brazing filler metal, Wall Colmonoy offers a spring session of Modern Furnace Brazing School on May 5-7, 2014 at Aerobraze Engineered Technologies’ Brazing Engineering Center in Cincinnati, Ohio”.

People News. Where are they now? Bluewater Thermal is the largest US based commercial heat treater and before the sale of their Carolina Commercial plants had put together a very unique management team most of whom left the company after this divestiture. Let’s see where they went. Mike Wellham, CEO who came from titanium company RTI ended up in a completely separate industry from heat treating, CFO Keith Beasley ended up as CFO for Sawgrass Technologies, Ben Crawford, COO is now sales manager at the JL Becker Company and Terry Brown left for his own consulting firm TDB. CEO of Bluewater now is Jeff Hemmer who has been with the company for quite some time and knows his stuff. We have our good friend Doug Rutter of Gleason Works in Rochester, NY in our thoughts these days. Doug has been involved in the Heat Treating department of captive and commercial heat treater Gleason for many years (the company is of course very well known for their gear cutting and press quenching equipment). Doug is a good experienced man who very unfortunately has been having some serious health issues the past number of weeks.  We are thinking of you Doug.

And to round things out we have this photo of one of the recent additions to commercial heat treater Parker Trutec in Springfield, Ohio. We have mentioned this expansion  before so we will leave it at this summary and the photo (incidentally we would guess that we are looking at a Dowa made single row pusher in the photo). Parker Trutec added roughly 20,000 square feet to its plant at 4700 Gateway Blvd. over the past several months and also purchased new equipment to treat parts for Honda, said Shannon Ricciardo, assistant plant manager for the company. The company is training workers now and will hire about 15 new employees over the next few months, he said”. January 19/2015

"Ipsen Announces New Vice President of Sales, Patrick McKenna CHERRY VALLEY, IL – Ipsen USA is pleased to welcome the newest member of the Ipsen Team, Patrick McKenna as Vice President of Sales. He is replacing Art Tsubaki, who is now Managing Director of Ipsen Japan. Reporting to Geoffrey Somary, CEO of Ipsen USA and COO of Ipsen Group, McKenna is responsible for all new equipment and after-market sales. He is also a member of the Ipsen USA Executive Team and the global Ipsen Group Management Committee. McKenna earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (BSME) from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering (MME) from Northwestern University. Previously, McKenna was Vice President of the renowned Nevada Heat Treating, Inc. (including California Brazing), which specializes in the heat treating and brazing of critical components found at the heart of complex machines. As an active member of the company’s board of directors since 2002, McKenna was instrumental in their growth, helping the company increase revenues more than 15x. McKenna has also served on the Metal Treating Institute (MTI) Board of Trustees since 2006 and has held the following positions: President Elect (2015), Treasurer (2014) and Membership Committee Chairperson (2008-2014). In addition, he was selected to serve on the MTI Furnaces North America Technical Program Committee in 2008 and 2010, during which he was chosen both years to be a moderator for their technical sessions. McKenna has received several awards from the MTI, including the President’s Award (2014) and the Heat Treater of the Year/Master Craftsman award (2011). At Ipsen, McKenna’s responsibilities include managing the sales and distribution channels of all Ipsen equipment and after-market into the North and South American markets. McKenna’s vast heat-treating knowledge and industry experience, along with his proven ability to drive results and create growth, will be instrumental in continuing Ipsen’s mission to be a partner in their customers’ success." January 19/2015

Crio

SHU/Ulm, Germany. We have always believed the largest privately held commercial heat treater in the world is SHU in Ulm, Germany with estimated annual sales of roughly € 100 million ($117 million USD). This, the largest German commercial heat treater was established by  Hugo Burgmaier in 1979 in Ulm. In addition to this location there is also a second plant by the name of EHT down the road in Erbach, a facility by the name of STP which offers shot peening and a logistics and transportation company by the name of BTL.  The whole Group employs approximately 900 people and has 400 customers almost all of whom are involved in the auto industry. 

Now that you have the background lets tell you why their name comes up today (besides the fact that this is an absolutely amazing heat treat).  Mr. Burgmaier has plans to invest in the near future €25 million to expand the plant and add more equipment which will result in 240 new jobs. However these plans are dependent upon the German government guaranteeing that energy costs will not be higher than they currently are (which being Germany are very high). Currently the company has annual energy consumption of 100 million kWh of electricity and similar for gas which results in an annual energy bill of  €8 millions. While the company currently enjoys lower than average energy costs this could go up by 20% dependent upon changes in an EU law and changes to the German Renewable Energy Law.

So the bottom line is the company is thriving and has definite plans to expand however this is not going to happen if their energy costs are going up 20% in the near future. The plant was visited recently by the German industry minister, Mr. S. Gabriel who has promised to help in the EU. The photos below show the location in Ulm, the one in Erbach along with a very recent photo of the company. Our favorite photo is the top one showing brand new vacuum furnaces as far as the eye can see-what a sight to behold and one that is repeated throughout SHU in the form of batch IQ furnaces and vacuum carburizers. The link below will take you to an article (in German) which gives you all the details of this story. It also includes more photos if you click on the “Galerie” button. January 16/2015

http://www.swp.de/ulm/lokales/ulm_neu_ulm/Besuch-Gabriel-sagt-Ulmer-Unternehmen-Unterstuetzung-bei-Energie-zu;art4329,2899053 

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Wallwork Group Press Release. "With an investment topping £2 million the Wallwork Group has expanded and upgraded the vacuum heat treatment department at its Birmingham facility. Housed in a newly refurbished building, supported by a grant from Birmingham City Council, the department provides high-vacuum heat treatment, using modern furnaces of different capacities for flexible, cost-effective thermal processing of both high volume and small batch metal components. Seven new positions have been created at the Birmingham site as a direct result the new investment. “We are fortunate in having a good variety of work from different industry sectors, including aerospace, motorsport, power and nuclear suppliers. This gives us the stability to continue to invest for the future with new degreasing facility to be installed early in 2015 enabling the company to offer a sub-contact service and plans for a new vacuum temper furnace later in the year. The range of projects allows us to maintain an interesting and balanced workflow and be confident that we can maintain levels of employment into the future,” Tim Pelari, site director, explained.   There are seven vacuum furnaces on site ranging in load capacity from 250Kg to four tonnes. This includes one of the largest furnaces in the UK accepting loads of four tonnes and over 2.7 cubic metres. Each furnace is scheduled at pre-determined intervals for Temperature Uniformity Survey (TUS) to ensure that it complies with the relevant System Accuracy Test (SAT) as part of Wallwork’s continuing compliance to specifications in the aerospace and automotive industries.

“We are problem solvers,” Tim added. “It is rarely just a case of following a specification, we like to understand how, where and why the component is to be used so we can provide the best technical treatment. This approach may lead to an immediate cost reduction, where a heat treatment has been over specified, for example, or longer term savings where a better process improves performance or endurance to reduce life-time component cost. Our on-site laboratory staff, with extensive metallurgical expertise provide complete documentation for quality assurance and traceability.” The department can handle anything from small pressed or machined parts to large forgings. Operating 24/7 and supported by a company owned and operated vehicle fleet, many orders are turned around in a single shift and returned to customers the day following collection. Wallwork also operate from locations in Manchester and Cambridge in order to provide a complete nationwide service. In addition to thermal processing the company also offers advanced surface coatings to Nadcap accreditation. These services are supported by a well-equipped research and development department, staffed by highly trained scientists and technicians."  
January 15/2015


Bluewater

New Hampshire Ball Bearing Fire. Bearing manufacturer and captive heat treater New Hampshire Ball Bearing in Laconia, NH was evacuated Monday night due to a fire. Firefighters said flames broke out shortly before 10:30 p.m. in the duct work above a heat treating furnace. They think combustible material in the flue caught fire. Officials said the plant is fully operational and no one was hurt. Our guess is that this is the most common cause of fires in heat treat departments-a build up of oil and materials in ducting. It was less than a year ago, February of 2014 to be exact that the New Hampshire Ball Bearing plant down the road in Peterborough, NH has a very serious explosion which sent at least 15 people to the hospital. January 15/2015

Central Eastern Heat Treatment Forum. "The second Central Eastern Heat Treatment Forum & Expo and the first European Vacuum Carburizing Summit will be held concurrently in Wroclaw, Poland the 21st to the 23 of April 2015. The events organizers have this to say; “Europe is an important area in heat treatment, contributing a number of new innovative ideas. Our Western European heat treatment world is well organized and AWT in Germany is probably the best example, but Central Eastern Europe is unfortunately not well organized. The long-term success of the European market depends on regular meetings on developments, technologies, trends and common potentials in the heat treating market. In the pursuit of this goal the Global Heat Treatment Network initiated and organized in October 2014 the 1st European Nitriding Summit. The purpose of these Conferences is to present trends, share knowledge and enable people to establish business contacts. Many global experts believe that currently there are two important development trends in the global heat treatment industry which need to be discussed.  One is the increasing importance of nitriding and nitrocarburizing technology, the second is the increasing use of vacuum furnaces and in particular vacuum carburizing.

Therefore the second European Summit will follow this trend and will be related to vacuum carburizing. European Vacuum Carburizing Summit (21-22.04.2015) will be the first comprehensive conference on vacuum carburizing in Europe. Ultimately it will move to become a biennial event and alternate between several CE European locations. This conference and exhibition will deal with all aspects of vacuum carburizing technologies (incl. oil, gas, HPGQ and mist-quenching). In parallel the 2nd edition of the Central Eastern European Heat Treatment Forum & EXPO will take place this year again in Wroclaw /Poland (21-23.04.2015). The first edition in 2014 with over 40 exhibitors was very successful. Short coverage about last years event can be viewed on the conference website. This annual international conference and exhibition for the heat treatment industry in Poland and Central Eastern Europe has been organized at the specific request of international companies interested in developing business relationships with clients from Central & Eastern Europe by the Global Heat Treatment Network, represented and led in Europe by FOKA ENGINEERING. To honour achievements of people in the heat treatment industry an award with a title „ Member of the Heat Treatment Forum Hall of Excellence“ was created.  During the first event Michel J. Korwin – founder and owner of Nitrex Metal and United Process Controls (PE) - was inducted into that Heat Treatment Forum Hall of Excellence. For this year edition several candidates are nominated. Both conferences will be simultaneously translated. The exhibition will be open during all 3 days (21-23.04.) to all our clients and potential customers (no access fee, registration obligatory)." January 15/2015

Corner Stone

Hi-Tek Manufacturing/Mason, Ohio. The press release below tells us how turbine components supplier Hi-Tek just received their Nadcap Accreditation for heat treating. This accreditation covers the company's heat treating department which includes two large, 2 bar quenching GM vacuum furnaces which were installed by Hi-Tek in late 2013. January 14/2015

"Mason, Ohio – "Receiving Nadcap accreditation for heat treating completes our major investment to provide full service to our OEM Turbine Engine customers" stated Barry Nehls, Sales and Marketing Manager.  "Process timing is critical for our customers," Nehls went on to say, "and the addition of in-house heat treating greatly enhances our ability to produce made complete components."  The scope of this Nadcap Accreditation includes not only heat treating but brazing, hardness testing for heat treating, an pyrometry capabilities.  "The timing and logistics cost reductions represent a huge savings to our customers," Nehls added. HI-TEK MANUFACTURING received Nadcap accreditation for demonstrating their ongoing commitment to quality by satisfying customer requirements and industry specifications. "Achieving Nadcap accreditation is not easy: it is one of the ways in which the aerospace industry identifies those who excel at manufacturing quality product through superior special processes. Companies such as Hi-Tek Manufacturing work hard to obtain this status and they should be justifiably proud of it," said Joe Pinto, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Performance Review Institute. "PRI is proud to support continual improvement in the aerospace industry by helping companies such as Hi-Tek be successful and we look forward to continuing to assist the industry moving forward."

About Nadcap: Created in 1990 by SAE Inc., Nadcap is administered by the not-for-profit Performance Review Institute. PRI exists to advance the interests of the mobility and related industries through development of performance standards and administration of quality assurance, accreditation, and certification programs as well as related activities for the benefit of industry, government, and the general public. PRI works closely with industry to understand their emerging needs and offers customized solutions in response.

ALD-Dynatech Press Release (January  2014). "ALD-Dynatech has installed single chamber vacuum hardening furnace with high pressure gas quenching facility  for Vasantha Tool Craft Pvt Ltd, at their manufacturing plant in Hydarabad, India. The multi-purpose ALD Monotherm® with high pressure gas quench is the environmentally friendly and clean furnace ideally suitable for Hardening of tools under oxygen free environment. Heating in the vacuum chamber furnace can be performed in vacuum as well as under convection.. Depending on the part geometry, quench pressure can be adjusted to a gentle cooling with1.5 bar or high pressure gas quenching designed up to 10 bar. With auxiliary equipment installed, the system ALD MonoTherm® can be expanded for additional processes such as vacuum carburizing, annealing, tempering, brazing in fine or high vacuum, and sintering.

The furnace has effective hot zone size 400x400x600 mm (16”x16”x24”) & load capacity of 200 Kgs. (440 lbs). Treated parts are heated very homogeneously in a temperature range between 150 °C (300°F) and 1320 °C(2408°F).  With advanced PLC/HMI control system , furnace complies to NADCAP and AMS 2750E  “ Performance of this furnace has been found very good suiting Indian Market requirement  for heat treatment of various critical parts ” Mr. Reddy, quoted  after completing the initial trials.

About Vasantha Tool Craft Pvt Ltd: Vasantha Tool Crafts has been established in 1989 and so far successfully designed & manufactured more than 1500 precision molds,  "Fully Hot Runner Molds & In-Mold Closing Molds" of high productivity and high cavitation for various applications such as Switch Gear, Electronics, Home Appliances, Medical, Writing Instruments, Caps & Closures for pharmacy, cosmetics & health care segments. With highly qualified people and years of tool room experience with manufacturing facility in Hydarabad, India, Vasantha Tool Crafts has a proven track record of converting customer needs into superior end products in time.

About ALD Dynatech: ALD Dynatech is India’s largest manufacturer of vacuum heat treatment furnace systems. ALD Dynatech is a part of world renowned Vacuum furnace manufacturer “ALD Vacuum Technologies, Germany”. The company manufactures turn-key vacuum heat treatment systems for applications including commercial heat treating, carburizing, nitriding, sintering, tempering processes for bearings, automotive, aerospace, mining and military, commercial heat treatment, gear manufacturing, fastener manufacturing, and alternative energy industries." January 14/2015

Ten New Trends in Heat Treatment/Thoughts By Janusz Kowalewski. Well we have to say that our friend Janusz certainly gets around the world and certainly is a very prolific writer when it comes to the world of heat treating. Janusz over the years has worked with companies such as SECO/WARWICK, AFC-Holcroft in the US, AFC-Holcroft in China and ALD-Dynatech in India. In addition he has also over the years in his spare time compiled extensive lists about the industry including one which list all of the furnaces manufacturers on the globe. This latest list is Janusz's thoughts on the top ten trends in the worldwide heat treating industry.  January 13/2015

Trend number 1: Demand for heat treatment services and equipment is expanding at a higher global rate (5 to 6%) compared to the rest of economic activities (0.5 to 1,5%).   The high growth rate leads to an increasing number of furnace manufacturers especially in Asia and creates intensive competition amongst furnace manufacturers.

Trend Number 2: An increasing usage of vacuum heat treatment technology.  An increasing number of double and multichamber chamber vacuum furnaces with lights-out operation capabilities.

Trend Number 3: Increasing digitalization of the heat treatment operations.  The growing trend of heat treatment integration into the manufacturing process (One Piece Flow Process).  Increasing level of furnace controlability and mantainability by applying “Internet of Things” concept and systems integration. 

Trend Number 4: Globalization of heat treatment standards, procedures, processes and furnace designs. Global equalization of heat treatment quality and furnace designs.   Increasing importance of furnace safety operation with Zero Accident Furnace Design Philosophy.

Trend Number 5: Replacement of furnaces and technologies that generate high CO2 pollution.  Increasing importance of brazing, PM sintering  and processes with shorten heat treatment cycle in heat treatment.   

Trend Number 6: Increasing the importance of Nano and Thermo/Chemical Surface Modification processes.   Replacement and modification of quenching mediums – Nanaoquenchants, oil mist and vegetable oil. 

Trend Number 7: Gradual dismay of mass heat treatment.  Growing influence of 3 D Printing – Additive Manufacturing Method on heat treatment.

Trend Number 8: New Sources of Heat – Rotational Magnetic, Active Screen Plasma, Microwave, Laser and Infrared Heating. 

Trend Number 9: Increasing sizes of sealed quench furnaces and we may see it decreasing usage of ceramic fiber insulation. 

Trend Number 10: Markets with high growth potential for heat treatment – Mexico, India, Indonesia.  New markets for future growth - Vietnam, Egypt, Ehtiopia, Ghana and Kenia.

Monday Morning Briefing. At the top today is a brief announcement from the Contract Heat Treatment Association in the UK, the network for  commercial heat treaters in the country. The photo shows Mr. Alan Hick the secretary for CHTA. "The UK’s Contract Heat Treatment Association will be partnering the Surface Engineering Association and Wolfson Heat Treatment Centre in co-sponsoring the “Surface Engineering & Heat Treatment Industry Conference” on 16-17 October 2015. Staged in Stratford-upon-Avon, this will be the first national event encompassing heat treatment in England for over ten years. Initial information can be found at http://www.chta.co.uk/conference/47/. Alan J. Hick, CHTA Secretary / Editor, Hotline."

From alloy supplier Wirco in Avilla, Indiana we have this announcement about a promotion. "Effective January 5th, 2015 Wirco, Incorporated is pleased to announce the promotion of Aaron Ackerman  (Wirco Account Manager) to the position of Business Development Manager at Wirco's Avilla, Indiana facility. Aaron has been with the Wirco Inside Sales Department for 11 years and has gained extensive knowledge of heat treat furnace internal alloy systems. In Mr. Ackerman's new capacity he will work extensively with Wirco's outside sales representatives and customers to offer turnkey furnace alloy solutions and scrap alloy management programs."

Chrysler in Kokomo, Indiana has one of the largest in house heat treating departments in North America and must compare favorably with most around the world. We've lost track but we can say for sure that they have at least 20 cells for vacuum caruburizing, Batch IQ's furnaces, continous pretty well everything. Well it sounds like the heat treat department is poised to grow even more. "Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC plans to increase its capital investment program at the Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana by $266 million, to increase capacity for its TorqueFlite eight-speed transmissions. It marks the sixth investment program since 2009 for that location, totaling nearly $1.8 billion, the automaker indicated. It has three plants in Kokomo, IN, including the Kokomo Casting aluminum foundry and two transmission plants, one of which is the Kokomo Transmission Plant (the other is the Indiana Transmission Plant 1). Kokomo Transmission machines aluminum block castings and aluminum and steel transmission components, and also assembles several different transmission designs. The automaker also has a third transmission plant in nearby Tipton, IN." When you’ve got 25 large batch IQ furnaces with more on the way you need a pile of space, which is why auto parts supplier Linamar Gear in Guelph, Ontario, Canada is adding this addition to house some of them.

Commercial Heat Treater Exactatherm, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada has been around for quite some time and under Dr. Peter Lidster has grown and prospered especially when it comes to aerospace heat treating. Last year the company ordered a new SECO/WARWICK CaseMaster Evolution vacuum furnace, a two chamber furnace with oil and 2 bar gas quenching capabilities and working dimensions of 48 x 36 x 48. As you can seen the unit is now installed and just entering production.

LEWCO Inc. recently built a custom industrial oven for a defense contractor specializing in advanced technology including nuclear energy. The oven will be used for a highly specialized military application used to thermally treat energetics remaining in obsolete military explosives. What this means is that over the years a number of very specalized furnaces and ovens have been built to get ird of old munitions and even nerve gases in some cases. Induction provider Ambrell sold a 50-kW/10-kHz induction heating system to a company that will use the machine for a casting application. And to round things out GMP Friction Products in Akron, Ohio will be adding some more sintering furnace capacity. GMP makes a number of products including components for brakes. January 12/2015

Energy Costs. It is rather ironic that while oil and gas costs continue to drop electrical costs in most areas of the world continue to climb. However electrical costs are going up for a different reason which has more to do with environmental concerns than anything else. Take this example of a large commercial heat treater in Traverse City, Michigan by the name of Century Sun Heat Treating. Century is a long established operation that recently installed a number of new Ipsen vacuum furnaces after a fire in late 2013. According to this condensed news report about electrical costs in Michigan, Century Sun will see higher costs because coal will be phased out as a source of energy and what will replace it appears to be rather up in the air-this story is repeated in many areas of the world including Europe. Read on. January 9/2015

"Today, Michigan relies on coal for the majority of its energy. But that's about to change – with no clear answer about what's going to replace it. That unknown is creating concern and a charged debate locally and statewide. First the why: Nine coal plants (with an electrical capacity serving 1 million people) will be retired in 2016 due to tightened federal regulations for carbon dioxide emissions –with more regulations and more likely coal plant shutdowns looming after that under a proposed federal Clean Power Plan.

The concerns quickly trickle down from suppliers to users. Take, for instance, Traverse City manufacturer Century, Inc. The company operates a heat-treating facility – one of the most modern in the country – and pays an electric bill of $100,000-plus per month. Kent Wood, director of government relations for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, says the issue of “uncertainty” is a big one for the Chamber and companies like Century: What will energy look like, what will it cost and how reliable will it be? “A lot of our business energy users are looking to expand and need to know they are going to have reliable energy and that it’s going to be affordable … and by and large they don’t care where it comes from,” says Wood. While Consumers’ Bishop says no one is predicting brownouts or blackouts in 2016, power companies must do something to address the loss of output."

Ionic Technologies Press Release. "Ray Monahan the President and shareholder of Ionic Technologies will leave the company full time to become a consultant starting in 2015. In addition to consulting he will also be involved in niche equipment sales to captive and commercial heat treat shops.  Ray started the company in  May of 1998 with the majority financial support of Aalberts Industries and has grown this to be one of the best companies in the Nitriding and Vacuum heat treating markets. Ionic has numerous special processes for Nitriding stainless steels and is a supplier to major automotive, industrial and aerospace companies. Ray’s new company will be called Surface Products and he can be reached at Rmono@charter.net. We wish him all the success in the future." January 8/2015

Natural Gas Prices. While Christmas was two weeks ago it would appear that Christmas is back again and continuing to give. Did anybody in this industry expect that we would be seeing natural gas pricing below $3.00 USD again? January 8/2015

Natural Gas Over The Last 3 Months

Natural Gas Over The Last 10 Years

ECONOX. We welcome our latest advertiser ECONOX of Switzerland. Cyril Bregard of the company had this to say "we are a small family company that has been manufacturing oxygen sensors and probes for 30 years. Our main customers come from the aerospace, automotive and military industries (for our range of products dedicated to heat treatment). Our %O2 oxygen sensors and probes are used worldwide in laboratories, universities, and in the ceramic and pottery industries. We have a complete range of probes for %C measure and %O2 measure." January 8/2015

2015 Forecast. Our prediction is that 2015 will be a good year for captive and commercial heat treaters in North America and partly this is based upon auto sales. As Exhibit A we present this condensed article about Honda in Marysville, Ohio (note the reference to a local heat treater Parker Trutec).

"Honda fell just shy of a company record for annual sales last year as the auto industry has continued to show signs of recovery from the Great Recession. The company reported Monday total sales of more than 1.5 million vehicles last year, a roughly 1 percent increase compared to 2013. That figure is the second best in its history, barely falling short of the high mark set in 2007, according to information from Kelley Blue Book. The automaker has a large footprint in the local economy, with more than 1,500 workers from Clark and Champaign counties employed at Honda’s Marysville facility. In April, Parker Trutec, which provides heat-treating services to Honda, announced it would hire about 15 new workers as part of a $13 million expansion. Yamada North America Inc., which supplies oil and water pumps and steering components to Honda and other automakers, also announced recently it would add production lines and hire as many as 40 employees. Automakers could see another bump in sales in 2015, but could reach a peak before sales slow again, Fleming said. The industry overall sold about 16.5 million vehicles this year, he said, a roughly 5 percent increase over last year." January 7/2015

Gibraltar Steel. If we ever put together a list of the worst decisions in the commercial heat treating industry this story will rank right up there-here is the background.

In June of 2006, Gibraltar Industries a diversified company based in Hamburg, NY sold their thermal processing division Gibraltar Thermal Processing to a private equity group, GSO Capital of New York City. The newly-formed company, which continued operating existing plants throughout the U.S., became known as Bluewater Thermal Processing. At the time it was possibly the largest commercial heat treater in North America (if not it was the second largest) and it operated 18 heat treating facilities in North America. The reason for the sale was that Gibraltar wanted to concentrate on its building products divisions.  Bluewater continued to grow and thrive even though the recession certainly put them back like everybody else. In October of 2012 Bluewater sold the Carolina Commercial plants to Bodycote for $68 million USD which was a very profitable deal for Bluewater but probably made sense for Bodycote also. Currently Bluewater is the second largest commercial heat treater in North America and made two acquisitions in Texas in 2014. However as it turns out Gibraltar has not enjoyed the same success. Since the recession the company has seen their sales drop from $1.3 billion USD in 2007 to a little over half of that three years later because of the devastation in the construction markets. While the company has seen some recovery and sales are projected to top $850 million in 2014 they have still lost money in three of the past 6 years which has forced the CEO to announce his resignation effective June of 2016. A lot of bad decisions all around and selling off the heat treat division was one of many. January 7/2015

Edwards Vacuum Press Release. "Edwards Limited announced today the opening of a new office in the Netherlands. The new site will be home to Edwards’ account teams, vacuum and abatement application experts, customer service and project managers for the Benelux region. The 275m2 facility is strategically located next to one of Edwards’ key customers, ASML, the world’s leading supplier of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry. “The close proximity to ASML and other customers will enable us to be extremely responsive to their service needs and work more closely with them to plan and develop solutions for their future requirements,” said Jos Donders, Global Market Sector Manager, Edwards. “The new office will also help Edwards expand in the Benelux union, which is an important region of high technology growth.” The new office will be located at: De Run 6807 in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. About Edwards; Edwards is a leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated vacuum products, exhaust management systems and related value-added services. These are integral to manufacturing processes for semiconductors, flat panel displays, LEDs and solar cells; are used within an increasingly diverse range of industrial processes including power, glass and other coating applications, steel and other metallurgy, pharmaceutical and chemical; and for both scientific instruments and a wide range of R&D applications. Edwards has over 4,000 employees worldwide engaged in the design, manufacture and support of high technology vacuum and exhaust management equipment. Edwards has state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe, Asia and North America. Further information about Edwards can be found at www.edwardsvacuum.com." January 6/2015

Solar Press Release. "Hermitage, PA.  January 06, 2015 – On Friday, December 5, 2014, NASA’s new spacecraft Orion launched successfully from Cape Canaveral and completed its first test flight.  One of the tricky parts of launching humans into space is deciding what to do if something goes wrong while riding on top of a controlled explosion for nine minutes. New to all future “human present” rockets will be the Launch Abort System (LAS).  This critical part of the safety system was vacuum heat treated by Solar Atmospheres of Western PA.  The large manifold housing made from 6AI 4V titanium is designed to rapidly propel astronauts away from the main rocket in case of a catastrophic explosion or any other unexpected event.  Once fired, the LAS will accelerate the astronauts away from the main rocket at forces up to 10 to 15 g’s. Michael Johnson, Sales Manager stated “The welded component needed to be homogenously treated to insure peak performance in the event the LAS would be needed.  Precise temperature monitoring of the part and uniformity of the furnace was the easy part, while minimizing distortion, and avoiding eutectic’s with the fixturing materials used, were ultimately the real challenge. At the end of the day, both Solar and its customer had a process that proved to be successful on the prototype and the three additional manifolds that followed.”   Solar Atmospheres of Western PA is very proud knowing that they contributed to the success of the Orion Mission.  For more information about Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, please contact Mike Johnson at (866) 982-0660 ext. 2223, or mike@solarwpa.com, and visit us at www.solaratm.com." January 6/2015

Monday Morning Briefing. We are going to start the year off with an IntensiQuench press release. IntensiQuench has been around for some time and offers a very unique heat treating process using water quenching. In spite of some of the real advantages of the process it has never achieved the recognition many feel it deserves. According to this press release though they have just received a very impressive order. "We at IQ Technologies are in the final stages of assembly and testing of our latest turn-key IntensiQuench® system.   IQT has built the $1.1 million heat treat system in Cleveland, Ohio, for export to an Asian client (with a Surface Combustion 10’ rotary hearth furnace).    It is the first of its kind and can hold part tolerances after heat treat to 50 microns of distortion to  eliminate post-heat treat straightening.   The IntensiQuench® also allows a 33% reduction of carburizing cycle time for the same ECD (compared to conventional oil quenching) and allows the use of lower alloy, less expensive steel.    It seems that after 15 years we have finally got the metallurgical community to accept “Intensive Water Quenching of Steel.”   

A few weeks back we had a report about the Largest Vacuum Carburizing Installations in North America. Included on the list were installations at Ford and Chrysler but conspicuous by their absence was General Motors. This appears to be changing though as we understand GM is currently installing a LPC system at a plant in Michigan. Speaking of GM somebody is in trouble! The company just had to recall 152 Silverado and Sierra trucks because the rear axle shafts have experienced problems-problems related to heat treatment. No idea whose fault this one was.  Induction company Ambrell just issued a press release saying the company recently sold two 10-kW, 150- to 400-kHz induction heating systems to a manufacturer of pipe grippers for the oil and gas industry. Fabrication company Azco out in Menasha, WI recently added 12,000 square feet to their plant which will house some new equipment including a brand new stress relieving oven capable of 1450F. This means the company will no longer have to outsource their heat treating requirements.

In Europe we see that there has been a merger of two companies in the furnace building business. "Carbolite GmbH, the German sales organization of the British company Carbolite Ltd., and Gero Hochtemperaturöfen GmbH & Co. KG have announced that as of January 2015 the companies will merge to form Carbolite-Gero GmbH & Co. KG. Carbolite-Gero offer a wide range of furnaces. The new company will provide a portfolio of furnaces and ovens covering a temperature range from 30°C to 3000°C. Systems for applications in vacuum and under different atmospheres will be part of the offering as well as high temperature furnaces with tungsten, molybdenum or graphite insulation. Both companies are part of the Dutch Verder Group and as a result of the merger will become an increasingly important player in the heat technology industry. Following the merger the production area at the company’s headquarters in Neuhausen near Stuttgart will be increased. A new customer center is also planned that showcase the company’s range of laboratory and industrial furnaces to visitors." Heat treating is a family business and a perfect example is the Thompson family in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bill Thompson was one of the first individuals in the industry to see the future of oxygen probes. While Bill is pretty much retired his son Steve continues the family tradition as President of SSI. The photo below shows the whole Thompson clan taken over the Christmas holidays.

Heat Treating in the Southern USA. The Southern US has seen an enormous boom in both captive and commercial heat treating for a variety of reasons. We are very pleased to be able to offer you this concise report about the area from Heat Treat Representative Marty Benegalia of Southern Thermal in Texas. Marty and his son Matt (whose banner ad can be found on this page) know the area as well as anybody and will be regular contributors to this site.

"South Central and Southwest USA Business Update. 2014 was a very active year for our industry.  Capital investments, greenfield start-ups, relocations, and plant expansions were quite active and involved a very broad spectrum of industries including aerospace, defense, automotive, energy , and medical.  The commercial heat treat shops support a variety of industries and processes due to the diversity of business needs and they continue to do a great job of meeting those demanding requirements.

The lessons learned from the oil crises of the 1970’s encouraged the southern energy producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to strongly encourage business diversification.  For the most part, there has been a nice transition from an energy-driven economy to a more balanced approach with expanding interest in the markets mentioned above such as aerospace, defense, medical, and high end technology.  This region of the USA is still quite dependent on energy – oil is still the major player but followed closely by natural gas, industrial gas turbines  and even  wind turbines. The recent decline in oil prices is certainly a benefit to the consumers.  There should ultimately be an operating savings for heat treating facilities that are using natural gas.  The oil and gas companies that are involved in the drilling, fracking, pumping, and transportation of the products are still quite active in the region and across the country.  Capital investments in this area may see a slowdown as the impact of lower energy prices takes affect.  We have seen the drilling activities move up and down often over the years and companies have done a great job of adjusting for these times. I imagine that this is similar to what the automotive and steel industries must do in cyclical times.

Aerospace and Defense activity was more active in 2014 and expectations are for continued growth and expansion in this area.  Other industries such as hand tools, power tools,  medical devices, weapons, and sporting goods  continue to grow.  Not all of these industries are directly involved in heat treating, but many do out-source their requirements and they have brought jobs to the region.  I have compiled a general summary of the region activity broken down by furnace types (vacuum or atmosphere) and industries served.  The region is defined as Arizona to Mississippi across the South and includes Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.
INDUSTRY                                                        VACUUM             ATMOSPHERE    
Aerospace/Defense                                            8                                  2
Energy (Oil, Gas, Wind, Turbine)                        2                                  4
Automotive/Transportation/                               2                                  2
Various Industrials                                            2                                  4
Consumer Goods (hand tools,
Power tools, sporting goods)                              5                                 12
Commercial Heat Treat                                      8                                 15

The table above is a very broad  grouping of industries in this territory and the equipment count is an approximate figure based on what we have seen the past 12 months from new, rebuilt, and used equipment installed into the region. Sincerely, Marty Benegalia  January 5/2015                                                

SSI Press Release. "Super Systems, Inc. is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Sistemas Superiores Integrales S de RL de CV (SSi Mexico) has been granted ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. SSi Mexico's ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation covers the in-house laboratory calibration of Sensors, Analyzers, Controllers, Instrumentation and Recording Devices.  The scope includes on-site services for the measurement, recording and calibration of temperature and voltage signals.  SSi Mexico’s laboratory and field services will provide calibration certificates in accordance with the 17025 requirements for the scope defined in their certificate. With offices around the world, SSi supports thousands of global heat treating applications.  International offices include SSi Mexico in Queretaro; SSi Europe in Birmingham, England; and SSi China in Shanghai. SSi will officially be opening a location in India in the near future as well.

Super Systems Inc., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been developing and manufacturing products for the thermal processing industry since 1995. SSi’s products include probes, analyzers, controllers, software solutions and engineered systems. With over 100 years of combined experience, SSi continues to satisfy industry demands with innovative technology, enabling customers to be more efficient and to produce higher quality products. For more information on SSi’s capabilities, visit www.supersystems.com. For more information on SSi Mexico, visit www.supersystems.com.mx." January 5/2015

L&L Special Furnace Co. Press Release. "L&L Special Furnace Co., Inc. has manufactured a third high uniformity pit-style furnace used for annealing. This furnace has been supplied to an industry leader that manufactures aerospace fasteners and supplies to a worldwide client base. The annealing process occurs when the parts are evenly heated to 1,400°F / 760°C and held for a predetermined amount of time. Temperature uniformity is critical to this process, and both ambient and load temperature must maintain ±10°F throughout the cycle. The furnace is manufactured in accordance with the ASM2750E pyrometry specification. All thermocouple reference ports along with TUS survey ports and recording devices are included. There is a five horsepower, air cooled turbo convection fan included to aid in temperature uniformity. The system is controlled by Watlow controls and SCR power controls.

The fastener parts are placed in baskets and loaded by an overhead crane into the furnace. There are guide bars to ensure that the load is centered and can not damage the furnace liner. The program or recipie is entered into the program control, and the cycle is started. At the completion of the cycle, the parts are removed and are ready for inspection and shipment. This furnace is ideal for production facilities where the operators have sole control of their heat treating cycle. Options include a variety of control and recorder configurations. All units come with a three-day, all-inclusive startup service available within the continental US and Canada. International startup and training service is available by factory quote. The furnace has been surveyed and is capable of ±10°F at 1,750°F throughout the work envelope. If precise temperature control and uniformity is key to your process, then L&L’s PT series is a great choice. L&L also has many other sizes available." January 2/2015

Happy New Year. We wish our friends, customers and family a Happy New Year. This is the one time of the year to truly reflect on what happened in the past year and contemplate what the next year will bring. For all of us the upcoming year will provide some triumphs, some defeats and most likely a combination of both but at the end of the day it is all part of life and we intend to be optimistic about the future. We hope all of you have a wonderful year in 2015 filled with personal happiness, business success and most importantly good health. January 1/2015

Oil Pricing. While we certainly realize that Christmas is over the present under the tree for all heat treaters around the world was incredible to say the least and ranks as our top “game changer” in the heat treating industry for 2014-oil pricing. Just think what this present is giving us going into 2015; lower energy costs, more cash in consumers pockets to buy things with lots of heat treated parts-things like cars, tools, planes to keep up with increased travel demand, ATV’s, RV's, motorcycles the list is endless. Granted suppliers to the oil and gas industry might be not quite as pleased as the rest of us but at the end of the day Santa Claus has given us an amazing present. A present that almost guarantees that 2015 will be a good year for all heat treaters. Thank you Santa! December 31/2014

SECO WARWICK Press Releases. Michael Lister has been appointed Vacuum Products Team Leader for North America with SECO/WARWICK Corp. in Meadville, PA, USA.  In this role, Mr. Lister will direct the sales, design and production for SECO/WARWICK’s full line of vacuum heating furnaces. Prior to his current responsibilities, he has served in a variety of roles as Quality Manager, Senior Scientist and Sales Manager in both commercial heat treat and OEM facilities.  Michael earned his B.S. in Materials Engineering from Lehigh University.

Sam Stoner has been appointed Sales Application Engineer & Project Manager for the Thermal Group (atmosphere furnaces) for North America with SECO/WARWICK Corp. in Meadville, PA, USA.  In this role, Mr. Stoner will work with customers to assess product requirements, develop sales concepts and proposal, and manage the final project through commissioning.  He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Penn State Behrend, and is a member of ASM International. December 31/2014

People News. Pratap Ghorpade was with Hightemp Furnaces (one of India’s largest furnace builders) for over 20 years most recently as Director of Sales and Technology until he parted ways with the company in June of 2013. We lost track of him but as it turns out he recently became Country Manager-Sales & Technology for Pyromaitre, Inc of Canada. Pyromaitre has been around for some time and offers a very innovative tempering system which interestingly enough was offered by Hightemp Furnaces who was Pyromaitre’s partner in India. Peter Kerbel who was Midwest Region Sales Manager for Ipsen in Rockford, IL for almost 7 years has moved up the ladder and very recently became Manager Engineered Components Group at Ipsen. Can’t imagine that Ipsen needs an introduction but we might as well say that they are one of the largest furnace builders in the world. Ian Gregory was recently promoted to Aerospace Aviation Manager at Heat Treatment Australia, the largest commercial heat treater in the country. Ian originally came from Wallwork Heat Treatment in the UK before starting with Heat Treatment Australia some time ago. The Australian heat treat market is relatively small which poses the problem of where to find good qualified people? The result is that quite often they are recruited from other parts of the world such as the UK. Robert Peters who was with captive heat treater Stackpole for a number of years and subsequent to that ALD Thermal Treatment in Port Huron, MI (one of the 10 largest commercials in North America) is now CEO and President of R P Consulting of Fort Gratiot, MI. December 30/2014

Certified Heat Treating/West Carrolton, OH.  We have now run across several news reports about how commercial heat treater Certified Heat Treating is consolidating their two heat treating operations and investing a total of $2.1 million USD into the operation. Interestingly enough some news reports say an investment of $1 million, others use the $2.1 figure so pick which one you prefer. What you see below is a condensed version of one report that we ran across. To go with this report we are including a photo of the owner, Mr. Joe Biehn which was taken at the FNA show in Nashville this past October which shows Joe on the right.

"A West Carrollton-based business is consolidating its operation at its Springfield location, investing $2.1 million in the plant. City commissioners recently approved an employment incentive agreement with Certified Heat Treating Inc., 1807 W. Pleasant St., that adds two years to an original agreement with the company. The new incentive was extended for two additional years for a total of five years and calls for the company to add 10 jobs, said Springfield Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Director Tom Franzen. In exchange, the city will pay back to Certified Heat Treating 35 percent of its municipal income taxes annually. The deal will also retain 20 positions, bringing the total annual payroll to about $1.3 million, according to the incentive agreement obtained by the Springfield News-Sun. Heat treating is a metalworking process used to alter the physical properties of a material. The Springfield operation performed better than expected this year, President Joe Biehn said. It's also perfectly situated between Dayton and Columbus, he said. Local companies Carmichael Machine Corp. and Moyno are both local businesses that use the company's services. "If you would throw a dart in our service area, Springfield would be the bull's-eye," Biehn said. The consolidation is expected to take place this winter at Springfield's 35,000-square-foot facility. Certified Heat Treating might also expand the building and add more jobs in the future in Springfield, Biehn said. "We're excited," he said. Currently the business employs about 40 people between the two facilities, Biehn said, and they will all be offered jobs at the consolidated Springfield plant. The company discussed the possibility of moving its operation to Springfield last year. "We're glad to see that they're moving forward with that investment," Franzen said. Last year, the city reached an agreement with the company after it purchased a similar business, Heat Treating Inc., for approximately $2.1 million. Heat Treating Inc. was owned by Chet Walthall, who had been in business in Springfield for several decades and retired last year. Certified Heat Treating is owned by the Biehn Group of Companies, which also owns CB Manufacturing and American Cutting Edge, and has a total of 120 employees. CB Manufacturing is expected to take over space at the West Carrollton facility." December 29/2014

"Solar Manufacturing to Provide Large Horizontal Vacuum Furnace to California Affiliate Souderton, PA. 12/22/14 – In order to accommodate its ever increasing vacuum processing requirements, Solar Atmospheres facility located in Fontana, California recently placed an order with affiliate Solar Manufacturing to supply a large capacity horizontal vacuum heat treating and brazing furnace.  This Solar Manufacturing Model HFL-84144-2EQ has a work zone that measures 54” (1371 mm) high x 54” (1372 mm) wide x 144” (3658 mm) deep and is capable of processing a work load of 30,000 pounds at 2200oF. It is expected that this furnace will increase plant processing capacity by more than 25%.

This furnace is being designed to not only satisfy the normal daily processing requirements, but to also handle larger loads at higher processing temperatures. The furnace will have an operating temperature of up to 2650oF and will be capable of achieving high vacuum.  Temperature uniformity will be +/- 10oF (5oC) between 900oF (482oC) and 2200oF (1204oC).

The entire hot zone utilizes high efficiency Rayon graphite felt insulation and a hot face of CFC.   Six layers of felt will be on the ring and seven layers of felt on the front door and rear heads.  The insulation materials, graphite heating elements and other hardware will be supported by a 304 stainless steel ring and head frame structure. 

The curved heating elements will be thin, durable ISO 63 graphite and divided into multiple trim zones for optimum uniformity.  The heating elements will be segmented for ease of repair and replacement. The graphite gas nozzles will surround the workload for uniform cooling.  The nozzles will be machined with an internal taper which will produce a turbulent, high velocity gas stream.
The vacuum chamber is double walled for water cooling with the inner wall constructed of 304L stainless steel and the outer wall fabricated of A-36 carbon steel.  The front door utilizes a pneumatically operated locking ring to facilitate positive pressure quenching to 15 psig (2 bar).
Each of the dual rough vacuum pumping systems consists of a Stokes Model 412J, 300 CFM mechanical pump and a Stokes Model 615, 1300 CFM booster pump.  Deep vacuum will be achieved through two 35” Varian Model NHS-35, 50,000 LPS diffusion pumps to provide an operating vacuum pressure down in the 10-5 Torr range.

The Gas quenching will be achieved by dual external cooling systems each consisting of a 300 HP quench motor, an optimally sized gas fan and all-copper water cooled, fin-and-tube heat exchanger.
The advanced HMI/SCADA interactive control system will be a SolarVac® 5000 for complete automated processing, controlling, monitoring and recording of all furnace functions.

To learn more about Solar Manufacturing’s diverse product line and services, contact Pete Reh, Vice President of Sales, at 267-384-5040 or pkr@solarmfg.com, and visit us at www.solarmfg.com." December 29/2014

Ipsen Press Release. "CHERRY VALLEY, IL As the holidays approach, now is your chance to win big with valuable heat-treating information and an iPad 4! Subscribe to The Ipsen, Harold to receive relevant industry information, updates and other resources delivered straight to your inbox. All new subscribers will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad. Existing subscribers will be automatically entered. The contest ends on January 31, 2015, and the winner will be announced on the blog in February. Subscribe now for your chance to win at http://bit.ly/iPadSweepstakes.

Over the past five months, Ipsen has posted weekly content to their new blog – from informative videos, expert tips and throwback photos to A Daily Checklist for Preventive Maintenance and their ongoing series, Finding Leaks in Your Vacuum Furnaces. Focused on sharing tips of the trade, as well as breaking down technical and complex material, this blog provides readers with valuable, up-to-date thermal processing information. Regardless of the parts or processes you run, Ipsen is committed to providing the most pertinent materials and resources. Whether you like your information in short, easy-to-understand blurbs or in-depth technical papers, Ipsen has the answers you need in the format you prefer. Make sure to check out Ipsen’s posts and how-to videos on The Ipsen, Harold, www.IpsenHarold.com, as well as their various articles and technical resources at www.IpsenUSA.com/Articles. Don’t hesitate; visit today and see how Ipsen can help you." December 19/2014

Wallwork Press Release. "Wallwork Consolidates Position as Official UK CemeCon Coating Provider. Having operated an exclusive licence agreement with the German pure diamond coating specialist CemeCon for over 12 months, Wallwork Cambridge report growing business from UK manufacturers. The licence agreement and an investment of over £1.2 million at their Cambridge site enables Wallwork to replicate key CemeCon processes for the coating of rotational tooling. For other coatings the company has direct express channels to CemeCon in Aachen for turnaround in 48-72 hours.

Ian Haggan, Wallwork business development manager, explained, “In aerospace, motorsport, nuclear and other areas of engineering coating performance, technical service and rapid turnaround in processing components are key factors. The addition of genuine CemeCon coatings alongside our own products means we have a more comprehensive portfolio and can solve many more metal problems for our customers. Over the last 12 months we have also made major improvements to logistics so that we can deliver a rapid and reliable turnaround on processed components.” To fully replicate the CemeCon process, Wallwork has installed an automatic wet process system for component preparation prior to coating. This is integrated with the high capacity CemeCon 800/9XL magnetron sputtering coating system for round shank tooling and carbide inserts coating. The process produces a super smooth micro thin film, free from droplets and pinholes. This finish can be further enhanced by post-coat wet processing if required.

Patent CemeCon coatings available include TinALOX SN2, Hyperlox, ALOX SN2, CCAluspeed and HSN2. In addition, the company provides the complete line of CemeCon CarbonSpeed, FiberSpeed and MultiSpeed pure diamond coatings. With a dedicated in-house fleet of over 35 vehicles, covering every part of the UK, Wallwork offer a 48 to 72 hour turnaround service for UK tool manufacturers, tooling contractors and end users.  The Cambridge factory works with aerospace majors, engineering component suppliers and universities. The facility is NadCap approved, operates under AS9001 quality assurance systems and has multiple company approvals. Processes are backed by on-site professionally staffed metallurgical laboratories, equal to those of leading universities, to provide coating characterisation, compliance verification and documentation. Ian Haggan concluded, “We have an even stronger relationship with CemeCon who recognise that as an independent coating specialist, with no links to tool producers, we bring both expertise and a quality of service that is not commercially compromised. We have streamlined our systems to process components and handle shipments more quickly offering clients a reliable rapid turnaround service.” December 19/2014

Solar Atmospheres Press Release. "Hermitage, PA. December 15, 2014 - Solar Atmospheres of Western PA (SAWPA) announced today that it has attained an approved supplier status for Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.  SAWPA has received approval for the heat treatment of steel and titanium alloy components used in the production of Bell Helicopters. Bob Hill, president of Solar Atmospheres of Western PA states, “Solar Atmospheres of Western PA is extremely honored to provide precise, thermally vacuum processed parts for the world’s premier provider of vertical lift aircraft – Bell Helicopter.  This rotary-wing approval compliments the multiple fixed-wing approvals that currently exist.” For more information about Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, please contact Mike Johnson at (866) 982-0660 ext. 2223, or mike@solarwpa.com, and visit us at www.solaratm.com." December 18/2014

Solar’s alloy grid supplier, Steeltech Ltd, flew their Bell Jet Ranger in from Michigan to Western Pennsylvania for this specific photo opportunity. Note- in the foreground is the largest vacuum furnace that is commercially available in the world.

Donusum Isil Islem/Turkey. As the year winds down we happened to be going through some heat treating photos we have taken over the years and we came across these two which were taken earlier this year in Turkey. This was such an unusal heat treat setting that we felt it worthwhile to include them again as a couple of our favorites of the year.

"Donusum Isil Islem/Istanbul, Turkey. This captive/commercial heat treater has the record as far as I know for the highest heat treat in the world. The parent company offers various types of steels and as a service for their customers Donusum provides hardening, vacuum hardening and very shortly gas nitriding all on the fourth floor of their warehouse and office building near Istanbul. There is a bit of a press release in this news item as the company is just completing construction of their first gas nitrider which will be equipped with a new SSI Nitriding control system with the entire system coming on line in just a few months. As a matter of fact in the one photo you can see a picture of Matt Cross, head of SSI Europe climbing a ladder to see into the furnace. Other photos also show a very impressive and fairly new Schmetz 10 bar vacuum furnace, the outside of the building with the heat treat on the top floor and another hardening system already in place. April 14/2014." December 18/2014

Gord Montgomery/The Monty Interview. Heat treating is a family industry as many of you may know. Recently I, Jordan Montgomery, just started working with my dad and he was a little reluctant to do an interview with me but after a little prodding I managed to talk him into it. Here are the questions I came up with and I hope you enjoy the interview. December 17/2014

1. What was your first job within the industry?

"My father William started a small rep business in Canada in 1969 concentrating on power transmission products and castings. Shortly after he started the business he was approached by Alloy Engineering and Casting of Berea, Ohio about selling their products to the heat treating industry. Gradually over the years the power transmission business shrunk and the heat treating business grew until roughly 10 years later he was selling only heat treat related products. Back in 1979 when I was 21 he talked me into working for him as a salesman, which I reluctantly agreed to on a temporary basis-I am now 57 and my father Bill is a very healthy 80 and long since retired. So my first job in the industry was as a manufacturers rep which of course is what I still am."

2) So where did “The Monty” come from?

"I well remember doing an interview with Michael Korwin, founder of Nitrex a few years back and one of the questions I asked him was why he started Nitrex. His answer would was the same as mine-to feed my family. While the rep business has always provided the Montgomery’s with a respectable income it was obvious to me that with Canada and Upstate NY being small territories for Heat Treating and getting smaller that I would be able to feed my family, keep a roof over the heads and have some luxuries but not much more. “The Monty” was my idea to supplement my income by selling used equipment, the idea of advertising as an example never crossed my mind."

3) What do you find to be the most enjoyable part of your career?

"Bill St. Thomas, a well known individual in the industry hit the nail on the head just the other day when he said he loves seeing how things are made. Since heat treating is part of the manufacturing process I have been lucky enough to see how cars are made, guns, jet engines and on and on-I never get tired of that. But the best part is travelling to interesting places and meeting fellow heat treaters around the world-I never cease to be amazed how I can be in a country on the other side of the world and within minutes of meeting a heat treater we realize we have ten or twenty mutual friends." Continue Reading

Heat Treating Services Unlimited, Inc (HTSU):  "This past weekend HTSU held their annual Training, Year End Meeting and Christmas party with employees from all five offices.  During the Training on Friday, Neil Revis was given a service award for 15 Years with the company.  He was awarded a Plaque then taken outside to be presented with a Harley Davidson V-Rod motorcycle as a personal gift from HTSU owners Kyle and Ronda Favors. Congratulations to Mr. Neil Revis for 15 Years of Service with HTSU!" December 17/2014

VAC AERO Press Release. "Burlington, Ontario, December 15, 2015 - VAC AERO has sold a VAH4848 HV-6 high-pressure quench vacuum furnace to a manufacturer and integrator of high performance aerospace systems and components. The furnace is designed to have rapid heating rates while maintaining tight uniformity at high vacuum levels and is equipped with a gas quench system capable of quench pressures up to six bar. The furnace features a 36” wide x 30” high x 48” long carbon hot zone with a heavy duty hearth designed to support a uniformly distributed load of 2500 lbs. VAC AERO’s decades of experience operating aerospace heat treating facilities allows them to offer customers training, technology transfer as well as hands-on instruction and collaboration. About VAC AERO International Inc.; Founded in 1959, VAC AERO International provides vacuum heat treating and thermal & paint coating services as well as vacuum furnace systems and controls to aerospace and high-tech industries worldwide. VAC AERO operates 6 production facilities near Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec, Canada as well as in 2 production facilities in Poland. More information can also be found at: www.vacaero.com" December 16/2014

Bodycote/Istaş, Turkey Press Release. "Representatives of AFC-Holcroft were honored to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a new Bodycote facility October 20th, 2014 at Bodycote Istaş near Istanbul in Gebze, Turkey.  The event was attended by plant personnel, global representatives of Bodycote, invited guests,  members of the press and various dignitaries including the Mayor of the city of Gebze.  A plant tour and reception completed the festivities.   AFC-Holcroft has many installations at Bodycote facilities worldwide, and recently delivered a complete UBQ integral quench batch furnace line to the Gebze plan"              

Photo Above from from left to right: Bilgi Çengelli – R&D / Training Manager, Ron Waligora – Manager of Mechanical Engineering, AFC-Holcroft, Marc Ruetsch – Managing Director of European Operations, AFC-Holcroft Europe, Volkan Kara – Plant Manager Gebze, Mustafa Mermerci – Sales Manager İzmir, Ali Demir – Sales Manager Gebze

Photo above from from left to right: Fahrettin Goncal – Shareholder Bodycote Istaş, Aydın Telseren – Shareholder Bodycote Istaş, Barış Telseren – VP AGI Eastern Europe (South), Ali Toltar - Mayor of Gebze, Paul Clough – President AGI UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, Erol Kınalıkuzu – Founder of Istaş, Tamer Taşkın – Founder of Istaş, Ahmet Demirok – Shareholder Bodycote Istaş.   December 16/2014

Premier Furnace Specialists/Pusher Furnace Order. As part of our Monday Morning Briefing yesterday we included how Premier Furnace of Michigan had landed an order for a pusher line from a company in Texas. No customer name was mentioned which prompted a flurry of questions from other furnace builders asking if we had any idea who the end customer was? No we don’t know who the end customer is but what we did learn that this is for use in a non heat treat application and that this particular line does not include a quench. We are certainly taking nothing away from Premier, this is a very respectable order however (at least with us) if it doesn't have to do with heat treating our attention span gets very short. December 16/2014

Monday Morning Briefing. For a change lets start off in India where we see that one of the largest furnace builders in the country Hightemp-Dowa has capped off a very good year with a large order. The order is for a continuous gas carburizing line integrated with a wash, temper and supporting automation. The order comes from an auto parts maker in the city of Pondicherry near Chennai which is the auto capital of India. The managing director of Hightemp Dowa, Mr. Gopal Mahadevan has this to say; "As usual we were competing with the best in the business from all of the top furnace companies in India. At the end of the day I guess the customer found true value in Hightemp – Dowa’s, technical and commercial offering. Business for our furnace division has grown considerably this year necessitating that we set up one more new furnace facility to meet customer demand." Now this is rather interesting. Basically one of the best known equipment salesman in the industry is making a change; "Bill St. Thomas Joins Aichelin Heat Treatment Systems. Aichelin Heat Treatment Systems, Inc. is pleased to announce that Bill St. Thomas has joined our staff as Business Development Manager. Bill is a longtime ASM and HTS member and has published several articles and presented many technical papers on a variety of heat treating applications. He brings nearly 40 years of heat treating expertise and knowledge to our team and will be covering the North America market from our office in Plymouth, MI. Aichelin is a world leader in thermal processing equipment with our headquarters located in Austria and several manufacturing plants around the world. You can visit the Aichelin USA website at www.aichelinusa.com or contact Bill at b.stthomas@aichelinusa.com. About AICHELIN Heat Treatment Systems Inc.: Established in 1868, AICHELIN is an international leading supplier of heat treatment plants with manufacturing facilities all over the world. AICHELIN has been producing heat treatment systems in the USA since 1989. We offer the full range of AICHELIN products as well as service and customized solutions for heat treatment and cleaning. For more information, call 734-459-9850 or visit www.aichelinusa.com "

Premier Furnace Specialists of Michigan has landed an order from a Texas company for a fully automatic two row pusher furnace. Darned if we can figure out who the end customer is and even local heat treaters are puzzled as to who purchased this. While there are a few pushers in Texas they aren't nearly as common as the Northern US states which feature a lot of automotive heat treating which is generally who uses pusher lines. Precision Solutions of Richmond, Utah recently received a couple of dual chamber furnaces from Lucifer Furnaces. Rick Bailey who was with Metal Improvement Company (now Bodycote) in Kansas recently joined National Heat Treat in Houston, Texas as Chief Metallurgist.

In the "trends" department we saw a Nitrogen/Methanol system at a captive heat treater recently and it looked rather "antiquated". 20 years ago these systems owned a significant part of the heat treating industry in North America but with advances in Endothermic Generator technology, rising methanol prices and dropping natural gas pricing I am amazed that any company with a natural gas supply would continue to use Nitrogen/Methanol. Buy a new generator and the payback in any area of North America that we have seen is less than a year-a no brainer. The auto industry in North America is booming these days and with gas pricing dropping like a rock a lot of people are betting that it will continue. Certainly Ford Motor has been making some large investments and this includes a multi million dollar investment in more heat treating equipment for their Livonia, MI transmission plant. It's interesting that while Ford and Chrysler continue to do a lot of heat treating in house GM now does very little having closed down most of their large captive heat treating departments in 2009. ESCO Corp., a manufacturer of heavy parts for the oil and gas and mining sectors added a few furnaces this year which came from Nutec Bickely. There were a total of 4 supplied to their Newton Mississippi plant each with working dimensions of 8' X 8.5' X 9.5' high and an operating temperature of 2100F. Esco by the way has a commercial heat treat location in Oriskany, NY by the name of Steel Treaters. Anyway want to have a look at the furnaces? December 15/2014

Christmas Card? It's not often that we see a Christmas card dedicated solely to heat treating. It's kind of light weight but still good for a laugh. December 15/2014

ALD France? One of the best known names in the worldwide heat treating industry is ALD Germany and ALD-Holcroft in the US however ALD France was a new one on us. Here is the story; ALD France was incorporated in 2014 as a “daughter” company of ALD Germany and is a merger of FNAG (Furnaces Nuclear Applications Grenoble) and long standing furnace builder TIV of Grenoble, France. FNAG provides heat treating furnaces to the nuclear industry and TIV is a supplier of vacuum tempering, gas nitriding, vacuum brazing and active screen plasma nitriding furnaces. Combined the new company will have sales of roughly $30 million USD. The President of ALD France is experienced ALD employee Karl-Heinz Grosse who is shown in the one photo below. FNAG and TIV will be moving into one building just outside of Grenoble January 2015 and the new location is shown in the photos below. In related news ALD France is entering the Gas Nitriding business and within the next few weeks will be shipping two brand new units to the ALD Thermal Treatment facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. Each furnace has working dimensions of 1.8 X 1.2 X 1.2 meters (roughly 48” X 48” X 72”) and will be equipped with UPC controls. December 12/2014

Largest Vacuum Carburizing Installations North America. Yesterday we had a list of the largest vacuum carburizing installations in North America and as always with our “top 10” lists we went to great lengths to stress that while these lists are pretty accurate we don’t claim that they are 100%. As it turns out while several people did feel that the list was very accurate two individuals pointed out that we had missed one of the largest VC installations in North America, ZF Industries in Gray Court, SC. If you refer to yesterdays list you will see that it has been corrected. December 11/2014

CAN-ENG Press Release. "CAN-ENG Furnaces International Limited has commissioned a 1500 lb/hr Continuous Mesh Belt Atmosphere Hardening Furnace System for a Large North American Fastener Manufacturer.  The system is designed to provide atmosphere hardening and tempering of high volume fasteners and includes a computerized loading system, mesh belt controlled atmosphere hardening furnace, oil quench system, pre and post wash systems, and enhanced part tracking.  CAN-ENG included its ERS™ technology to reduce the overall energy requirements, while maintaining the systems output capacity and product quality. Our state-of-the-art combustion system integrates new self-recuperative burner technology which provides significant benefits in heating efficiency over conventional recuperative burner technology.  To complement the self-recuperative burner technology, this system is fitted with a modern radiant tube heating system which provides improved system efficiencies and reduced emissions.  Along with this enhancement, CAN-ENG’s atmosphere reduction technologies were included as a secondary means of reducing energy consumption. The system has been integrated with CAN-ENG’s computerized part tracking, recipe control and data archiving system, for process control.  

CAN-ENG’s Continuous Mesh Belt Atmosphere Heat Treatment Systems are recognized worldwide and meet or exceed stringent quality code requirements. This Continuous Mesh Belt Atmosphere Furnace System is fully compliant to meet the requirements of AIAG CQI-9 Heat Treatment System guidelines. Commissioning was completed in Q3, 2014. For further information please contact Tim Donofrio – Vice President, Standard and Aluminum Products at tdonofrio@can-eng.com. CAN-ENG Furnaces International Limited is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company with its head office and manufacturing facility located in Niagara Falls, ON, Canada.

Established in 1964, CAN-ENG Furnaces International Limited has grown to become a leading designer and manufacturer of thermal processing equipment for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.  Whether manufacturing a simple, manually controlled furnace or a turnkey automated system, CAN-ENG focuses on the development of high volume continuous industrial furnaces for challenging applications.  For CAN-ENG Furnaces International Limited is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company with its head office and manufacturing facility located in Niagara Falls, ON, Canada." December 11/2014

Largest Vacuum Carburizing Companies in North America. While vacuum carburizing has made enormous strides over the past few years it still remains a relatively small part of the overall heat treating market in North America with one notable exception-automotive transmission components where it has come on like gangbusters over the past 10-15 years. Before we get into our list of the largest users of vacuum carburizing systems in North America we are going to share these thoughts. First there are a number of suppliers of vacuum carburizing systems including SECO/WARWICK, Surface Combustion, CI Hayes (the pioneer of vacuum carburizing now part of the Gasbarre Group), Ipsen, Solar Manufacturing, ECM and ALD. However this list is clearly dominated by ALD of Germany and ECM of France. Second we should point out that for a number of reasons vacuum carburizing certainly is more of an “in house” thing as opposed to an outsourced process although there are some exceptions to this. Third as always we will cover ourselves by saying that while we consider this list to be fairly accurate we won’t for a second say that it is 100% correct. And fourth while most of the companies on this list are involved in the auto industry once you get past number ten you start to see installations in the Aerospace, Bearing and Heavy Equipment industries. December 10/2014

#1) Ford Sharonville, Ohio, Transmission Plant. When you turn out 180,000 gears per day you need a lot of heat treating capacity which in this case means almost 60 vacuum carburizing cells.
#2) Jatco, Mexico. This might be a surprise to a lot of people but Japanese “transplant” Jatco in Mexico has almost as many vacuum carburizing cells as Ford Sharonville. Again transmission components.
#3) ALD Thermal Treatment, Port Huron, Michigan/Saltilo, Mexico. With over 50 cells in operation in the US and Mexico ALD TT is the largest commercial vacuum carburizer out there.
#4) Linamar Gear, Mexico. Another transmission components supplier which makes our list.
#5) Chrysler, Kokomo, Indiana. Surprise, surprise another supplier of transmission components. Incidentally this facility is one of the largest captive heat treats in North America.
#6) ZF Industries, Gray Court, SC. ZF has one of the newest vacuum carburizing installations of any company on this list.
#7) GKN Driveline, Merritt, NC (formerly Getrag). Transmission components.
#8) Axle Alliance, Detroit, Michigan. These ECM units go back quite some time now.
#9) Bodycote, Frazier, Michigan/Empalme, Mexico. Now wouldn’t you have been surprised if Bodycote didn’t make this list? And guess what they run in their VC systems? Transmission components for GM.
#10) Midwest Thermal-Vac, Kenosha, Wisconsin. Midwest is a commercial heat treater that was actually partly started by ECM many years ago. It has long since ceased to be part of ECM but remains a large VC house.

SECO/WARWICK/Seat Group. "SECO/WARWICK is in the process of completing the modernization of the first of two pusher furnace lines for automotive components. This staged project began in March 2014, with the work being performed at SEAT Components in El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain. The first modernized line is finishing the final testing phase of the project. The repair of the second system will start in November and is scheduled for completion in March of next year.  Due to the positive results from the first system, SEAT Components has placed an order for modernization and refurbishment of next two heat processing lines to improve total system efficiency. The technical rebuild will cover the replacement of furnace lining, burner system and fan assemblies of both the heat treat and tempering furnaces. Included in the modernization project is the addition of a washing machine and material handling system. The SEAT Components plant decided to replace the existing control cabinet with new, updated control system.

About the SEAT Group; SEAT is the only company in its sector with the full-range capacity to design, develop, manufacture and market cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in more than 75 countries. In 2013 SEAT achieved a business volume of 6,473 million euros, the highest figure in its history, with worldwide sales of 355,000 units. December 10/2014

Southwest Metal Treating Corp./Fort Worth Texas. Southwest Metal Treating of Fort Worth, Texas (not to be confused with Southwest Heat Treat in Houston, a Bluewater company) has been on a bit of a roll recently adding more capacity, modernizing and generally staying pretty darn busy. This commercial heat treat owned by Mr. Ryan Fussell makes for our top news item for today on the basis of their latest addition. The company just brought on line a brand new AFC-Holcroft gas fired batch IQ line with working dimensions of 36" X 48" X 36". The line will compliment existing batch IQ and continuous furnace capacity. We went through our photo section for pictures of Southwest and we came up with the one below which we always get a kick out of. It was actually taken at Aberfoyle Metal Treating in Canada and shows the President of Aberfoyle, Mr. Harry Hall on the left and Mr. Ryan Fussell of Southwest on the right. We get a kick out of the photo because of the sheer size of the furnaces at Aberfoyle, some of the largest in North America. December 9/2014

Vacuum Carburizing. Regular readers will know we love our top 10 lists-largest furnace builders in the world, largest commercial heat treaters, largest captives and most influential people to name a few. One thing we have never done though is a list of the largest vacuum carburizing heat treaters in North America and we think it is about time. Consequently later this week we will present you with our list of the companies in North America with the most number of vacuum carburizing cells. It will be no surprise that most are captive heat treaters as opposed to commercials but a couple of the names on the list especially the number two position might surprise some people. December 9/2014

Monday Morning Briefing. We are going to start off today in Monterrey, Mexico where we see that a commercial heat treat has been sold. Processos Termicos was a pretty good sized operation at one time with batch IQ, continuous and vacuum heat treating furnaces. It was sold recently to a company by the name of Noranco http://noranco.com/ who provides components to the aerospace industry. Interestingly enough they did not buy it as a heat treating operation although they are keeping some of the equipment. The rest of the equipment has been largely sold and dispersed around North America. It’s been quite some time since we last saw this plant but the photos below show it as it appeared a number of years ago.

From Mexico we are going to bounce over to the UK to have a look at a commercial heat treater by the name of Tamworth Heat Treatment in Staffordshire who has this to say about a new vacuum furnace the company has. "Tamworth Heat Treatment have installed a new high vacuum, high temperature vacuum furnace at their site in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The investment of some £350K is part of the continuous improvement activities at the company and demonstrates their commitment to keep pace with the changing demands of industry. The new equipment  compliments the existing eight vacuum furnaces and  with the high vacuum capability, along with the availability of Nitrogen and Argon  as process gases , it provides a facility for the treatment of stainless steels, super alloys and Titanium along with the potential to develop high temperature brazing. Using  PC supervisory  and SCADA based control systems ensures a high degree of temperature uniformity is achieved and satisfies the AMS 2750 Specification requirements  for thermal processing equipment. The equipment was made in the Midlands by Vacuum Furnace Engineering and shows the commitment of Tamworth Heat Treatment to midlands engineering and the provision of a modern up to date processing facility for our customers throughout the UK and Ireland." Nice looking installation.

From Mexico and the UK we move on to the US starting off with a commercial heat treater in PA by the name of Bennett Heat Treating & Brazing. Quite the history for this company-it was formed in 1923 and purchased by in 1956 by Anthony J. Quaglia (the Quaglia family still own the company by the way). A full service heat treater the company has just added a Nitrex completely automated and digitally controlled gas nitriding furnace. Interesting that in the past week we have run across two brand new Nitrex installations the other being Vacu-Braze also in PA. This reinforces our oft stated view that nitriding is one of the fastest growing heat treat technologies out there. In captive heat treating in the US we have this story from Wyman-Gordon. While we have a sneaking suspicion that the furnaces were provided by O’Brien & Gere of NY we wouldn’t bet on it. Again at the risk of repeating ourselves (which we are want to do) the growth in manufacturing and consequently heat treating in the Carolinas is quite remarkable. "DILLON, S.C. -- Wyman-Gordon Co. – a manufacturer of large titanium and super alloy forgings for the aerospace and power generation markets – will celebrate their announcement of the creation of more than 400 jobs with a ground breaking at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at its Dillon County facility located at 152 Caldwell Drive, Dillon. Wyman-Gordon’s new facility will house multiple, post-forging operations ranging from heat treating to machining, delivering a more streamlined process with an improved level of service for customers. The Dillon facility will be sited on 60 acres located at 152 Caldwell Drive. The proximity to Wyman-Gordon’s customer base and South Carolina’s growing aerospace industry were key factors in the selection process, according to the company. Originally founded in 1883, Wyman-Gordon was acquired by Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) in 1999, and operates facilities in five different countries, including the Czech Republic, England, Mexico, Scotland and the United States."

Ever hear of Capps Manufacturing out in Wichita, Kansas? Neither had we but this supplier of aerospace components claims to have one of the largest aluminum heat treating furnaces in the US Midwest. News to us but a useful piece of information to file away in case they ever produce a heat treating edition of Trivial Pursuit (don’t hold your breath-wouldn’t be a big seller). Probably 4 times a week we come across a story about the stock price of international heat treater Bodycote. This is the latest (note that the market cap of of company is the 1.171 Billion British Pounds which is probably the value of the next 3 or 4 commercial heat treaters combined). "Panmure Gordon reissued their buy rating on shares of Bodycote PLC (LON:BOY) in a research report released on Tuesday morning. Panmure Gordon currently has a GBX 700 ($10.92) price objective on the stock. Shares of Bodycote PLC (LON:BOY) opened at 615.50 on Tuesday. Bodycote PLC has a 52 week low of GBX 542.50 and a 52 week high of GBX 832.00. The stock’s 50-day moving average is GBX 610.6 and its 200-day moving average is GBX 671.7. The company’s market cap is £1.171 billion."

In people news we see that very experienced heat treater Tony Quintanilla is looking for a new challenge. Tony was Plant Manager for Nitrex Inc. in Franklin, Indiana. To be closer to grandchildren and probably for the weather he recently moved to San Jose, CA. He would like a new challenge within the industry and if you would like to get in touch with him just drop us a line. Stan Meeks who was most recently with commercial heat treater Byron Products in Fairfield, Ohio is now back with commercial heat treater HTG. Never met Stan but he seems like a nice guy. Powdered metal company and in house heat treater Atlas Pressed Metals in DuBois, PA has added a couple of new people. Chris Sconzo has recently joined the Atlas Pressed Metals team as Plant Manager. Sconzo brings more than 25 years of manufacturing, engineering and leadership experience, including plant management, product marketing and senior level management. He most recently served as plant manager at OSRAM Sylvania for the Pennsylvania region sites, including the plant in St. Marys. Also Diane Laubacker, who recently moved back to her hometown of DuBois, also returned to her previous employer as the latest addition to the Atlas Pressed Metals quality department. We would like to bring to your attention our newest advertiser, Italian company FCS who is a provider of catalysts for industrial furnaces. Our European friends tells us that they do a top notch job at what they do.

And to round things out we have this press release from another of our advertisors, Ajax Tocco. "Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic Corporation supplied three (3) Temper Ovens to a major automotive parts manufacturer in Mexico for the tempering of CV joints.  Each oven is designed for a maximum operating temperature of 250°C with uniformity of +/-  5°C.  The continuous belt,  variable speed conveyor, carries  more than 240 parts per hour through the oven and cooler system, which are robot loaded and manually unloaded. Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic®, a subsidiary of Park-Ohio Holdings Corporation®, designs and manufactures world class induction heating and melting equipment for various industries and applications throughout the world.  In addition we provide a range of services including laboratory process development, preventative maintenance, equipment repair and parts, coil repair facilities, and installation services." December 8/2014

Vacu-Braze/Perkasie, PA. Yesterday we briefly mentioned commercial heat treater Vacu-Braze however the changes the company is making certainly deserves some more details. Founded in the early 1980’s the company currently occupies a 6,000 square foot building with roughly 15 employees which concentrates on vacuum heat treating and vacuum brazing of small lots with a fast turn around time http://www.vacu-braze.com/index.html What we saw in this location were a number of reasonably new vacuum furnaces including an Ipsen “Titan” and a Solar Manufacturing 2 bar unit with working dimensions of 30” X 48” X 30”. Now for the fun part. The company now has another location in Quakertown, PA with 40,000 square feet under roof. While currently there is little in the new building it will shortly house 2 very nice ALD vacuum carburizing furnaces, a new Nitrex gas nitriding system, Induction heat treating, Flame hardening and solution nitriding which makes for a remarkable leap for the company. Our visit was part of a Technical Exchange program with the management of Vacu-Braze hosting individuals from one of the fastest growing commercial heat treats in Texas-National Heat Treat of Houston Texas. The top photo below shows from the left; Gord Montgomery, Eddie (Maintenance Manager, National HT), Robert Gutierrez (Owner National HT), George Baxter (Vacu-Braze), Ralph Puerta (Owner Vacu-Braze), Ed Boll “Superboll”. The second photo shows part of the Vacu-Braze team and the last picture shows the new Solar vacuum furnace. December 5/2014

Ipsen Press Release. "CHERRY VALLEY, IL – With the Aerospace sector’s demand for a variety of quality parts, companies continue to rely on Ipsen for high-performance heat treatment equipment that is capable of meeting their specific needs and specifications. Regardless of the process being run or the type of parts being treated, Ipsen’s versatile product lines have the capabilities to meet customers’ wide range of requirements. Recently, three separate companies purchased different Ipsen furnace models, all of which will be used to fulfill the diverse needs of the Aerospace industry. Ipsen shipped two of the heat-treating vacuum furnaces to Texas; the third furnace was shipped to the United Arab Emirates. While all of these furnaces will be used to process parts for the Aerospace industry, they all varied in size and model, as well as the type of parts they will produce:

  • The Horizontal TurboTreater® with 6-bar partial pressure will be used to process fasteners. This specific furnace features 36” x 36” x 48” (914 mm x 914 mm x 1,219 mm) all-metal hot zone with a 3,000-pound (1,361 kg) load capacity. It operates at temperatures of 1,000 °F to 2,400 °F (538 °C to 1,316 °C) with ±5 °F (±3 °C) temperature uniformity.
  • The Horizontal MetalMaster® with 2-bar partial pressure will be used to process engine parts. This specific furnace features 24” x 24” x 40” (610 mm x 610 mm x 1,016 mm) all-metal hot zone with a 1,500-pound (680 kg) load capacity. It operates at temperatures of 1,000 °F to 2,200 °F (538 °C to 1,204 °C) with ±10 °F (±5 °C) temperature uniformity.
  • The TITAN® H4 with 2-bar absolute pressure will be used to process parts for gas turbines. This specific furnace features 24” x 28” x 48” (610 mm x 710mm x 1,220mm) all-metal hot zone with a 2,000-pound (900 kg) load capacity.

Ipsen continuously supports the needs of our customers by providing reliable, quality products that can perform a variety of processes while still meeting the high standards set forth by Aerospace manufacturers. Ipsen is committed to providing heat-treating equipment that can handle each individual customer’s processes and is capable of meeting Nadcap and AMS 2750E requirements. Learn more about the products Ipsen has to offer at www.IpsenUSA.com/Products. In an effort to help simplify compliance with the Aerospace industry’s specifications, Ipsen also provides expert-created resources that cover a variety of topics, including furnace classification, AMS 2750E, Nadcap and more. These and other resources can be accessed at www.IpsenUSA.com/Articles." December 5/2014

Vacu-Braze/Perkasie, PA. Don't you love seeing heat treaters doing well and expanding? We certainly do. Vacu-Braze is a medium sized commercial heat treat which concentrates on vacuum heat treating. We had the pleasure of spending some time with the owner Ralph Puerta just yesterday and we have a tale to tell you which involves adding a second location of 40,000 square feet and a pile of new equipment and processes. Tomorrow we will give you the details along with some photos. December 4/2014

L&L Special Furnace Co. Press Release. "L&L Special Furnace Co., Inc. has manufactured a high uniformity box furnace used for hydrogen annealing. The furnace has been supplied to an industry leader that manufactures aerospace, medical and research and development supplies to a worldwide client base.

Steel hydrogen annealing is a treatment of steel where it is heated to and held at a specific temperature, followed by a controlled cooling process. It is a heat treatment process to remove oxygen, carbon, sulphur and other impurities. The process also prevents hydrogen embrittlement.

Steel hydrogen annealing softens metals and simultaneously changes the properties of the metal, improving:

• Machinability
• Facilitation of cold-work
• Mechanical and electrical properties
• Stability of dimensions

The primary purpose of the furnace is to evenly heat to an internal stabilized temperature of 1,750°F. The furnace is held at this temperature for a predetermined amount of time and then cooled using an external venturi cooling system. The furnace is first loaded with product in a work envelope of 17” wide by 17” high by 25” deep. It is then purged with 10 volume changes of nitrogen or until the oxygen level is below 1%. After that, the furnace is capable of introducing hydrogen up to 100%. The dew point of the hydrogen entering the furnace is -40°F or better due to the use of all stainless steel lines. The furnace control system is driven by a Honeywell HC900 control system with touchscreen. This computer-based control system includes a CPU and operator interface with Ethernet capabilities. Modular construction makes the HC900 expandable, with many input and output options. HC900 software monitors and logs all of the thermal data from a remote computer. The furnace is divided into six zones, each with independent PID loops. The thermocouples are type K and allow for consistent operation at 1,750°F. Options include mass flowmeters, dewpoint analyzers, ammeters and voltmeters. All units come with a three-day all-inclusive startup service within the continental US and Canada. International startup and training service is available by factory quote. The furnace has been surveyed and is capable of ±10°F at 1,750°F throughout the work envelope. If precise temperature control and uniformity is a key to your process, then L&L’s XLC series is a great choice. L&L also has many other sizes available." December 4/2014

AFC-Holcroft Press Release. "STAMPING MANUFACTURER ORDERS AFC-HOLCROFT AUSTEMPER SYSTEM (December, 2014) A large stamping manufacturer has ordered a mesh belt austempering furnace system from AFC-Holcroft. This is the 5th AFC-Holcroft austemper furnace line at the facility. The system will be used for the austempering of metal stampings, and consists of a mesh belt austempering furnace with integral salt quench tank, a conveyorized wash/rinse tank, and an endothermic gas generator to serve the line. In addition, the line will include AFC-Holcroft’s BeltMaster™ System for monitoring and controlling the furnace line. The hardening furnace will be reinforced with a free standing structural steel support frame so that an excavated pit is not required for the salt quench tank. The salt quench tank will include a secondary containment tank. Delivery of the line will be second quarter of 2015.

About AFC-Holcroft: AFC-Holcroft is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heat treating furnaces. The legacy companies that comprise AFC-Holcroft have a combined 225+ years of thermal processing experience. The company manufactures turn-key heat treating systems for applications including commercial heat treating, bearings, automotive, aerospace, mining, military, aluminum heat treatment, gear manufacturing, fastener manufacturing, and alternative energy industries. AFC-Holcroft, headquartered in the United States, has a global reach with direct sales coverage in North America and worldwide, while AFC-Holcroft Europe serves major industrial markets in Germany, France, and other European locations. AFC-Holcroft’s Asian Operations manages partners in China, India, South Korea, and other countries in the region, and the company also extends into markets in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Spain, through relationships with partners, many of whom have manufacturing capability. For more information, contact media@afc-holcroft.com" December 3/2014

National Heat Treat/Houston, Texas. The dramatic drop in oil pricing pricing recently has lead many to wonder how this will affect the suppliers to the gas and oil industry and consequently the captive and commercial heat treaters who service the industry. To date it appears to have had little effect in the heart of the oil industry in North America-Texas. To bear this out it is our understanding that rapidly growing National Heat Treat in Houston, Texas will be making some major investments. Rumor has it that the company will shortly be investing $3,500,000 USD in expansion plans which might include a second location which we would assume will be in Texas but this has yet to be confirmed. We do hope to shortly be able to elaborate on this rumor. December 3/2014

Super Systems Inc./Selas FLO-SCOPE. "SSi is excited to announce the acquisition of the Selas FLO-SCOPE® product line. Effective immediately, SSI will support and deliver the manual FLO-SCOPE® with an electronic version of a gas flow meter soon to follow. “Customer service and innovation are the pillars of our organization,” explains Stephen Thompson, president of SSi. “This line of manual and electronic gas flow meters presents an excellent opportunity for us to expand our portfolio of quality products to the thermal processing industry. “With our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and our staff of engineers, we are excited about our ability to bring focus to this product line and provide the same level of service that we have always maintained with all of our products.” The gas flow meters will be available in various sizes covering all combustion and process gases commonly used in the thermal processing industry.  Selas will remain a strategic partner with SSi for providing the FLO-SCOPE® to their customer base on relevant applications.

About SSi; Super Systems Inc., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been developing and manufacturing products for the thermal processing industry since 1995. SSi’s products include probes, analyzers, controllers, software solutions and engineered systems, and now flow meters. With over 100 years of combined experience, SSi continues to satisfy industry demands with innovative technology, enabling customers to be more efficient and to produce higher quality products. For more information on SSi’s capabilities, visit www.supersystems.com.

About Selas; Selas Heat Technology Company has been dedicated to providing quality heat technology solutions since 1896. Selas has served the advanced thermal processing needs of tens of thousands of customers, providing mixers, blowers, balanced zero-ratio regulators, valves, air heaters, flame safeguard devices, package burners, nozzle-mix burners, self-recuperative burners, radiant flame shape burners, ultra-low NOx burners, combustion gas mixers, gas blender valves, flame arrestors and blowouts, BTU monitors and controls, flow meters, and much more. Selas delivers heat technology solutions to the glass, fiberglass, steel, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, chemical, petrochemical, automotive, plastics, ceramics, food processing, heat treating, powder coating, textiles and commercial/industrial boiler industries, all with the highest manufacturing quality, customer service and aftermarket support. Selas brands include Pyronics, Maxsys Fuel Systems, Ray Burner, Ensign Ribbon Burner (ERB), Red-Ray Infrared burners, and Webster Combustion." December 2/2014

Heat Treating a Family Affair? While heat treating is an essential part of the manufacturing process it always appears to be the “poor cousin” and never receives the recognition it deserves. Because of this relatively low profile few young people think of heat treating as a career with the end result that many in the business are in it because previous family members were heat treaters. The list is endless and we will give you an example the Montgomery Clan. This photo shows Bill Montgomery who started WG Montgomery Ltd., a small rep business specializing  in the heat treating industry 45 years ago in 1969. Bill has been retired for a number of years but flanking him we have Gord Montgomery with 35 years in the business and Jordan Montgomery who at the age of 18 started working at commercial heat treater Metex Heat Treating, followed by a long stint at Vac Aero International. Jordan joined WG Montgomery Ltd, earlier this year after many years of working for the company part time. If you have a family photo you would like to share we would be more than happy to post it. Perhaps the Van Dorphy’s of Lone Star Heat Treat in Texas, the Moore family of Specialty also in Texas, the Balks of Hansen Balk in Michigan or the Buttners of Thermo Fussion in CA, the Braddock family of Braddock Heat Treat in Florida or the Raisseur family of Paulo Products to name just a few would like to provide family photos? By the way the photo below was taken at the Scottish St. Andrews Ball in Toronto which explains the kilts. December 2/2014

Monday Morning Briefing. For today Monday, December 1st we will start off with people. First up we have Mr. Arvid Casler. Arvid was Chief Metallurgist for commercial heat treater FPM for almost 9 years  starting at the Chery Valley facility and eventually ending up at the Elk Grove location. Recently he left the company and is now metallurgist with Heligear/Northstar Areospace in Bedford Park, IL replacing Paul Pfiefer who moved on to Worthington Steel. Heligear/Northstar is a manufacturer of gears for helicopters who has in house heat treating at their locations in Bedford Park and Milton, Ontario, Canada. While not large heat treat departments they are quite respectable as you would expect and feature rotary heath furnaces and press quenching amongst other processes.  Mr. Sanjeev Deshpande was President of commercial heat treater Atmosphere Annealing with several locations around the US Midwest. He left the company a few months back and is now President of Metal-Matic Inc. in Minneapolis, MN. Metal-Matic is a tube manufacturing company with three locations in the US Midwest.  Mr. Bill Donnelly recently became the new southern territory manager for Braddock Metallurigcal in the south eastern US. Braddock we recently named as the 10th largest commercial in North America with a total of 7 locations. Mr. Tench Forbes who was Industrial Vacuum Marketing Manager with vacuum pump supplier Agilent left the company November 14th-no idea what his future plans are.

Scot Forge of Spring Grove, IL certainly is a going concern. Earlier this year we mentioned how the company was adding two new tip-up furnaces of their own design which can handle parts up to 90” X 90” X 392” and two car bottoms able to handle parts up to 840” in length. From what we have heard these are now up and running or will be very shortly. However this is not all the company has been up to. In conjunction with their partner Ellwood Group Inc., the two companies are adding a 10,100 ton press and three additional forging furnaces at their location in New Castle, PA. Production is slated to start in the first quarter of 2015. Powdered metal company American Fine Sinter has announced that it will begin a $16 million expansion project at its North American headquarters in Tiffin, Ohio, early 2015. The project involves the construction of 100,000 ft2 of new manufacturing space, additional office and storage space, as well as an $8 million investment in new automation and manufacturing equipment. We believe that this will include more sintering furnace capacity but we wouldn’t swear to this. Surface Combustion of Waterville, Ohio recently landed an order for two large batch IQ furnaces from a commercial heat treater in the southern US. While we wouldn’t call these custom furnaces certainly they each have working dimensions which are not the standard 36 X 48 X 36 or 36 X 72 X 36 size. We assume at this point in time that construction has already started. Going way back to 2012 it was announced that aerospace company ASCO was setting up a new location in Stillwater, OK. The plan did go ahead and as far as we know is now in full production. We now have a photo of part of the company’s vacuum heat treating department showing a new Solar Manufacturing furnace. News reports claim that they have one of three vacuum furnaces in North America that has the capacity to heat up to 4,000 pounds at one time, which is a rather surprising claim.

From oven supplier Wisconsin Oven we have this press release. "Wisconsin Oven Corp. shipped a horizontal quench system to be used for solution heat treating of forged aluminum gun parts. The customer provides heat-treating services to a large gun manufacturer. Two solution heat-treating ovens were purchased along with three aluminum aging ovens. The solution heat-treat system has a maximum temperature rating of 1250°F (677°C), a work chamber of 4 feet wide x 4 feet long x 4 feet high and is designed to heat a 1,000-pound load of aluminum to 950°F (510°C)." Auto parts supplier Linamar Gear of Guelph, Ontario, Canada which has the largest batch IQ installation in North America recently ordered a brand new 9,000 CFH endothermic generator from AFC-Holcroft of Wixom, MI. I guess when you aim to make 1 million bicycles per year you need to do a lot of heat treating. In China Dahon Company is moving into a 650,000 square foot building in Shenzhen which will have all processes under one roof including heat treating. Wonder what type of heat treating you need to do for bike components? Furnace manufacturer SECO/WARWICK is going to be hosting a Webinar called “Consumption of ammonia in the regulated ZeroFlow® Gas Nitriding Process." The webinar will be presented in English December 11th of this year and will be free of charge. It is being hosted by Prof. dr. hab. inż. Leszek Małdziński – Associate Professor of Poznań University of Technology.

And to round things out we have this press release from Pregl Services, Inc. of Janesville, Wisconsin. "Pregl Services, Inc. (Pregl), providers of comprehensive aftermarket support to the thermal processing industry, today announced a contract to rebuild a large vacuum furnace hot zone for a large commercial heat treater in the Central U.S.  Pregl graphite spray nozzles feature an innovative tapered lock mounting system, which allows the nozzles to be attached to the INSIDE of the plenum.  This makes installation and replacement of the spray nozzles significantly easier.  In addition, each nozzle is secured with Pregl’s unique graphite washer.  The washer improves the sealing capacity of each nozzle to the composite board insulation, which improves the overall efficiency of the furnace. The hot zone rebuild will include: removal of all insulation, shielding and hardware; repair and replacement of all damaged components; cleaning and repair of the plenum; and the installation of new insulation, elements/element hangers, Pregl’s innovative spray nozzles, and shielding.  The hot zone will be rebuilt at Pregl’s facility in Janesville, Wisconsin. ABOUT PREGL SERVICES:  Pregl Services, Inc. was founded in 1997 by experienced vacuum furnace professionals to provide reliable, expedient, cost-effective, value-added repair, rebuild and reconditioning services to the thermal processing industry. For more information, please visit us at www.pregl.com."  December 1/2014





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