Monday Morning Briefing

Big management changes at the world’s largest manufacturer of vacuum furnaces. Ipsen in Kleve, Germany is seeing a number of top people either parting ways with the company or planning to. These include Marc Angenendt who was the CEO, Dirk Otto who was head of Sales and Markus Reinhold who was Ipsen Group Technical Lead. Below we have a photo of Marc which we took at the HK show in Cologne, Germany last year. Marc is on the right and Pat McKenna, CEO of Ipsen North America is on the left.

Jim Hagene who was Vice President at US Bosch in Kentwood, Michigan retired as of January 31st. US Bosch has a large captive heat treating department and we at “The Monty” have had some dealings with the company over the years.  Commercial heat treater Paulo in North America recently summed up all of their recent investments. While none of this is new and has all been mentioned on “The Monty” recently it does make for an interesting summary; “We try to see what the industry sees on the horizon and react accordingly. It’s produced tangible results we know will deepen our ties to aerospace customers. The most notable is a multi-phase expansion at our Cleveland Division, a location specializing in aerospace thermal processing. Phase one of an ambitious expansion at the site is underway: A 30,000-square-foot addition to the existing plant is under construction as we speak. A new vacuum furnace—the first of an order of five—was installed there in July. When the expansion is complete, we’ll have added 50,000 square feet to the site. This increase in our capacity to execute advanced thermal processes is mutually beneficial: For us, it’s good for business. But it also alleviates some of the pressure on the upper-tier aerospace suppliers who outsource heat treating. Adding service offerings can be just as crucial as expanding current ones. As aerospace components become more and more complex, the thermal processes required for them to perform as designed must also evolve. We added hot isostatic pressing (HIP) capabilities to our menu of aerospace heat treating services to meet that need. As a result, we’re in position to work directly with OEMs to develop the industry’s next generation of advanced thermal processes. But it doesn’t stop there. Investing in increased capacity and new equipment is accompanied by our continuous efforts to secure key industry certifications and approvals. For instance, two of our plants (Cleveland and Kansas City) meet aerospace-specific Nadcap and AS9100 requirements.”

Last week we had an interview with Mr. Laurent Pelissier, CEO of furnace builder ECM in Grenoble, France, an interview which can be found at To show the more relaxed “human” side of Laurent we have this photo taken last week in Megeve, France in which we can see from the left; Gord Montgomery, Arthur Pelissier, Project Manager, ECM, Laurent Pelissier, Marlène Pelissier, Yves, Yvan  Trouillot, General Manager, ECM, Dale Montgomery and all the way on the right Emma Gaumet, fiance of Arthur.

Lino Masnaghi. When it comes to longevity few in this industry can match Lino Masnaghi. For as long as we can remember Lino (who is based in Burlington, Canada) has been servicing Surface Combustion equipment both in Canada and the US. Lino is on the right in this recent photo taken at Cambridge Heat Treat in Cambridge, Canada.

From Expanite in Denmark we have this press release about how the company is partnering with Kern Liebers and installing their surface hardening technology at Kern’s facility in China. As it happens we are quite familiar with captive/commercial heat treater Kern Liebers and had a summary about the company after we visited their German location back in October of 2018-par of our summary is included below and entitled “Do Manufacurers Make Good Commercial Heat Treaters?”

“Only one year after successfully launching Expanite’s surface hardening technology for stainless steel in the Chinese market, KERN-LIEBERS and Expanite has signed a joint agreement, which will expand the product offerings available from KERN-LIEBERS´ facility in Taicang, China. The new agreement ensures that all Expanite processes for surface hardening of stainless steel will be available in China from the fall of 2019. In November 2017, KERN-LIEBERS and Expanite signed the first license agreement which included KERN-LIEBERS installing equipment to executing Expanite’s hardening processes for martensitic stainless steels, also referred to as the ExpaniteHigh-T processes, at their Taicang facility near Shanghai, China. Now, approximately one year later, the Parties have agreed to expand the license agreement to also cover Expanite’s processes for austenitic, ferritic and duplex stainless steels, referred to as the ExpaniteLow-T and SuperExpanite processes, and thereby making it possible to offer the complete range of Expanite processes for stainless steel to Chinese and other Asian companies. “Our China business has had a fantastic start in 2018 and we continue to see tremendous growth potential towards many local and international companies with operations in China. The combination of KERN-LIEBERS reputation of supplying parts and heat treatment to the highest quality standards and Expanite’s best-in-class hardening technologies for stainless steel, represents an ideal partnership, which essentially benefits our customers,” Thomas Abel Sandholdt CEO at Expanite explains. Richard Zhang, CEO of KERN-LIEBERS, Taicang continues, “with extension of our current installation, we will have the capabilities of reaching a much broader range of customers, applications and industries – and we can offer cutting-edge technologies to our customers. We are very proud of being the first in China to have true low-temperature surface hardening solution for stainless steel”.  The new installation is expected to be fully operational during Q4, 2019.”

Kern-Liebers/October 30/2018; “Do Manufacturers Make Good Commercial Heat Treaters? Kern Liebers. Generally our opinion is that manufacturers who have in house heat treating capacity make poor commercial heat treaters for a wide variety of reasons. However having said that we very recently visited a manufacturer who for years now has been offering commercial heat treating from their in house heat treating departments and has been very successful at it. KERN-LIEBERS is a medium-sized family owned company based in southwest Germany who specializes in the production of highly complex strip and wire parts and assemblies. The KERN-LIEBERS group of companies develops and manufactures precision products at over 50 locations around the world and currently 6 of these locations have in house heat treating capacity which offer commercial heat treating.”