Heat Treating North America. Last week we had this news item about yet another captive heat treater in the US moving south, in this case to Mexico to take advantage of lower costs.
“Federal-Mogul Corp./Chicago Precision. Auto parts supplier and captive heat treater Federal-Mogul, Chicago Precision Division is joining an ever growing list of manufacturers in Canada and the northern US moving south to lower cost areas of doing business. In this case this division is picking up and moving manufacturing and their large captive heat treat to Mexico. While both captive and commercial heat treating in North America is generally doing quite well these days there is a shift from the high cost areas of doing business in the North to the more business friendly areas in the south. The Carolinas and Mexico in particular are seeing unprecedented growth in heat treating these days.”
While the trend for manufacturers and consequently commercial heat treaters to move from Canada and Northern US states such as NY, NH, MI, WI, IN and IL to southern regions of North America started some years ago it is a trend which is accelerating day by day. With high energy costs, suffocating government regulations, high taxes, strong unions and despicable weather to boot the reasons to move south far outweigh any advantages to remain and moving they are. Starting with the assumption that heat treating of automotive parts represents the largest sector of heat treating in North America we see that the largest beneficiary is Mexico with their growing automotive sector. Also going into the mix is the fact that Mexican labor costs are less than 20% of the levels in the rest of North America and you have a winning prescription for manufacturing in Mexico in spite of the violence and crime. In 1998 Mexico became the largest supplier to the US auto sector and since that time we have seen that a vehicle built in the US now has on average $4,000 USD worth of parts made in Mexico which is 4 times more than in the 1990’s while Canada has seen it’s share drop to $1,500/vehicle and continuing to drop.
Also winning are the Southeastern US states such as the Carolinas, Alabama and even Texas which are the site of most new assembly plants and parts manufacturers. Getrag, ZF, Boeing, BMW, Mercedes and others have all picked the southeastern US as the site for new facilities (it is no wonder that Bodycote paid a premium for the CCHT portion of Bluewater Thermal a couple of years back). As a "northerner" we are not optimistic about the future of manufacturing and heat treating in the northern regions of North America but the world goes on and the nature of business is that it is always in a state of flux. While the refrain in the early 1800’s might have been “go West young man, go West” it has in our opinion changed to “go South young man, go South.” Perhaps the South did win after all. March 12/2014.
Business Opportunities. "The Monty" has never had so 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 openings includes these; a Quality Manager Position at Bodycote in Grand Rapids, MI, an Outside Sales Rep required at Steeltech, a Metallurgical Engineer Opening, an Account Manager at Bodycote in Fort Wayne, IN, a Heat Treat Engineer/Metallurgist, 4 Positions at commercial heat treater Bluewater Thermal, a Mechanical Engineer at Al-Fe Heat Treating, a Mechanical Designer with furnace builder RAD-CON and a Heat Treat Mechanic at captive heat treater Sona in the US Southeast.
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
email@example.com. March 12/2014.
SECO/WARWICK Corp./Meadville, PA.The press release (s) below tell us about several new people at furnace builder SECO/WARWICK in Meadville, PA.
Bill Euliano has been names Aftermarket Director for North America at SECO/WARWICK Corp., Meadville, PA. In this role, Mr. Euliano is responsible for all aftermarket services including technical rebuilds and upgrades, renewal parts and field service. He joined SECO/WARWICK in 2011 as Operations Manager. Mr. Euliano has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Gannon University, Erie, PA. He also completed graduate degree courses for an MBA from Gannon University, and he has an associate degree in elementary education from Butler County Community College. He has worked in the automotive, fabrication, LED lighting, and heavy truck industries as well as furnaces for the glass industry. He has served in various roles throughout his career, including manufacturing engineer, quality manager, engineering manager, materials manager and plant manager.
Mark Hemsath has been appointed Thermal Group General Manager for North America with SECO/WARWICK Corp. in Meadville, PA, USA. In this role, Mr. Hemsath will direct the sales, design and production for traditional heat treat and atmosphere furnaces. In addition, Hemsath will continue to be the sales point of contact for the southeastern United States. Mr. Hemsath brings over 25 years of experience in industrial furnace Sales and Design to SECO/WARWICK as owner/President of MH Thermal, Hemsath Corp., and Lee Wilson and Thermotech Industries (all Furnaces related). He has worked as a Business Manager for Indugas, Inc. (a Furnace design company), Business Development Manager for LEWCO, Inc. (Conveyors and Ovens), and VP/CFO of Lumberjack Mordam Music Group. Hemsath earned his B.Sc. in Business Administration at Miami University and MBA with a concentration in Finance and Project Management from the University of Toledo.
Andrew Paris has joined SECO/WARWICK Corp. as Chief Operations Officer at the Meadville, Pennsylvania engineering and manufacturing facility. As COO, Mr. Paris is responsible for all functional operations including project management, purchasing, estimating and manufacturing for North America. Paris is a graduate of Grove City College where he earned a BSME. His 17 year career at GE Transportation began as part of the Operations Management Leadership Program and progressed into various supply chain leadership roles in the locomotive and mining businesses. Most recently, he served as Manger of Locomotive Production, Sales, and Inventory. March 11/2014.
TAV SpA./Press Release. TAV ships heat treatment and brazing furnaces to a large aerospace company; Italian vacuum furnace manufacturer TAV SpA, is shipping a special vertical vacuum furnace with working dimensions of 2300 mm x H 3000 mm for heat treatment and brazing to a long time customer and well known aerospace company in France. TAV SpA is also shipping three horizontal vacuum furnaces for heat treatment and brazing to the same customer for their Mexican facility. All these furnaces are completely designed, manufactured and tested by TAV qualified personnel in compliance with the required norms and regulations. March 11/2014.
Monday Morning Briefing. For Monday March 10/2014 we are going to start off in an area that doesn't make our heat treating news that often-the growing heat treating market of Poland. First off the first ever Polish Heat Treat Show & Exposition (whose banner ad can be found on this page) is shaping up to be a success with only 9 booths still available. Moving on we hear that worldwide commercial heat treater Bodycote(who is always at the forefront of growth areas, as an example the company had a presence in China long before it registered with any other heat treaters) is in the process of setting up a new facility in Wroclaw, Poland and that the equipment has already been ordered including 3 furnaces from Seco Warwick. Staying in Poland we see that another commercial heat treater this one from Germany, Härterei Hauck will open a new shop in Dzierzoniow, Poland this year. Härterei Hauck was founded in 1936 and in the 1990's the company was acquired by Dutch company Aalberts Industries N.V., one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the world. In addition to these two new facilities Hanomag based in Hanover, Germany will have their new plant in Poland in operation July or August of this year. We mentioned this last year and stressed that this plant will concentrate first on aluminum heat treating and later on steel. Another new location in Poland is Hartownia Bialystok which we mentioned some time back. While this project is proceeding rumor has it that they are a little behind schedule.
Endothermic Generators for Rent? A furnace manufacturer in Avilla, IN, McLaughlin Services is offering endo generators for rent. This would be for a 3,600 – 4,000 CFH unit which can be expanded to 12,000 CFH. We have no idea whether this will prove to be a real success story or not but it certainly is an interesting idea-we will have to revisit this down the road to see how it turns out.
Lindberg and Blue M have always been well known brands in the new furnace business and according to this press release the companies now have new owners. "SPX Corp. completed the sale of its Thermal Product Solutions (TPS) business to Resilience Capital Partners, a Cleveland-based private-equity firm, for approximately $43 million. TPS designs and manufactures industrial and laboratory ovens and furnaces as well as environmental temperature cycling and stability test chambers. The company has facilities in White Deer, Pa.; Riverside, Mich.; and Malaysia. Its product brands include Tenney, Blue M, Gruenberg, Lindberg and MPH. The Lindberg product brand supplies equipment solely to the heat-treating industry". Remember the recent auction at Sifco which featured 3 very impressive vacuum furnaces? Our understanding is that each went to a different buyer will the large VFS unit going to commercial heat treater Rockford Heat Treaters in Rockford, IL. Tony Moran, V.P. of commercial heat treater Thermal Modification Technologies(formerly Beaver HT) in Tualatin, Oregon is pretty pleased with the way things are going these days. The photo below shows Tony in front of his brand new McLaughlin Services LLC gas-fired temper.
As part of our Monday Morning Briefing we earlier mentioned Aalberts Industries in the Netherlands as one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the world. The company recently released their 2013 financial results which shows the company had a very good year. http://www.aalberts.nl/en While Aalberts is very strong in commercial heat treating in Europe because the heat treating division is a relatively small part of this company it is always difficult to figure out how much of the total sales and profit comes from the heat treating group as opposed to their other divisions. And to round things out Hightemp Furnaces in India (part of the Dowa Group of Japan) is having a very good year. They recently announced new orders for Mesh Belt Lines, a Roller Hearth furnace, a Mesh belt temper and several other items. While the bulk of these orders are for the Indian market at least 2 or 3 were for customers in Indonesia and Thailand. http://www.hightemp-furnaces.com/ March 10/2014.
Used Equipment Available. We have lots of additions to our used equipment listings these days in spite of the general shortage of good used equipment. Recent additions include an Electric Car Bottom Furnace, a beauty of a Super 30 Allcase, a Gleason Model 529 Press Quench, a Rotary Hearth Furnace along with a Gleason Press Quench, two 36" X 48" X 36" Tempers (new), and 3 monster Surface Combustion Batch IQ Furnaces. A Lindberg Batch IQ furnace with working dimensions of 30" X 48" X 30" and a very large Beavermatic Batch IQ Furnace along with an immaculate condition AFC-Holcroft Pusher Line are also recent. If you don't see what you are looking for please let us know and we will try to find it for you. firstname.lastname@example.org March 10/2014.
Federal-Mogul Corp./Chicago Precision. Auto parts supplier and captive heat treater Federal-Mogul, Chicago Precision Division is joining an ever growing list of manufacturers in Canada and the northern US moving south to lower cost areas of doing business. In this case this division is picking up and moving manufacturing and their large captive heat treat to Mexico. While both captive and commercial heat treating in North America is generally doing quite well these days there is a shift from the high cost areas of doing business in the North to the more business friendly areas in the south. The Carolinas and Mexico in particular are seeing unprecedented growth in heat treating these days. March 7/2014.
Heat Treat Market Studies. For today we go off on one of our favorite rants “Heat Treat Market Studies”, those paid for up front studies which claim to give a good complete report about the size of the heat treating industry either in terms of total sales worldwide (either commercial or captive or both), the number of vacuum furnaces sold yearly around the world, batch IQ furnaces sales whatever. Investment bankers and industry suppliers are always particularly keen on finding a nice, neat report which accurately sums up the key players in our industry, total sales sorted by various categories and preferably company names and contacts.
People there does not exist good accurate reports such as these for the simple reason that this is a very fragmented industry where most of the players are privately owned companies unlike lets say the auto industry. Right off the bat the definition of heat treating is very vague-does this include steel making, foundries glass making or just real heat treating such as carburizing and vacuum heat treating? We have yet to see a study which outlined these parameters. As an example we have run across the report mentioned below several times over the years and while we confess we have not read the report the preamble and list of companies mentioned does not fill us with confidence. While all the companies mentioned below are firms we generally have a high opinion of (although some we know little about beyond the name) this brief list seems to have several of the largest players in the industry while ignoring others of a similar size while at the same time mentioning a couple of the smaller ones. If anybody does run across a really accurate, top notch study of the heat treating market please let us know but until then we remain very skeptical of these market studies and we would respectfully suggest that readers be very careful when paying for these studies. March 6/2014.
"(http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/zc3rss/global_heat) has announced the addition of the "Concise Analysis of the International Heat Treating Market" report to their offering. One of the main trends witnessed in the Global Heat Treating market is the integration of heat treatment processes in production lines. As a result of increasing globalization, several companies across industries such as Automotive, Aerospace, and Rail are becoming highly competitive. To increase their operational efficiency, several organizations are streamlining their operational processes. In addition, to develop cost-effective, quality products that are competitive in the international markets, companies are now automating their factory operations for improved business operation. As an operational strategy, companies are integrating heat treatment processes with the production lines. This increases the operational efficiency of manufacturing organizations. According to the report, one of the main factors driving the market is the need to develop superior quality products. The use of heat treatment processes helps organizations to improve the structural accuracy of a metallic product by enhancing its tensile strength and yield strength. Hence, in order to develop high-precision products, several companies across industries such as Automotive, Aerospace, and General Machinery opt for heat treatment processes. Further, the report states that one of the main challenges is the requirement of high initial investment. The success of any organization depends on its competitiveness and overall operational performance. The total cost of heat treatment processes is one of the major factors contributing to the profitability and competitiveness of any manufacturing organization across industries." Companies Mentioned:
Aalberts Industries NV
Bluewater Thermal Solutions Corp.
Jones Metal Products
Quality Steel Treating
VAC AERO International
Heat Treating Forum & Expo/Poland. In just a few short weeks there will be the first ever Heat Treating Forum & Expo in Poland as you can see from the banner ad on this page. There seems to be some confusion about this Expo and consequently we received this rant from one of the organizers of the Expo. Bottom line is that this Expo has nothing to do with another Spanish based conference also in Poland at some future date.
"We are receiving too many questions about a Spanish (?) heat treatment conference in Poland. Sorry guys, it is not our idea and we do not understand the “speed dating” concept behind it. To answer these questions we have this to say; THE REAL MEETING OF HEAT TREATERS IN POLAND will take place 5 weeks from now http://www.heat-treatment-forum.pl/agenda/ in Wroclaw, Poland April 9-10th. You will meet top speakers, main global players, all of the major equipment manufacturers and your main customers from Central Eastern Europe during this premium meeting supported by the Global Heat Treatment Network. The next big European HT event in Poland, supported by the Polish Heat Treat association is already planned for this October! So, stay tuned… " March 5/2014.
Heat Treat Case Study. A manufacturer of very high end auto parts components in the southern US has an interesting dilemma. On a yearly basis the company sends approximately $100,000 to $150,000 USD worth of work to a commercial heat treater who is located 200 miles away. Depending upon the material the parts are either through hardened, carbonitrided or case hardened. The dilemma for this company is that they can’t live with the turnaround time provided by the commercial shop (up to two weeks) but the volumes are so low it is almost impossible to justify bringing the work in house. If we assume that all the parts can be run at different times in a small batch IQ line does it make sense to bring the work in house? Doubtful. While this company could find a small used batch IQ line for $100,000 USD there is still shipping, installation finding a trained furnace operator and floor space involved all of which is going to substantially raise the initial cost. In addition as there are 3 different processes there is certainly a large learning curve involved in getting the processes correct. Our feeling is that this manufacturer would be far better served and have a lot less headaches by agreeing to a surcharge for a faster turnaround time. March 4/2014.
UTTIS Press Release."UTTIS Industries SRL and NOXMAT GmbH form a new Partnership in February 2014. The two companies would like to announce that UTTIs, a furnace manufacturer from Romania and NOXMAT, a leading manufacturer of industrial gas burners from Germany have formed a strategic partnership. UTTIS will take over the Sales and Service activities for NOXMAT industrial gas burners in the territory of Romania. The photo below shows from the left; Mr Octavio Schmiel (Head of Business Development, NOXMAT), Mr Matthias Wolf (General Director, NOXMAT), Mrs Petruta Druga (General Director, UTTIS), prof. Leontin Druga, Ph.D. (President of the Romanian Heat Treatment Association, UTTIS), Mr Cristian Badina (Production Manager, UTTIS)." March 4/2014.
Aichelin USA. We welcome our newest advertiser Aichelin USA who along with their parent company Aichelin in Austria ranks amongst one of the largest most respected new furnace builders in the world. Their banner ad can be found on this page. March 4/2014.
Monday Morning Briefing. Last week we had this news item; “SIFCO Industries/Minneapolis, MN. Going back to 2013 SIFCO Industries announced that they were closing their location in Minneapolis which handled the turbine components repair business. At the time the reason given was that its repair business wasn't’t bringing in enough profits and that its outlook for future profits was a factor in the closure. The heat treating aspect here is that this location had in house heat treating capacity and all of the equipment is currently being auctioned off. While there are a number of heat treating items the real prizes are a VFS 5000 pound capacity NAPCAP Certified Vacuum Furnace Model HL88X60 and an Abar Ipsen 3000 pound capacity NAPCAP Certified TurboTreater Model H54X48-2BAR. Both of these are highly desirable items and we would expect them to go for absolute top dollar in this rather tight used equipment market. It will be interesting to see where these end up”.
As it turns out there were 3 vacuum furnaces in the auction and all sold to different buyers who we assume are end users. Including the 15% buyers premium they sold for $345,000 for the 5000 lb VFS (mfg 1993), $316,000 for the 3000 lb Ipsen (mfg 1998) and $126,000 USD for a 1,000 pound capacity VFS. All three furnaces were in excellent condition, with newer hot zones and each included their own captive water cooling system. The only downside was that the controls on all the furnaces were original. These prices are roughly 40% of the price of new and gives you an indication about how tight the used equipment market is these days.
Commercial heat treater Bodycote had an explosion at their facility in Indianapolis as we can see from this news report. Obviously the reporter for this story did not do his homework as they mention an “auto parts maker”. "Two employees of a Near-Northside auto-parts maker were injured and hospitalized earlier today in an explosion at the company. The blast occurred at 12:56 p.m. at Bodycote Thermal Processing at 500 W. 21st St., according to a news release from the Indianapolis Fire Department. An unidentified 30-year-old man had burns on up to 20 percent of his body and was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in serious condition, because of the possibility of respiratory tract burns, IFD said. A 29-year-old man who may have suffered a concussion was taken to Eskenazi in stable condition. IFD said the explosion was caused by a flash explosion in a furnace that had been shut down at about 8:30 a.m. today. There was no fire after the explosion, IFD said. The company’s engineers as well as investigators from IFD, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration are assisting in the investigation."
Continuing with Bodycote we have this news report about reaction to their financials which were released last week. "(BOY) substantial City-based fan club was in buying mood after the heat-treatment specialist revealed that underlying pre-tax profit jumped by a tenth in 2013 to £104m. In a falling market, its shares rose over 8 per cent to levels last seen in 1998. Margins are accelerating and a fourth year of strong cash conversion encouraged management to announce a special dividend of 10p a share. Clearly, the second half was much better than the first, when organic sales, which exclude foreign exchange and acquisition benefits, fell 5 per cent. They slipped just 1 per cent in the final six months, and finance chief David Landless tells us sales had moved into "modest positive territory" in early 2014. Margins improved significantly last year, too. A 70 basis point increase to 17.3 per cent explains why organic profit fell just £0.4m, even though the form lost almost £15m of sales. Crucial to Bodycote's success is its impressive pricing power. Customers prefer not to change suppliers and they'll pay good money for critical services. Margins at the automotive and general industrial division jumped 130 basis points, driven in part by high value stainless steel processes. Broker Credit Suisse expects more in 2014 and forecasts an increase in adjusted pre-tax profit to £113m, giving adjusted EPS of 44.1p (from 41.3p in 2013)."Metal Treating Institute (MTI to you) just issued this report about the commercial heat treating market in Canada and the US. "With 142 heat treaters reporting in December 2013, year to date heat treat sales for the Metal Treating Industry for year ending 2013 were $877.0 million, a decrease of -2.0% from 2012 when sales for January-December equaled $894.5 million. MTI’s forecasting company, DeWolf Associates forecasted sales to be down 1.6%. Sales for the Metal Treating Industry for December 2013 totaled $66.8 million, an increase from 2012 when sales for December equaled $62.1 million. Seven out of the nine MTI districts reported higher sales in December 2013 compared to the previous year."
Out in Oak Creek, Wisconsin we see that SteelWind Industries is adding to their heat treating department. “SteelWind Industries Inc., a privately held steel fabrication company based in Oak Creek, has expanded its heat treating services and is looking to acquire new businesses. The company purchased two new natural gas-fired furnaces that have the ability to heat metal to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. SteelWind, which fabricates metal for mining equipment, tanks and architectural uses, now has eight furnaces. "We are using this time to prepare for increased demand into the future," said vice president Jason Geiger. "We are also seeking additional businesses or product lines to acquire that would complement our core capabilities in fabrication, heat-treat, blast, paint, machining and assembly." SteelWind management wants to buy another company that has a steel product that needs to be fabricated in-house, heat-treated and blasted”. And in other new furnace orders we see that Wisconsin Oven Corp. shipped a custom-designed conveyor oven to be used for drying wooden alcohol barrels to a leading distillery. The natural-gas-fired oven, which features 79,000 CFM of recirculation air, can dry 160 barrels per hour. The barrels are loaded on the conveyor belt two rows wide for a heating time of 20 minutes. The oven offers three zones of heating for a total of 3,500,000 BTUs and a cool-down system that utilizes a motorized damper to draw cooling air into the oven and exhaust it out at a volume of approximately 10,000 CFM.
To round things out we would like to bring to your attention our two newest advertisers, ASM International, one of the foremost organizations in the worldwide heat treating industry and Italian vacuum furnace builder TAV both of whose banner ads can be found on this page. March 3/2014.
European Used Equipment Available. Surplus Heat Treating Equipment. For 15 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. email@example.com March 3/2014.
Phoenix TM Press Release. New ‘Hot Box’ Thermal Barrier TS08 for Temperature Profiling in Aluminum Brazing Processes. March 3/2014.
"Temperature profiling systems are typically used to measure product temperature throughout the brazing cycle and consist of thermocouples attached to the aluminum product, conveying temperature information to a data logger, which travel together with the product, through the furnace to produce the thermal profile.
Built specifically for use in controlled atmosphere brazing (CAB) furnaces, where aluminum components for automobile cooling and air conditioning systems are brazed, the TS08 thermal barrier range addresses the problems that can occur with profiling systems traditionally used to monitor product temperatures in these furnaces. These problems include:
Fast deterioration of the high temperature cloth inside the thermal barrier due to hydrofluoric acid attack (caused by chemicals in the flux combining with moisture from inside the barrier). This cloth protects the microporous insulation and when worn through, will allow the thermocouples to directly abrade the insulation, widening the exit of the barrier and allowing more heat into the system. This will damage the data logger that the thermal barrier is meant to protect.
Out-gassing of oxygen from air inside the ‘hot box’ or thermal barrier into the nitrogen atmosphere of the furnace. This can affect the quality of the braze in the products surrounding the system.
These problems have been addressed by PhoenixTM in the design of the new TS08 ‘Hot Box’ thermal barrier:
All high temperature cloth exposed to the furnace atmosphere has been removed, and thermocouples exiting the barrier rest on a stainless steel casing rather than abrading any insulation.
Oxygen is removed from deep in the microporous insulation by heating the insulation in a high vacuum, then back filling with nitrogen. Further to this the thermal barrier is fitted with a nozzle which allows it to be purged with a low pressure nitrogen flow just prior to placing in a furnace.
The TS08 thermal barrier also features thermocouple separators to prevent thermocouples ‘bunching’ when the barrier is closed, and makes it easy to identify the individual thermocouples (see photo below). A major US auto manufacturer has been using the PhoenixTM TS08 thermal barrier in their furnaces for the last 18 months and reports that they have carried out around 2000 successful runs during this period. For more information contact: Stephen Biggs, National Sales Manager, PhoenixTM LLC. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 727 608 4314 www.phoenixtm.com"
Bodycote’s 2013 Preliminary Results for the year ending 31 December 2013. Worldwide commercial heat treating giant Bodycote just released their preliminary 2013 financial results. Highlights include revenue of £619.6m vs; £587.8m in 2012 and headline operating profit was £107.4m vs; £97.5m in 2012 representing a 10% increase.
Bodycote moved strongly ahead despite mixed markets
Excellent performance from 2012 acquisitions
New Technologies growing following capacity enhancement
Headline margin up 70 basis points to 17.3%
Fourth year of strong free cash generation, net cash of £15.0m
Final ordinary dividend of 9.1p, 13.5p for the year, up 10%
Special dividend of 10.0p
Commenting, Stephen Harris, Chief Executive said:“In 2013 improvements in business mix, plus the full year effect of the 2012 acquisitions, enabled Bodycote to achieve good growth and strong returns, despite weak markets in the early part of the year. At this early stage in the year and on a constant currency basis, the Board expects Bodycote’s growth initiatives to deliver further progress in 2014.”
All of the details can be found at http://www.bodycote.com/en.aspx The whole report makes for extremely interesting reading as it gives insight into where the growth markets are for heat treating, where profit margins are headed (it would appear up) and which areas are doing well and which aren't. For instance these comments were included.
"STRATEGIC PROGRESS. The Group’s expansion in China continued with one new plant coming on stream in 2013. There is strong demand for Bodycote’s service offering in China, which is geared towards non-Chinese companies targeting the domestic Chinese market. Further facilities are currently in the planning stage for the emerging markets. The market in Brazil remained challenging in 2013 and even though 20 basis points of the Group’s margin improvement was derived from a better operating performance in Brazil, the business has yet to reach breakeven. Further progress is expected in 2014 with the focus now firmly shifted to sales expansion following the restructuring activities of previous years. Any improvement in the Brazilian economy in this region should have a significant positive impact, as operational gearing is likely to be very high on extra sales generated.
The new technologies of S3P and HIP Product Fabrication are starting to be meaningful contributors to the Group performance. Investment in these exciting technologies has been a focus for some five years now and they have moved from a virtual standing start to adding 40 basis points to the Group’s margins in 2013 compared to 2012. Significant capacity expansion took place in S3P during 2012 and 2013 and more expansion will occur in the coming year. Meanwhile, extra Giga HIP capacity was brought on line at the end of 2013 which will further assist the growth in the HIP business in 2014. A significant focus in 2013 was the post acquisition integration of the three businesses acquired in 2012. The integration has been virtually seamless and the new businesses together generated a 13% return on investment in their first full year of Bodycote ownership. No new acquisitions were made during the year. The Group continues to be on the lookout for value enhancing acquisitions."
The comments about China were especially interesting as foreign commercial heat treaters are almost entirely working with foreign manufacturers based in the country with local heat treaters servicing domestic manufacturing. Brazil (where Bodycote has yet to turn a profit) has long been a tough market for all heat treaters in the country. And the mention about being on the lookout for value enhancing acquisitions? There are few commercial heat treaters anywhere in the world that Bodycote has not looked at. Market reaction was extremely positive with the shares at the point of "The Monty" publishing at 741.00GBp a rise of 45GBp. February 28/2014.
Wallwork Heat Treat/UK. One of the largest commercial heat treaters in the UK, Wallwork also has a division which makes alloy castings for heat treating furnaces. From this press release it appears that they want to start exporting to other European markets. I can understand that in Europe this would make a great deal of sense because of the close proximity however our feeling is that typically it has not been a real success suppliers of alloy furnace components exporting to far away markets. Chinese suppliers have had some very limited success exporting alloy components to other regions as has India and Mexico but overall we see little sign that it makes sense for end users of baskets, base trays, radiant tubes and other products. February 27/2014.
"UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) are backing a campaign by Wallwork Cast Alloys to break into the lucrative markets in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. A supplier oftemperature resistant castingsfor metal heat treatment, hot metal processing and the glass industry, Wallwork products ensure safe and efficient loading and unloading from heat treatment furnaces. Director Peter Carpenter explained, “Our core business is precision heat treatment, so we manufacture temperature resisting castings for our own use as well as for commercial sale. Heat treatment is a capital intensive and competitive industry, so using castings with lower mass improves furnace cycle times, reduces energy use, lowers CO2 emissions and gives lower process costs. An additional benefit, arising from the greater endurance of our grids and pan castings is that it reduces the capital tied up in furnace furniture.” The company have proven products for most popular heat processing furnaces including Ipsen, Wild Barfield, Seco Warwick, Wellman and others. A design and pattern making service is available where customised castings are needed. At the end of their working life, furnace furniture castings are 100 per cent recyclable. Wallwork will accept old castings, assess and re-grade the alloy to process into new castings of improved design. The Wallwork foundry operates an ISO9000 quality system".
Ipsen Press Release. Off topic but isn't that a heck of an impressive vacuum furnace in the background of the photo? Wonder who this is destined for?February 27/2014.
"Ipsen Congratulates February Grads. The first Ipsen U class of the year, held in February, was a huge success for attendees. Sixteen attendees completed the course, including individuals who traveled from all over the globe to glean information from Ipsen’s experts. Students came from Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, as well as from Poland and Japan!
During the class, instructors not only presented information, but also offered visual, hands-on experiences for the attendees. One highlight from this Ipsen U was a hands-on, leak testing exercise. Several leaks were pre-established and a volunteer worked his way around a furnace to find them. This was a great learning experience particularly for those expecting new furnace shipments.
Ipsen U is a practical course for building and refreshing thermal processing equipment knowledge. Ipsen U addresses all levels of experience in an open-forum environment that encourages attendees to ask questions about specific equipment and processes. The class follows a modular format that allows participants to interact with several Ipsen experts and have their specific questions answered. Ipsen U allows customers direct access to information that transfers furnace maintenance and upkeep into their own hands.
Topics include introductions to vacuum furnaces, heat treating, units of measure, furnace components and subsystems, leak detection and maintenance. The class toured the facility to see examples of Ipsen’s furnace capabilities and enjoyed the opportunity to share tips and experiences with others. When all the information was disseminated, tours given and questions answered, participants received shirts and certificates recognizing them for participating in the course. Congratulations, February Ipsen U graduates!
To register for the next Ipsen U, contact Kristine Stewart at 815-332-2622 or Kristine.email@example.com or register online at IpsenUSA.com/Ipsen-U. Plan to attend one of these sessions: April 8-10, June 3-5, August 5-7 or Oct. 7-9. You can also arrange a custom Ipsen U to be conducted at your facility that is specifically tailored to your equipment and process needs".
Qual-Fab Inc./Press Release. Alloy supplier Qual-Fab whose ad can be found on the page sent us this press release about a new hire for the company. February 27/2014.
"Qual-Fab, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of fabricated metal products that operate in high heat or corrosive environments, is proud to announce the addition of Jeff Ogle to their engineering staff. Jeff will be managing the engineering team and brings 25 years of experience in the application, design, and manufacture of high nickel alloy and stainless steel fabrications. He has successfully managed an engineering team for the past 15 years and has extensive knowledge in the design of high temperature fans, muffles, and other components used in the Heat Treating and Sintering Markets as well as catalyst support components, pressure vessels and heat exchangers used in the Chemical Industry. Our staff welcomes his talents and is very excited to offer the expertise and dedication he brings to the table".
SIFCO Industries/Minneapolis, MN. Going back to 2013 SIFCO Industries announced that they were closing their location in Minneapolis which handled the turbine components repair business. At the time the reason given was that its repair business wasn’t bringing in enough profits and that its outlook for future profits was a factor in the closure. The heat treating aspect here is that this location had in house heat treating capacity and all of the equipment is currently being auctioned off. While there are a number of heat treating items the real prizes are a VFS 5000 pound capacity NAPCAP Certified Vacuum Furnace Model HL88X60 and an Abar Ipsen 3000 pound capacity NAPCAP Certified TurboTreater Model H54X48-2BAR. Both of these are highly desirable items and we would expect them to go for absolute top dollar in this rather tight used equipment market. It will be interesting to see where these end up. February 26/2014.
"SIFCO, Industries, Inc., recently announced the closure of its turbine services and repair plant in Minneapolis, a move that will result in the loss of all 50 employees there. The Cleveland-based company said the efforts to “wind down” the operations in Minneapolis would begin immediately. According to the local plant’s general manager Jeff Thrun, however, the layoffs have not yet occurred. Chief Operating Officer Jim Woidke told Twin Cities Business that the layoffs will occur in “phases,” not all at once, but he declined to disclose a specific timeline. SIFCO Industries handles metalworking services—such as forging, heat-treating, coating, and machining—and produces products primarily used for the aerospace and energy industries. The company’s Minneapolis plant specifically handled the turbine components repair business".
Aerospace Testing & Pyrometry Inc. Press Release. From ATP (whose ad can be found on this page) we have this press release. February 26/2014.
"Last month Aerospace Testing & Pyrometry, Inc. (ATP) had our First Annual Company Meeting/Thank You for a job well done in 2013. All employees and families were invited to Marco Island, FL for a three day get together. One day was devoted to going over the success of 2013 and how we can improve as a company for 2014. Agenda items we discussed were a recent Quality Survey sent to all our clients. The survey allowed us to measure the level of Pyrometry Service – Score of 95.3%, Pyrometry Training – Score of 98.6% and Consulting Services – Score of 98.4%! Other items discussed were future services to add to ATP, new offices (stay tuned), and commitment to improve upon 2013 results. The remainder of our time was dedicated to relaxing and enjoying the Florida sunshine (even though it was a bit cooler than usual).
The first picture is of the Crew: From Left to Right: Tom Zimmerman, VP of Operations –Northeast Manager, Andrew Bassett, President, Colin Thomas, Nadcap/Heat Treat Consultant, and William Heighton, Mid-West Service Manager.
The second picture is of the whole ATP Family… A Big Special Thank you to all of our spouses who have endured many of our days of being “Road Warriors” and holding down the home fronts!"
Heat Treating Safety. Heat treating as we all know can be a dangerous work environment and while virtually every aspect is governed by some form of regulation regulations are not always followed and it is of course impossible to regulate everything. The situation below which happened in 2001 at a commercial heat treater in California was covered by regulations, specifically confined space regulations. A confined space in California is described thus: "A confined space, as defined in Section 5157, is a space that has all three of the following characteristics: • Is large enough and configured such that an employee can bodily enter and perform work; and • Has limited openings for entry and exit; and • Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy". And also; "• Existing ventilation is insufficient to remove dangerous air contaminants, oxygen enrichment, and/or correct oxygen deficiency; and • Access to or egress from the space is difficult". The situation described below meets all of these criteria. In an area such as this it is required that; "All authorized entrants and rescuers entering permit spaces are required to use full body harnesses and retrieval lines, unless it is determined that the retrieval equipment would increase the overall risk of entry or would not contribute to the rescue operation". (We stress that these points are an extremely abbreviated version of the regulations and that they should be read in their entirety).
In this case neither individual was wearing a harness or retrieval line and the fact that the pit was flooded with either nitrogen or argon meant that both suffocated. If employee #1 had been wearing a harness or retrieval line his co workers would have had 4 minutes to pull him to safety before death and there would have been no reason for employee #2 to enter the pit. According to reports we have read 60% of deaths in this type of situation are amongst rescuers who are not prepared for what they will find. While many of us tend to feel we are getting “bogged down” in endless government regulations there is usually a reason behind them and in this case two individuals died because regulations were not followed. Remember heat treating can be dangerous work!
"At 9:30 a.m. on May 17, 2001, an accident occurred at the employer's facility located in Tarzana, California. The employer is engaged in the heat treatment of metal parts, specializing in the aerospace industry. At the time of the accident, Employee #1, a maintenance worker, was working to repair a hydraulic leak on the inside of a Hayes Model VSQ Vacuum Furnace. This furnace opens to the side and has a quench oil tank, 6-feet in diameter by 9-feet deep, on the inside which is used to cool metal parts once they have been heat treated under vacuum. Once the parts have been placed in the quenching tank by the parts elevator, the furnace is backfilled with an inert gas, either argon or nitrogen, to replace the vacuum from the system. The oil from this tank was drained three days before the accident in order to service the hydraulic lines and the motor located at the bottom of the quench oil tank. While Employee #1 was working, he collapsed into the empty quench oil tank. Employee #2, the maintenance worker's supervisor, who was in the area called for help and climbed into the furnace to attempt to render aid to Employee #1. Employees in the area who heard the call for help came to the furnace and saw Employee #1 lying on the elevator yolk and Employee #2 slumped next to him. At the time of the accident, the electrical panel for the furnace was energized and the argon and nitrogen valves on the pipes for the inert gases to Furnace Number 9 were open. There is a solenoid valve in-line on each of these pipes which controls gas release for the treatment cycle. It is not clear why or which gas was delivered to the furnace. However, witnesses at the site stated that the selector switch on the operation panel was selected for argon. Employee #1 and Employee #2 were not wearing a harness or retrieval lines. The fire department retrieved the two employees, who were pronounced dead at the hospital. The coroner's report lists the cause of death for both employees as suffocation". February 25/2014.
SSI Technical Seminar/Michigan."We held a technical seminar and product training last week in Novi, Michigan. Day 1 was the technical seminar which covered topics on industry requirements such as CQI-9 and AMS 2750E as well as technology used by heat treaters and atmosphere troubleshooting. We had about 40 attendees across 30 different companies from the Michigan and northern Ohio region. Day 2 was focused specifically on SSi product training where attendees learned the ins and outs of SuperDATA, Configurator and writing process recipes. We will be continuing with the technical training in various locations throughout 2014. We also have user training scheduled for 4 dates in 2014 at Super Systems in Cincinnati, OH. Details can be found on our website at www.supersystems.com. Jim Oakes, SSI". February 25/2014.
Monday Morning Briefing. To start off we have a news report about a small fire at Sun Steel Treating in Michigan. Various news reports had vastly overstated this fire-as you can see the total damages amounted to $2,000 to $3,000 for which we are glad. "A fire at Sun Steel Treating on Mill Street in South Lyon Sunday caused a minimal amount damage, said officials. Fire Chief Mike Kennedy said the fire was located in a detached building on the northeast side of the property used for pressure blasting dies. South Lyon firefighters were dispatched to the company at 1:28 p.m. and the fire was contained at 1:51 p.m., Kennedy said. Firefighters from Green Oak Township and Lyon Township assisted. HVA and South Lyon police also responded. No injuries were reported. “Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from extending to the main building,” Kennedy said. “We were unable to determine an exact cause, but static build-up is suspected. We were very fortunate that we kept it from going to the main building.” A Sun Steel Treating spokesperson estimated the damage at between $2,000 and $3,000. Kennedy said he believes the fire began in a filter bank that collects dust and debris, which was ignited when combined with dry conditions. Sun Steel Treating provides steel heat treatments". It is with regret that we mention the passing of Doug Allan a pioneer in the heat treating industry. "Doug Allan passed away peacefully on February 12, 2014. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Barbara along with four daughters, Cathy Fallen-Matthews, Jan Gerlitz, Mary Jean Dodson and Ginny Lillie. Doug's life began in 1924 in Aberdeen, WA. It wasn't until 1967 that Doug forged his own path in the metal treating industry when he started Pacific Metallurgical Inc. and later a metallurgical lab, MetalTest Inc. He has since passed these entities through two of his daughters on to his grandson. Doug's legacy lives on. He is recognized as an ASM Fellow. He was recognized by the Metal Treating Institute with the M Lance Miller Legend Award for his lifetime commitment to the advancement of the industry". In spite of the very cold winter in North America Natural Gas Pricing remains fairly stable. "Natural gas spot prices decreased at most trading locations during the report week, even as winter weather slammed much of the country. Though it declined overall, the Henry Hub spot price remained somewhat elevated through the report week, beginning the week at $7.90/MMBtu and ending the report week at $6.15/MMBtu.At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the March 2014 futures price decreased from $5.030/MMBtu to $4.822/MMBtu".
For our next news item we go to India where we have this interesting news report. "Lakshmi Vacuum Technologies (LVT) headquartered in Bangalore, India is pleased to announce an exclusive marketing collaboration with the SOLO Swiss Group headquartered in Bienne, Switzerland. While LVT has commenced marketing promotion of SOLO’s entire range of products to customers in India. Mr. Lakshmi Prasad, the founder of LVT says “we intend to leverage each other’s strengths to deliver a new series of products offering cutting-edge technology to customers across various industries in the fast growing Indian market and are excited to work with SOLO Swiss. We possibly couldn't’t have foreseen a better win-win partnership !” Mr. Jean-Michel Bechir, Vice President – Sales (SOLO Swiss) says “ We have worked with LVT since the last couple of years, found them to be a perfect partner for long term cooperation and now look forward to taking this strategic partnership ahead to consolidate our market position in India. A win-win situation indeed” The picture below shows from left to right; Mr.Lakshmi Prasad (Founder of LVT), Mr. Francis Leibens (President – SOLO) & Mr.Vijay Rajan (Vice President Sales – LVT)".
From India we move to China for a brief news item about a new supplier of vacuum nitriding furnaces. Byron Stewart is the son of the late Tom Guler who was a furnace builder in Australia for literally decades. Byron is following in his father’s footsteps and after many years in the heat treating industry he is now starting to offer smaller vacuum nitriding units a photo of one is below. The furnaces will be capable of nitrocarburizing as well as vacuum nitriding and the shells will come from the the US and the controls from Europe.
Late last year furnace builder Ipsen installed a 3 row pusher system at Mercedes in Mettingen, Germany. Below we have an abbreviated version of the press release which can be found in it's entirety at http://www.ipsen.de/en/home.html. "The new Ipsen system for the heat treatment of gearbox parts, crown wheels and drive pinion wheels was moved into the Mercedes gearbox plant in Mettingen in the Neckar Valley in autumn 2013. The move was made all the more difficult by the site conditions since there was very little space around the planned three-row pusher furnace. Using a highly integrated feed mechanism it was possible, however, to install all the systems and components required for the heat treatment process in a very compact area. The high and low temperature furnaces, cleaning systems and quenching equipment were linked to form complex units while still providing good flexibility for various types of heat treatment for workpieces".
Readers of The Monty will be well aware of our Regular Interviews with interesting individuals in the industry, all of which are archived at http://www.themonty.com/interviews.htm If you would like to be interviewed we would be more than happy to oblige you, just send an e-mail to our editor in chief Dale Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org. I have never met Mr. Bob Balow, owner of Accu-Temp Heat Treating but he sounds like an interesting fellow. He is the leader of The next Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club out in Kenosha, WI and his latest invention is Ferroxy treated cast iron cookware. And to round things out we have this picture from a recent SSI Seminar which was held in Michigan just last week. As you can tell it has been a long, cold winter in North America. February 24/2014.
David Russell/Dry Coolers."A celebration of life for David will be this Friday the 21st at Canterbury Village from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm. It will be an open house style and dress is casual. Canterbury Village, King's Court Castle 2325 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion, MI 48360". February 21/2014.
"RUSSELL, DAVID ERIC: of Lake Orion, MI, previously of Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham; died peacefully in his sleep on February 16, 2014; at the age of 64. Beloved father to Kelli, Jeffrey and Molly; son of Dean Louis, Jr. (deceased) and Jeanne; brother to Carmel, Dean III (Patti), Michael (Karen), Brian (Margy), Bruce (Wilma). Survived by many other loving family members and friends. David was employed as sales manager at Dry Coolers Inc. in Oxford, MI for the last 18 years. During his tenure he oversaw a fivefold increase in sales with his steady and dedicated efforts. He loved to read and spent many leisure hours with books studying on various topics with a special love of current events, history and geography. An avid fan of all sports he particularly loved the Detroit Tigers and Lions and he rarely missed a game. He had a passion for playing golf and perfected his game with many friends over the years. David fought cancer for as long as he could before he courageously decided to live out the rest of his life on his terms, having fun and at peace. He spent his last summer surrounded by his family and many lifelong friends, boating, fishing and searching for Walter "The One That Got Away". Many trophy fish were caught including monster pike and bass! The family will receive friends at A Celebration of David's Life on Friday February 21, 2014 from 6 to 10 p.m. all are welcome. Canterbury Village, King's Court Castle 2325 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion, MI 48360. Donations accepted by the children of David Russell".
Bluewater Thermal Processing. We understand that the second largest commercial heat treater in North America, Bluewater Thermal Processing is going through some management changes these days. It would appear that John Pyle who was director of Commercial activities and Mike Skorija who was Director of Supply Chain have parted ways with the company. At this point in time we are not sure who is going to replace these individuals. February 21/2014.
Press Release."Sinterite, a Gasbarre Furnace Group Company, is proud to announce the renewal of its ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Accreditation, allowing the furnace maker to perform certified calibrations for furnace users, which is required by many of the Group’s customers.
The accreditation is with the Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (LAB), headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. LAB specializes in the ISO Standard. The ISO 17025 Accreditation is similar to the 9001 Standard, held by several other Gasbarre companies, but is more specific in requirements for competence. It applies directly to organizations that produce testing and calibration results. This is the primary ISO Standard used by testing and calibration laboratories. Laboratories use this standard to implement a quality system aimed at improving their ability to consistently produce valid results. Since the standard is about competence, accreditation is simply formal recognition of a demonstration of that competence. Like the other standards, ISO 17025 allows accredited companies to carry out procedures in their own way, but an auditor may ask the company to justify its methods. Sinterite’s accreditation proves the methods are valid and acceptable, and the calibration technicians are competent. There is now a documented quality management system in place. With this accreditation, Sinterite joins Gasbarre Press Division, Major Gauge & Tool and McKee Carbide Tool as Gasbarre companies with ISO Accreditation. Sinterite designs, manufactures and services custom continuous belt and batch furnaces for sintering, steam-treating, annealing, brazing and heat-treating applications. Sinterite’s quality design includes alloy and ceramic muffles, powder-handling equipment, custom fabrication products, and the exclusively manufactured HyperCooler, an in-line rapid cooling system, used for sinter-hardening. Sinterite is located in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.
For more information on how Sinterite can provide custom-engineered solutions for your specific thermal processing requirements and heat-treating equipment today, contact Jeff Danaher, Sales and Technology Manager, at (814) 834-2200 or email@example.com. Visit our websites at www.sinterite.com or www.gasbarrefurnacegroup.com for additional information." February 20/2014.
Pat Toruk, UPC/Interview. We are very pleased to have for you today an interview with Mr. Pat Torok the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at UPC Controls one of the best known names in the furnace controls business. The photo further down was taken at the ASM show in Indianapolis, Indiana in September of 2013 and shows Pat the second from the right. Please note that if you click the continue button further down you will get to the complete interview with Pat and his thoughts on how new controls are effecting the heat treat industry. We especially appreciate his ideas on whether new controls are making furnace operators more or less knowledgeable about the process's they are running.
1) Pat one of the things I like the most about the heat treating industry is the fact that it is so close knit. For instance at one point in time I worked with you in the old Marathon days, subsequently I worked for you in the TriadX days and now we are actually competitors. However having said that like most of my competitors I always enjoy running into you at various heat treating events around the world.
"Gord I agree. It is a close knit industry - to the point of being incestuous! I have always enjoyed spending time with you, reps, customers, and other manufacturers in our small family at various heat treat events. What is so gratifying to me is the fact that we all work together (even as competitors) to further the industry."
2) So could you give us some background-how you got started in this industry and what positions you have held over the years?
"Gord I got my start in this industry in 1984 when I was hired as a contract programmer to work on the first industry specific data acquisition / management package which ultimately became known as Process Master. The company was Cincinnati Steel Treating. The guy that hired me was none other than Dan McCurdy (Bodycote). Within a year or so of my hiring this division was sold to a company built by Bill Thompson (SSI) named Marathon Monitors Inc. MMI was busy selling oxygen probes for heat treat applications. This was a perfect fit. The CST division had sophisticated instrumentation and software for heat treat, and MMI had the probe business and the channel to sell it.
Dan and Bill were terrific mentors to me over those years where I held positions as software engineer, systems engineering manager, product manager, and finally VP. of customer services. I left the company after 14 years to form TriadX with T.J. Wright (Wirco) and Dick Wagner where I developed the Furnace Doctor - a portable infrared gas analyzer that was designed specifically for heat treat processes. Ultimately this business was absorbed by Waukee/Furnace Control.
I took a job with Furnace Control Corp/Waukee where I was VP of Technology and worked for another industry “founding father”, Andy Melville. FCC assumed the manufacturing and support of the Furnace Doctor. I left FCC/Waukee after 5 years and took a position as Director of NA Systems Business for West Instruments, a Danaher division. Ultimately I was called home. I was approached by Paul Oleszkiewicz of Nitrex to fill the commercial leadership position in North America for the recently acquired Marathon Monitors, Furnace Control, Waukee Engineering and Process Electronic. Gord it’s been quite a ride and I can’t be happier. The quality of the people at UPC and the amazing technical depth of the staff are unsurpassed.
3) Could you provide a summary of United Process Controls, ownership, size and what you have to offer to the industry?
"United Process Controls (UPC) is a group of diverse technical experts focused on solving customer problems in the areas of materials science, thermal processing, combustion optimization and automation. This is accomplished through our Process Electronic, Marathon Monitors, Waukee Engineering, and Furnace Control brands. We have manufacturing operations in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Bejing, Montreal, Poland and Germany. We also have engineering support and field service groups in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Montreal, Germany, France, Poland, Beijing, Shanghai and Mexico. This along with an extensive network of manufacturers Reps, Distributors and OEM’s gives us a truly global presence. All of our products are compliant to current industry specifications such as NADCAP, AMS 27xx, and CQI 9.
UPC offers the industry customized solutions from standard modules. We have standard packaged systems for most heat treating applications ranging from a simple re-instrumentation to complete heat treat automation. We also offer complete heat treat management/data acquisition software, and sophisticated process modeling software. We employ a highly qualified field engineering and service staff to support our customers. As the world’s largest manufacturer of heat treat oxygen sensors, we are able to accommodate through our Marathon Monitors, Process Electronic, and Furnace Control lines even the most difficult furnace atmosphere application. Our Waukee line is the industry standard in flow measurement & control, gas blending, generator control, and nitrogen-methanol systems. Our core strength is the knowledge and experience of our people. We have metallurgists , chemists, mechanical, electrical and software engineers on our team . This, along with input from our customers leads to directed innovation for product development. The result is creative products that meet and exceed needs of our customers."Continued February 19/2014.
Jerry Hilts/Park Thermal. It is with regret that we mention the passing of Mr. Jerry Hiltz on Tuesday February 18th 2014. Jerry was a life long heat treater who started with Lindberg many years ago and spent the last 30 years at furnace builder Park Thermal in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. While Jerry was adept at most things related to the industry his passion was electrical wiring and control panels. He will be missed. February 19/2014.
Game Changer/Energy Pricing. Earlier this year we published our list of “game changers” in the heat treating industry. #1 on our list was energy costs specifically the fact that due to fracking natural gas pricing in North America has dropped to levels unheard of in most other areas of the world. We just ran across the first documented case where this is proving to have a definite impact. “High UK energy prices have led steelmaker Tata to invest in a heat treatment plant in the US to process South Yorkshire steel, rather than heat treat in the UK before dispatch”. We are certainly not going to be seeing fasteners shipped across the Atlantic for heat treating (especially not at $.065/pound for neutral hardening-you can barely ship across state lines for that price) but we now have a concrete example of a company choosing to heat treat steel in the US as opposed to Europe just because of low natural gas pricing and this is obviously taking into account shipping costs. A very interesting development and we anticipate more examples of this in the future. February 18/2014.
David Russell/Dry Coolers. It is with extreme regret that we mention the passing of David Russell of Dry Coolers. David was a good man, a fun man, and a well known individual in the heat treating industry and one who I will always remember for his rather direct approach to things and his very distinguished rather gravelly voice which I always enjoyed. David worked for many years at Dry Coolers a well known company in the heat treat industry who provide water cooling systems. While I know little about his personal life I do know his two brothers Brian Russell(founder of Dry Coolers) and Dean Russell a well known rep in the US Northeast both of whom are fine individuals and like David very colorful in their own ways. While his passing is very unfortunate and very upsetting at the end of the day death is a part of life. February 18/2014.
Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum/Press Release. "February 17, 2014 - At the 2014 PITTCON Conference & Expo, at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL March 2 – 6, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum will present a new line of turbo molecular pumps with integrated drive electronics. The new pumps of the TURBOVAC i product line consistently offer the highest performance even for widely differing requirements. Through their additional compression stage, the TURBOVAC 350 i and 450 i are particularly well suited for ultra-high vacuum applications and for integration within compact pump system solutions. Offering a pumping speed for light gases which is up to 60% above that of comparative products, and a compression level which is approximately 100 times higher compared to products of the previous generation, these pumps were designed especially for processes with small backing pumps. The TURBOVAC T 350 i and T 450 i designed with classic rotors excel with regard to high gas throughput, fast run-up time and insensitivity to particulates and are therefore optimized for process applications and high gas loads. About Oerlikon; Oerlikon (SWX: OERL) is among the world's most successful industrial high-tech companies focusing on machine and systems engineering. Oerlikon stands for leading industrial solutions and cutting-edge technology in textile production, propulsion, vacuum systems, thin film coating and advanced nano technology. As a company with Swiss roots, a tradition of over 100 years and more than 12,700 employees at 160 locations in 34 countries, Oerlikon has evolved into a global player today with sales amounting to CHF 2.9 billion in 2012. In 2012, the company invested CHF 106 Mio. in research and development. More than 1,000 specialists create products and services for tomorrow. The group is ranked first or second in each of its respective markets. Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum manufactures vacuum pumps for a broad range of advanced vacuum solutions for use in manufacturing and analytical processes, as well as for research purposes. The core capabilities center on the development of application- and customer-specific systems for the creation of vacuums and extraction of processing gases. Fields of application are semiconductor and data storage industries, analytical instruments and also classic industrial branches."
Monday Morning Briefing. New furnace builder JL Becker Company of Plymouth, MI is going through some changes these days. In 2011 the company was acquired by Gasbarre Products who formed the Gabarre Furnace Group which includes Sinterite, JL Becker and C.I. Hayes(Sales of the group are approximately $30 million, with about 25% being international business). The founder of the company, Mr. John Becker agreed to stay on for a certain period of time and the official date of him leaving the company is February 18th-Tuesday of this week. To replace John it was recently announced the Mr. Ben Crawford formerly of Bodycote and Bluewater Thermal would be joining the company as Sales Manager and now we hear that Mr. Ben Gasbarre, nephew of the owner of the company, Mr. Bill Gasbarre is now the new General Manager of the JL Becker Company. The Metal Treating Institute (MTI), of Jacksonville, Fla.,reports that year-to-date sales for the Metal Treating Industry for December 2013 were $877.0 million. This is a decrease of 2.0% from 2012, when sales for January-December equaled $894.5 million. Sales for December 2013 totaled $66.8 million, an increase of 7.6% from 2012, when sales for December equaled $62.1 million. MTI counts most North American commercial heat treaters as their members.
Al-Fe Heat Treating, in Charlotte, N.C., announces that its ferrous heat-treating plant has achieved TS16949 Certification, allowing the company to be a direct, tier-one supplier to the automotive industry. The plant has operated under ISO 9001 2008, which is general industry certification, and this new level ensures documentation and administrative processes are up to automotive standards. Alfe is one of the largest commercial heat treaters in North America and is best known for their aluminum processing. In Mexico we see that aerospace manufacturer Gulfstream recently sold a large underused CEC Batch IQ furnace they had in their plant in Calexico to a customer in the US. CEC (best known for aluminum processing equipment) built 2 or 3 batch IQ lines with a Chinese partner a number of years back and this furnace was a result of this partnership. French furnace builder ECM Technologies who was one of the first companies to become involved in vacuum carburizing equipment recently entered into a partnership with a company by the name of Hephaes in China to strengthen their development in Asia. This integration follows the opening of their international subsidiaries in the United States, China and India.
In Germany we understand that commercial heat treating giant Bodycote had an explosion at their plant in Sprockhövel shortly after midnight January 30th. The explosion was the result of a broken gas pipe on one of the furnaces and one worker was seriously injured. The fire was extinguished by workers in the plant after the basement had filled with gas. This reminds us yet again that even with a company as concerned with safety as Bodycote heat treating can be a dangerous business. Want an idea about the size of the heat treating market in China? A reader in China sent us the photo below showing the opening of a vacuum furnace manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China. The name of the company is Beijing Huahai Zhongyi(HHZY) industrial furnaces Co.,Ltd., a name which we are totally unfamiliar with. However this company builds approximately 150 furnaces per year, has just under 200 employees and over the past 10 years has sold over 1200 furnaces which includes vacuum furnaces for nitriding, nitrocarburizing, plasma, annealing and high temperature up to 2,800C although most have been vacuum oil quench units similar to the CI Hays furnaces of the 1970’s. HHZY has two locations one in Beijing and this new location in Nanjing. 95% of these furnaces are sold to local manufacturers in China although the company has exported furnaces to the US, Singapore and Australia. Based upon this information we believe HHZY to be the largest Chinese owned vacuum furnace manufacturer.
And in lightweight news about the industry we have this photo from controls company SSI of Cincinnati about their second annual Chili Cookoff. “SSi hosted their 2nd annual Chili Cookoff. It included a 2nd category this year for soup which both were fitting based on the winter that we are having. Congratulations to Christy Resnik for the best chili and Howard Wang for the best soup". February 17/2014.
VAC AERO Press Release. VAC AERO Commissions a Vacuum Furnace at a Research Center in South Korea!Burlington, Ontario, February 17, 2014 - VAC AERO has recently commissioned a horizontal vacuum furnace at a major South Korean university metallurgical research center. The VAH5058 HV-8 furnace chamber is 36” wide X 36” high X 58” long with a hot zone comprised of high efficiency graphite felt, carbon composite and curved graphite elements. It is equipped with a gas quench system capable of quickly cooling the workload from processing temperatures, at quench pressures of up to eight bar. The furnace operating system is based on VAC AERO's versatile HC900 interactive hybrid control package with SCADA and complete network integration capabilities and remote monitoring and control.
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 February 17/2014
ASM Meeting/Inland Empire Chapter. From Bob Grammer, a well respected rep in the US Northwest US we have this report about a recent ASM meeting. "This photo shows John R. (Chip) Keogh, ASM Trustee and Board Members at an ASM Inland Empire Executive Committee meeting last night, Feb. 12th in Spokane, Washington. The meeting was held inside a renovated boiler in the old Spokane Steam Plant. A great restaurant by the way.
Seated Right to left: Cedric Devaney, Past Chair, Hi-Rel Labs;
John Keogh, ASM Trustee, Chairman - Applied Process Technologies Livonia, Michigan
Trevor Devaney, Past Chair, President Hi-Rel Labs
Ron Palma, Past Chair, Hi-Rel Labs
Alex Fabrick, Washing State Univ. Materials Advantage Chapter
Ryan McIlvaney, Past Chair, Hi-Rel Labs
Camera man - Yours truly
Later at the full chapter meeting, John Keogh gave a very enlightening and entertaining presentation on the properties and applications of Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI). The main message was that this relatively new material can reduce the weight and dramatically reduce the energy required (and therefore cost) of many automotive, truck and heavy equipment components. It was an exciting talk to say the least. We highly recommend John to other ASM chapters who are looking for a great speaker. Attendance at the meeting was 36 including ASM chapter members, 8 students and faculty from Washington State University and visitors from local industry. On the previous evening the ASMIE chapter held the first of 3 classes on Introduction to Materials to a class of 56 people from industry around the area on the campus of Gonzaga University. Yes, the Gonzaga with the great basketball team!
Incidentally, a couple of other interesting side points:
1. John is the brother of Bill Keough, owner of AFC-Holroft. John is also the holder of two engineering degrees - one in Materials Science and one in Mechanical Engineering. He is very involved in local Detroit ASM chapter and Materials Advantage activities.
2. ASM surprised me (Bob Grammer) with a Lifetime Membership Award last night - 40+ years. February 14/2014.
Solar Manufacturing Press Release."Solar Manufacturing, makers of leading-technology vacuum heat treat furnaces, recently released on their website and in printed format two helpful booklets for companies operating vacuum furnaces. The two booklets are the latest in a series of practical helps intended for the benefit of all vacuum furnace users.
The two booklets are: “Important Considerations When Purchasing a Vacuum Furnace” which shares practical insights from eleven (11) important areas critical to the wise purchase of a vacuum furnace. These eleven (11) areas include hot zone work area, load capacity, and insulating materials; temperature range; vacuum level and system components; furnace chamber design; gas cooling system, electrical power supply and controls; and several other critical areas. “Important Considerations in Selecting a Vacuum Furnace Water Cooling System” delves deeper into water cooling systems. This helpful booklet covers the components on a vacuum furnace that may need to be water cooled, the different type of water cooling systems available on the market and the advantages and disadvantages of each, pretreatments that are necessary or advisable with each type of cooling system, and shares a real-life example of water cooling systems. These two booklets can be downloaded at www.solarmfg.com/technical-articles, or by sending an email to Lori Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call and request a copy: 215-721-1502 x1234.
In addition to these two booklets, Solar Manufacturing also offers five (5) other booklets:
“Understanding Power Losses in Vacuum Furnaces”
“Understanding PID Temperature Control as Applied to Vacuum Furnace Performance”
“Operating a Vacuum Furnace Under Humid Conditions”
“Temperature Uniformity Surveying for Vacuum Furnaces”
“Critical Melting Points for Metals and Alloys”
Other technical articles, in addition to these booklets, can be found at the website address above (www.solarmfg.com/technical-articles). Solar Manufacturing also produces and sponsors a bi-monthly audio podcast that is available at www.solarmfg.com/multimedia/podcasts. The podcasts are available free of charge. If you would like to be alerted when the next podcast is posted, please email your request to email@example.com. February 14/2014.
Ipsen Press Release."Over the last two months, Ipsen has shipped 14 vacuum furnaces. Shipments left Illinois to serve customers in three other countries — Taiwan, Mexico and Hungary — as well as eight states in the U.S. Among the 14 vacuum furnace systems shipped in the past weeks were several MetalMaster® furnaces, both horizontal and vertical; TITAN® T tempering furnaces; a Vertical Aluminum Brazer; a TurboTreater®; and several other TITAN® furnaces. The recipients of these furnaces are as varied as the countries in which they are located: an Aerospace company; Commercial Heat Treating companies; a Medical Device manufacturer; a Turbo Machinery Computer Aided manufacturer, an Aeronautical and Industrial Engine manufacturer; a global provider of 3D printing machines and printed products; and a leading firearm manufacturer. To serve customers in such varied industries, Ipsen expertly designs and manufactures furnaces to handle varied processes such as debinding and sintering; tempering; vacuum carburizing; brazing and nitriding. These innovative thermal processing solutions are capable of meeting CQI-9, Nadcap and AMS 2750E and other applicable industry requirements. Ipsen also provides automation controls, operator and maintenance training, global engineering, responsive field support and spare parts to keep your equipment running at peak performance. Ipsen offers a wide variety of heat treat equipment lines plus custom-built solutions. Some features that can be tailored to your specifications are: horizontal or vertical configurations; manual or automatic loading systems; custom load size/configurations; high pressure gas quenching; and control systems to support your stringent requirements. Choosing Ipsen means choosing a partner in success each step of the way, from design and installation to service and support. Find an Ipsen representative today at IpsenUSA.com/map." February 14/2014.
New Hampshire Ball Bearings Explosion. Earlier this week bearing manufacturer and captive heat treater New Hampshire Ball Bearings in Peterborough, NH had a very serious explosion. While at first glance it does not appear that this was related to the heat treating department it certainly had to do with surface treatment. February 13/2014.
"The explosion at New Hampshire Ball Bearings appears to have originated from a drum in the "acid room" where different chemicals are used, Deputy State Fire Marshall Max Schultz said at a news conference outside the manufacturing plant on Route 202 Tuesday. "This occurred shortly after a shift change, so we're trying to look at the shift change, what that process was, who was involved and what happened," Schultz said. "It takes time. There are a lot of people to talk to and a lot of information to gather." The investigation includes local, state and federal agencies, he said. Two critically injured employees have not been interviewed yet, he said. The 14 people who were hurt Monday afternoon suffered burns and trauma injuries, officials said. The blast did substantial damage to the interior of the building, Schultz said, but no one was "right in the proximity of the drum in the acid room." Investigators are also trying to determine if one or two explosions occurred, since some employees reported hearing a small pop just before the large blast that shook the building Monday at 3:37 p.m., he said. "We're treating this as an industrial incident that occurred," Schultz said. "We don't believe there is any criminal aspect at this time." The company announced on its website Tuesday night that all work shifts have been canceled for today, "with the goal of resuming operations on Thursday in select departments, including component fabrication, component fabrication support groups, and office personnel." The site also announced that counseling for employees will be available today at the satellite training facility at 375 Jaffrey Road, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Earlier Tuesday, Rich Bardellini, NHBB vice president of manufacturing, said employees would not be returning to work until a hazardous materials team and structural engineers officially say the building is safe. "Our goal is to restore operations in those areas not impacted as quickly as possible," he said. "However, we will not have our employees return until state officials and NHBB management are convinced beyond any doubt that it is safe to return to work." Bardellini would not go into details about what chemicals are used in the acid room other than to say, "Basically what we do in that room is the surface treatment of our parts."
Centorr Vacuum Industries Press Release."2014 marks a major milestone for Centorr Vacuum Industries in its long history as one of the most innovative and experienced firms in the vacuum furnace industry. Today's CVI is the combination of two companies, Vacuum Industries, founded in 1954 in Somerville, MA, and the Centorr Furnace Company, founded in 1962 in Suncook, NH. Vacuum Industries was started by the principles of the original National Research Corp. in Boston (a company that did some of the original work in vacuum diffusion pumps). It had a long history in the design and building of production size furnaces, primarily for the metals and hardmetals industry. Centorr Furnaces was a Laboratory and R&D furnace manufacturer, and was known for doing some of the first high temperature 3000°C furnaces for the growing ceramics market. In later years Centorr was known as a world leader in Fiber Optics and high-temperature Hydrogen sintering furnaces for the lighting industry.
The two companies were merged in 1989 in new facilities in Nashua, NH where they are located today. In 1997, they became 100% management owned and are now run as a private company under their President and CEO William Nareski. “We have enjoyed long term success over the past 60 years because our highest priority is keeping each and every customer happy with our equipment and service” stated Mr. Nareski. Today they have 65 employees in the US and operate in 20,000 SF of office space and 30,000 SF of manufacturing space including an in-house lab and high-bay for constructing tall vertical furnace designs.
Centorr Vacuum Industries is considered one of the premier custom and standardized vacuum furnace manufacturers in their market segment and are a world leader in the supply of high temperature vacuum and controlled atmosphere furnaces with an installed base of over 6500 units worldwide. They operate a fully staffed Aftermarket Field Service group, and Applied Technology Center offering R&D support and toll production service. For more information please visit www.centorr.com"February 13/2014.
What's it Worth? What you are looking at in this photo is probably the most common endo generator in North America and something which virtually every heat treater on the continent has seen at one time or another. A Surface Combustion 2400 CFH endothermic generator. While it looks a little dated compared to the newer "multi bottle" style offered by most furnace manufacturers, in it's heyday in the 1970's and 80's Surface produced hundreds if not thousands of these units and to this day they are a very common sight in many heat treats. This particular one has two retorts, water cooling as opposed to air which is a bit of a drawback and an oxygen probe for atmosphere control. For a unit such as this in good condition value on the used market would be roughly $15,000 USD however this is assuming that the retorts are in passable shape, catalyst is at least not "pooched" and pumps are in half decent condition. Of course air cooling would help but at the end of the day units such as this are still in demand. Having said all this what buyers want now are multi bottle units which means one or more retorts can be shut down for either lack of demand or routine maintenance. February 12/2014.
IWT, Bremen, Germany. Research organization IWT in Bremen, Germany in conjunction with AWT (the German Heat Treat Association) recently installed a furnace to design and test oxygen probes. The furnace was provided by furnace builder Rohde Schutzgasöfen GmbH and supporting companies include MESA Electronic GmbH, Process Electronic GmbH, thermo-control Körtvélyessy GmbH, ZIROX Sensoren & Elektronik GmbH and Air Products GmbH. With this new test bench a new approach begins. The test bench consists of a tube furnace with a temperature uniformity of ± 1°C at 950°C in the measuring chamber. In this measuring chamber it is possible to place and test up to 3 oxygen probes at the same time. Therefore a qualified gas mixture is introduced into the chamber at different temperatures and the function of the oxygen probes is tested according to the Nernst equation. The following requirements are necessary to obtain a total accuracy of the C-level determination with oxygen probes of ± 0.02 % C during carburizing:
certified thermocouple type S, class 1 (±1°)
temperature recording class 0.1%,
voltmeter class 0.1%
certified test gas (calibration gas) with <1% test gas accuracy
The photo below shows Prof. Hans-Werner Zoch (left) and Dr. Heinrich Klümper-Westkamp of IWT standing in front of the new furnace. February 12/2014.
ALD-Holcroft Vacuum Carburizing Symposium. May 6th and 7th will see the ALD-Holcroft Vacuum Carburizing Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan. This was an excellent event the last time it was held in 2012 and supposedly attendance will surpass the last event topping out at close to 200 people. We searched through our records from 2012 and came up with these photos which are most interesting because they show some of the most influential people in the industry although we can probably discount Jim Wilbur from the list of the most influential. February 11/2014.
The guys from Chrysler, Kokomo, Indiana one of the largest vacuum carburizing installations in the world
Jim Demarest, Marco Moser (SAFE North American Cronite), Paul Armitage, Jim Wilbur, Brian Russell(Dry Coolers)
Ron Bryant (ZF at the time), Clayton Pinkos (Baldor Electric)
Carlos Torres (Mattsa Crio), David (Chrysler, Kokomo)
Sury McFaul (Sun Hydraulics), Gord Montgomery
Monday Morning Briefing. We are going to start with India today. First up we have this photo of Mr. Bill Disler, CEO of furnace builder AFC-Holcroft with Mr. Pai of BGL Furnaces. Bill has this to say; "Mr. Pai, BGL Furnaces and I in hunt of new Pusher furnace business in India's rather slow economy. We have been meeting with a number of top notch customers and India is always an exciting place to visit with the ever growing industry".
Staying in India we have this photo from furnace builder ALD-Dynatach. This picture shows one of two oil quench furnaces that ALD-Dynatech is shipping this month to Indian and European commercial heat treating customers. The furnace has 2200 pounds loading capability; efficient, fast and uniform oil quench design; and a Low Pressure Carburizing system.
What the heck we will throw in one more photo this from Wisconsin Oven showing a new installation for them in the USA.
In unfortunate news a long time heat treater recently passed away. "John J. Kozelski, age 86, passed away peacefully on 1/22/09 at Frankford Bucks Hospital. He was born and raised in Passaic, NJ. He was a U.S. Army Vet of WWII and served as a 1st Lt. and Rifle Platoon Leader with the 80th infantry div. in Europe. He saw action at the Battle of the Bulge and received a Purple Heart, 2 bronze stars and a WWII Victory Ribbon. He was a graduate of Virginia Tech Class of 1944. He was an employee of Wall Colmonoy Co. of Morrisville. He worked as a Branch Plant Mgr. and was instrumental in the formation of the brazing, welding and heat treat div. of that company as well as the ABAR Corp. and Vacuum' Furnace System. After retirement he acted as a Consultant for these companies. He and his wife moved here to the newly formed Levittown area to raise their children. He will be remembered as a very loving, caring and generous man who loved to spend time with his children. He was an avid sports fan who enjoyed playing sports in his early years; especially baseball. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus, American Welding Society and the VFW. He was preceded in death by his parents John J. and Catherine Kozelski; and 2 grandchildren Steven and Elizabeth. He will be sadly missed by his wife of 66 years Stephanie (nee: Kraska); and his children Linda Kozelski of Levittown and Kenneth Kozelski and his wife Ginger of Camden, SC. He is the loving grandfather of Jeffery and John Kozelski of Charleston, SC, and Kristen Kozelski of Columbia, SC, and great granddaughter Levi Johnson of Columbia, SC. He is also survived by a daughter-in-law Lanie Kozelski of Columbia, SC; his dear family friend Rene Gesmonde; and nieces, nephews and cousins. Relatives and friends are invited to call Wed. 7-9pm and Thur. 8:30-9:30am at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 3500 Bristol Oxford Valley Rd., Levittown. Followed by his funeral Mass 10am at Immaculate Conception Church. Burial will follow in Resurrection Cemetery. The family requests memorial contributions to Immaculate Conception Church, 5201 Emilie Rd., Levittown, PA 19057".
Last week we mentioned how Mike Wellham, CEO of the largest US based commercial heat treater Bluewater Thermal had just parted ways with the company. This marks the second top management individual with the company who has parted ways with the firm, the other being Ben Crawford, COO who left a few months ago. Speculation is ripe about how this will effect the company, our feeling is that it is a strong, profitable company with an enormous pool of talent and at the end of the day little will change. While Bluewater is the largest US based commercial heat treater the largest is UK based Bodycote a publicly traded company which is well regarded by the financial community. At this point in time the share price is 683 pence which is very close to the yearly peak of 730 pence. Kevin Janisse formally of Kleenair(new furnaces) has just started with the Furnace Division of Siemans, which are the former FCE guys, which are the former Drever guys-follow that? Where are they now? Sachin Ghai. Seriously where is Sachin? Sachin has been involved with the heat treating industry in Canada for many years most recently at captive heat treater Northstar in Milton, Ontario. A former co worker wanted to get back in touch with him and we have lost track of him. Commercial heat treater Alfe Heat Treating is returning as a major associated on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team in 2014 for the fourth straight season. Alfe specializes in aluminum heat treating and takes this sponsorship very seriously.
And to round things out for today we have this report on Natural Gas Pricing which is far and away the first energy choice for heat treaters in North America. The report shows pricing inching up slightly but not enough to cause any alarm in the industry. "With another wave of cold weather, natural gas spot prices rose during the report week (January 22 through January 29) at most locations. The Henry Hub spot price hit its highest level since February 2010 on Monday, January 27, settling at $5.69/ MMBtu. Prices at the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) also reached levels that have not been seen since 2010. Overall prices rose from $4.689/MMBtu to $5.557/MMBtu. Working natural gas in storage decreased to 2193 Bcf as of Friday, January 24. A net storage withdrawal of 230 Bcf for the week resulted in storage levels 22.5% below year-ago levels and 16.6% below the five-year average. The natural gas rotary rig count totaled 356 as of January 24, which represents a decline of nine rigs from the previous week, and 78 rigs from the same time last year, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Oil rigs rose by 8 units to 1,416, which is 101 greater than last year at this time. The total rig count was 1777, up 24 from a year ago. The weekly average natural gas plant liquids composite price rose 11.4% January 21 through January 24, compared to the previous week, and is now at $12.56/MMBtu. Prices of ethane and propane, the two largest components of the NGL composite price, rose 28.5% and 12.6%, respectively. Butane, isobutene, and natural gasoline rose 9.0%, 8.3%, and 1.3%, respectively". February 10/2014.
Mike Wellham/Bluewater Thermal. We understand that late yesterday Mike Wellham, CEO of Bluewater Thermal the largest US based commercial heat treater with multiple locations around the US and Canada parted ways with the company. While Mike did not come from a heat treating background he did a very competent job in running the company in our opinion. It is unsure who will be the new CEO of Bluewater but we would guess that long time heat treater Jeff Hemmer who has been with Bluewater for some time will be in the running and he deserves to be. On a personal note we have to say that we will miss Mike and we feel he did a great job for Bluewater but at the end of the day things always change. February 7/2014.
Solar Manufacturing Press Release. "Solar Manufacturing Issues Podcast on Helium Shortage. Souderton, PA. 02/05/14 –Solar Manufacturing published the latest podcast in its bimonthly series in cooperation with Industrial Heating called “Vacuum Heat Treat Minute”. This first installment of 2014 deals with the nationwide helium shortage. Accompanying Bill Jones and Jim Nagy of Solar Manufacturing is Bob Hill of Solar Atmospheres. He will suggest ways that commercial heat treaters and manufacturers involved in high-pressure gas quenching can work around the helium shortage.
Metals Engineering/Omega Metal Treating Inc. And proving that hard work and smart thinking always pays off we have this press release about how commercial heat treater Metals Engineering in Green Bay, WI., USA just acquired commercial heat treater Omega Metal Treating in De Pere, WI. While both are relatively small heat treaters we are extremely impressed about how Ted Kemen, CEO of Metals Engineering has grown his company in a relatively short period of time and is already on the way to being a future Bodycote. Ted is a great guy and we wish him the best of luck. February 6/2014.
"Cornerstone Business Services, Inc. is pleased to announce the acquisition of Omega Metal Treating, Inc. by Metals Engineering. Omega Metal Treating, Inc., located in De Pere, Wisconsin is a privately held company, providing metal heat treating services in and around east and northeast Wisconsin. A quality focused ISO 9001:2008 certified heat treatment facility, it specializes in serving the foundry, machining, OEM, and other industries. Metals Engineering (www.metalsengineering.net) is also an ISO 9001:2008 certified commercial heat treater located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Established in 1968, Metals Engineering was seeking a strategic acquisition based on customer demand and a mission to grow. The Omega Metal Treating purchase is consistent with their growth strategy which was to broaden their customer base, gain greater capacity, and increase production space. Ted Kemen, CEO, said of the purchase “Omega is a great synergistic acquisition for us. They have the same strong customer centric focus we have. We will now be able to offer all of our clients a more complete array of heat treating services.”
Ben Crawford/JL Becker Company. We mentioned this yesterday as a very interesting news item but today we follow up with the official press release. February 6/2014.
"Ben Crawford Joins J.L. Becker Company as Sales Manager. J.L. Becker, a Gasbarre Furnace Group Company, is pleased to announce the hiring of Ben Crawford for the position of Sales Manager. Prior to working for J.L. Becker, Ben has served in management roles for companies providing commercial heat-treating and brazing solutions to a diverse customer base, including automotive, aerospace, agricultural and power generation. Ben’s experience at all levels of management with all types of customers provides him the knowhow needed to recognize and embrace the challenges Becker’s customers are faced with. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana State University, along with a Master of Business Administration from Bethel College. He is also a member of Corps Group, as well as the Metal Treating Institute Board of Trustees. Located in Plymouth, MI, J. L. Becker has manufactured industrial heat-treating equipment for over 40 years, providing excellence in design, construction and service. The company custom designs and manufactures heat treating equipment for the specific needs of our customers. For more information on how J.L. Becker can provide custom engineered solutions for your specific thermal heating requirements and manufactured heat treating equipment, contact Bill Gasbarre at 814.590.6282, or visit our websites at www.jlbecker.comor www.gasbarrefurnacegroup.com".
Ben Crawford/JL Becker Company. Ben Crawford a very well known individual in the North American heat treating industry will become the Sales Manager for JL Becker Company effective February 17th 2014. Ben most recently served as COO of commercial heat treater Bluewater Thermal the largest US based commercial heat treater. JL Becker Company of Michigan is a manufacturer of new heat treating furnaces and is part of the Gasbarre Group of companies. More on this interesting story tomorrow. February 5/2014.
Heat Treat Safety. By its very nature heat treating can be a dangerous industry due to the high temperatures involved, risk of fires, heavy loads and potentially dangerous quench mediums. Over the years we at "The Monty" have seen it all from vacuum furnace doors blowing off mid quench and killing and maiming workers, quench oil explosions and fires, individuals falling into salt quenches, deaths due to asphyxiation when pits have filled with nitrogen-even co workers throwing another into an oil quench. Unfortunately it is a very saddening list and this was the abbreviated list. However very seldom are these accidents shared with the industry and we know of no studies that go into great detail about the most common accidents in the industry. We would like to change this, not with the idea of pointing fingers (as a matter of fact we will go out of our way not to do so) but with the intent of educating the industry on the potential risks and the possible solutions. So begins a periodic series on “Safety in the Heat Treating Industry” a series where we welcome constructive comments from all involved. We start off with an excellent article by Mr. John Keough of commercial heat treater Applied Process in the US. When it comes to a number of salt processes we can think of no other who has the experience and knowledge that “Chip” has. We start off with salt only because there is a strong misconception out there that salt can be hazardous when in actual fact it is reasonably benign when a little common sense is applied as you can see from Chip's comments. February 5/2014.
Safety in Salt Quenching
Salt quenching using nitrite, nitrate salt is reliable, environmentally friendly, economical and safe.
Why use Quench Salts?
Molten salt is the quenching medium most commonly used in austempering and marquenching of ferrous materials because:
It transfers heat rapidly,
It virtually eliminates the problem of a vapor phase barrier during the initial stage of quenching,
Its viscosity is uniform over a wide range of temperatures,
Its viscosity is low at austempering temperatures (similar to that of water at room temperature), thus minimizing drag out losses,
It remains stable at operating temperatures and is completely soluble in water, thus facilitating subsequent cleaning operations,
Salts can be easily recovered from wash waters by evaporative methods and recycled,
Salt does not burn or catch fire like quenching oils,
Salt produces no smoke.
The most common salts used for quenching are nitrite/nitrate salts; various mixtures of sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate.Continued
Equipment Wanted. The used furnace market follows a very predictable path. During the bad times (such as 2008-2009) the market is flooded with used furnaces which are either scrapped or purchased by used equipment dealers at very attractive prices. During the good times such as the past 3 years the supply dwindles and prices increase with the result that currently there is a real shortage of good furnaces forcing many heat treaters to buy new. With this background we have specific and very serious requests for several used items which can be found below. Heat treaters with these items surplus will find that there has never been a better time to sell. Should you have items that meets the criteria below we would appreciate hearing about it at Jordan@themonty.com February 5/2014.
Lindberg Draw Furnace. Pacemaker Companion Draw – Electric Model: 13-EC-489636-12.
Mesh belt furnace line with oil quench & temper. Gas fired with a capacity of at least 2,000 pounds/hour.
Picture Day. We always enjoy photos of impressive heat treating installations or for that matter pictures of the equipment being built. With that in mind we have a photo below from Rockford Heat Treaters showing a nickel brazing load going into their Ipsen, "TITAN" vacuum furnace. Just below this we have several pictures from Wisconsin Oven (quite possibly the largest oven builder in North America) showing a number of ovens in various stages of construction.Should you have interesting photos to share "The Monty" is the place to do it be they pictures of equipment, captive heat treats, commercials or pretty well anything else to do with the industry. February 4/2014.
Metco Coatings Unit Sale. What makes this European story interesting is that coatings company Metco (a division of Swiss company Sulzer) was courted by a number of potential buyers including Bodycote, EQT and Praxair. Bodycote as we all know is the world's largest commercial heat treater and EQT (a Swedish Investment company formed roughly 30 years ago) made their first investment in what was Brukens Heat treat (which later became Böhler and then Bodycote) which at the time was the largest European heat treat group. About 6 years ago EQT was one of the investors in the MTH Group (Schmetz, BMI, Mahler, IVA, Huisen now Tenova) before it was sold to European Capital and Tenova last year. So the moral of the story is that heat treating and coatings go hand in hand which will not likely surprise anybody. February 4/2014.
"Sulzer sells Metco coatings unit to Oerlikon for $950 million in cash. (Reuters) - Swiss machinery manufacturer Sulzer (SUN.S) agreed to sell its coatings unit Metco to peer Oerlikon (OERL.S) for around 850 million Swiss francs ($949 million) in cash, as it seeks to focus on it three main businesses. The deal is based on a enterprise value - equity plus debt -of 1 billion Swiss francs, Sulzer said in a statement published on Friday. Sulzer put Metco up for sale last year to concentrate on more lucrative businessesmaking pumps and equipment and providing services for the oil and gas industry. "We are pleased that we have found a new owner for the Sulzer Metco division that will leverage the strengths of the business in the best possible way," Sulzer Chief Executive Klaus Stahlmann said. Metco, the world's largest maker of thermal spray coatings for the car, chemicals and energy industries, had sales of 690 million francs and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 91.7 million francs in 2012. It employs around 2,400 people. Buyout group EQT was also said to have submitted a bid for Metco, according to three people familiar with the transaction. In a separate statement, Oerlikon said it plans to combine Metco with its existing coatings business to increase its market access. The combined business will operate around 130 facilities and employ some 6,000 people. "This step marks an important milestone for the Oerlikon Group, creating the technologically leading global product and service company for Surface Solutions," said Oerlikon CEO Brice Koch. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter. ($1 = 0.8959 Swiss francs)"February 4/2014.
Solar Atmospheres Press Release. "Solar Atmospheres Presents Vacuum Heat Treating Course at ASM. Souderton, PA. February 3, 2014 – Solar Atmospheres and ASM International at Materials Park in Ohio have partnered to offer a new Vacuum Heat Treating Course. This new course provides students with a means to combine basic vacuum heat treatment theory with hands-on instruction using the new ASM laboratory vacuum furnace donated by Solar Atmospheres, Inc., and manufactured by Solar Manufacturing Inc. The first class of the new ASM course offering was taught in December 2013, with subsequent courses scheduled for April 2014, and September 2014. The course was developed by Solar Atmospheres’ consultant in chemistry and metallurgy Virginia Osterman, PhD, who works closely with Solar Atmospheres Research and Development group. This course covers the background of vacuum measurement, vacuum furnace design, and vacuum technology as it applies to various metallurgical processes. Dr. Osterman noted, “Having a basic understanding of vacuum theory and its application in heat treating in itself is valuable, however with the added benefit of the new “Mentor” Vacuum Furnace students now can see how to put theory into practice and get a better understanding as to why the use of vacuum heat treat processes add value to a product.”
ABOUT SOLAR ATMOSPHERES; Solar Atmospheres is one of the world’s largest providers of commercial vacuum heat treating services. Through unmatched technical expertise, equipment, and quality assurance, Solar's thermal processing produces bright, scale-free parts with minimal distortion. For clients requiring an "out-of-the ordinary" application, an in-house R&D team of metallurgists and scientists develop innovative, custom process solutions. Serving over 18 markets, Solar's state-of-the
art services include vacuum brazing, carburizing, nitriding and advanced processing of raw materials such as Titanium, Tantalum, and nano powders. With over 50 furnaces ranging from lab sized to the world’s largest commercial vacuum
furnaces, Solar can efficiently handle any size job. Headquartered in Souderton, near Philadelphia, Solar also operates
plants in Hermitage, near Pittsburgh and in Fontana, California, near Los Angeles. Please visit www.solaratm.com for more information." February 4/2014.
Seminar students programming “The Mentor.”
Wind Power. Once upon a time there was a brave new world for gear and bearing manufacturers and this was called “Wind Power”. Prevailing wisdom had it that wind power would be so successful that enormous markets would open for suppliers of gears, races and bearings and that heat treaters and furnace builders would be part of this brave new world. Heat treaters saw the need for larger furnaces and furnace builders salivated thinking of all the new large furnaces that would be required. Europeans (who were far and away the largest proponents of wind power) generally went the route of pit furnaces to heat treat the components and North Americans went with a mixture of batch IQ furnaces and pits. Keep in mind that heat treating of gears is the utopia of heat treating-large parts, long cycles and good profit margins. We all waited and anticipated and? Well as we all know while there was some demand it never, ever met it’s initial billing with the result that many firms have completely abandoned this market. We can think of a large gear manufacturer in the North Eastern US who cancelled all plans for additional furnace capacity for windmill components and a very large US bearing supplier who recently sold the furnaces they had initially installed for heat treating bearing races for windmills. Perhaps we just have to wait a while until wind power comes into it’s own? A funny thing happened in the past few years though and that is fracking which is starting to provide much of the world with inexpensive natural gas at a fraction of the cost of wind power which in our opinion is going to spell the death of the wind energy industry although it is going to be a long and painful death. From the birthplace of the windmill industry, the European Union we have this first sign that Europe is backing off of their “touted” renewable energy plans. The abbreviated article below recently appeared in the "National Post". February 3/2014.
"The intent remains to raise the percentage of power that EU countries get from renewable resources to 27% by 2030 from a still-binding goal of 20% by 2020. But there would no longer be a legally binding mechanism to force countries to meet these goals by 2030. This fudging of “green rules,” designed to curb pollution and tackle global warming, has been an indirect acknowledgement by the Old World that it can no longer afford to put its money where its mouth is. With most of the continent reeling from grave economic problems that look as if they will persist at least through this decade, if not far longer, higher green energy costs were not sustainable, however noble the reasons for them. Every major western European country, and some smaller ones such as Greece and Romania, have slashed renewable energy subsidies because in the current economic stagnation they cannot afford them and because in many cases the demand for subsidies has been far greater than predicted. This has not gone over well with emerging state-supported industries that have feasted on these handouts. As European economies have teetered, planned wind farm and solar power projects have been cancelled, postponed or scaled back. Another important consideration has been that European businesses must compete against American firms that are seeing their energy costs reduced dramatically by the flood of shale gas, and to a lesser extent, oil now entering the market".
Heat Treat Question. A captive heat treater in North America posed this question to us, a question for which we do not have an answer. If any of our readers have an answer to this please let us know and we will put you in touch. February 3/2014.
"Good Morning theMonty.com! We at “XYZ Company” have heat treated our parts for the past couple of years. We batch heat treat w/ an oil quench using endothermic atmosphere. We used to do a water quench but some past heat treat operator said oil was better, so we switched but don't really know why. Anyway, we have always strived for a RW 46 using 1045 steel with a DI value of at least 1.5. Recently our steel supplier informed us they can no longer guarantee the minimum DI value. As soon as we tried to heat treat the new steel (w/ a DI value of 1.1), we could not get it higher than a RW ~35. This is a significant quality issue for us. We are considering switching to a 1051 steel because of the higher carbon content, however, we are admittingly ignorant when it comes to anything heat treat related, outside of what we regularly do. I am hoping you might be able to help (or point us in the right direction) with the following questions:
Can 1051 harden into at least the mid RW 40s without the 1.5 DI value requirement?
What are the differences between heat treating 1045 and 1051 that might become an issue, from a heat treating perspective?"
Wallwork Heat Treatment, UK Press Release. February 3/2014. "Fellowship and Chartered Status for Wallwork Director;Peter Carpenter, technical director at aerospace and motorsport thermal processing specialist Wallwork Heat Treatment, is marking his 30th year with the business. At the same time he is celebrating election to Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD), and individual qualification as a Chartered Director. "I joined the IoD in 2008 to take advantage of the training offered and have taken both the certificate and diploma courses delivered through Salford University. There are just over 1000 Chartered Directors world-wide,” Peter noted. Peter joined the Bury based company in 1983 as a metallurgist. He became a director of the Bury and Birmingham businesses in 1992 and was involved in the selection and acquisition of Cambridge based technical coating specialist Tecvac in the late 1990’s. “There have been significant changes in the business over 30 years,” Peter explained. “We still have core customers in general engineering, but with more customers in advanced sectors such as aerospace, motorsport and nuclear there are new technical challenges, requiring the research and development of more sophisticated thermal treatment and coating processes.” Peter initiated substantial investment in Tecvac, including relocation to a new purpose built factory, new equipment and the establishment of world class research, development and metallurgical laboratories.
BackgroundInformation; The Wallwork Group is a family owned business operating form sites in Bury, Birmingham and Cambridge. The company was first registered in 1959 as a heat treatment processor and operated from premises in Stockport. The business relocated to Stalybridge in 1963, outgrowing these premises and relocating to the current Bury site in 1979. In 1984 the company acquired its first vacuum heat treatment furnaces and in 1986 set up a foundry to produce heat resistant castings for its own use and commercial sale. The Birmingham factory was established in 1989. The acquisition of Tecvac in Cambridge, to provide a specialist coating capability, followed a decade later. Operating from three sites and with a fleet of over 40 vehicles the Wallwork Group now provides a nationwide service to manufacturers in aerospace, motorsport, instrumentation medical devices and other demanding fields. As a private company, the Wallwork Group has always re-invested profits back into the business. This has included new plant to expand capability, research facilities to develop new surface treatment processes and investment in a skilled workforce. Services provided by the group are accredited by leading national, international and company accreditation schemes for their quality and consistency".