Monday Morning Briefing

We see that Chicago Powdered Metal Products Co., a powdered metal manufacturer of auto components recently closed their Schiller Park, Illinois, USA plant. We knew little about this operation other than the fact that their heat treat was pretty typical for a powdered metal/sintering operation, a bunch of mesh belt sintering furnaces and some tired Endothermic generators. The picture below shows one of the furnaces.

Furnace builder Nakal of Russia tells us they have just started up a brand new roller hearth furnace in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. This is a Continuous roller hearth furnace, model SRO-3.60.3/11 designed for normalizing of pipes up to 18’ long. Working dimensions of the furnace are 6000 mm long X 300 mm wide X 300 mm high with 3 zones of control and an operating temperature of 1100C. Nakal completed the installation, startup and commissioning of the furnace in October 2019 and the system is now in operation. Nakal is far and away the largest new furnace builder in Russia.

We happened to see that Mr. Stephen Harris is celebrating his 11th year as CEO of commercial heat treater Bodycote. After this length of time we feel we can give him the ultimate compliment and say that he is a real heat treater. Come December 1, 2019 we are looking forward to publishing an interview with Stephen. By the way we have interviewed quite a number of prominent heat treaters over the years, the complete list can be found at  We see that Bill Baxter of commercial heat treater Premier Thermal was recently promoted to Regional Manager-good for him. To find out how Premier compares in size to some of the other commercial heat treats we would suggest “Premier Thermal is pleased to announce that Bill Baxter has been promoted to Regional Manager with responsibility for NitroSteel and our North Vernon, IN Atmosphere Annealing facility. Bill is responsible for all aspects of plant operations and supporting new business development for both plants. Bill has been leading our Atmosphere Annealing North Vernon, plant since 2010. Prior to joining the company Bill was at Air Products and Chemicals in Applied Research and Development, the Plant Manager-Commercial Metal Heat Treating at ThermoFusion, Plant Manager at Bodycote, and Group Quality Manager at Bodycote. He has a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from Carnegie Mellon University.”

ALD Thermal Treatment (the vacuum carburizing people) are pretty pleased with this General Motors award as they should be; “GM Supplier Quality Excellence Award for the 5th time 22. November 2019 Mr. Muhammed Odeh, the General Motors (GM) supplier quality engineer, visited our ALD Thermal Treatment Inc. (Port Huron, MI, USA) plant to officially present the GM Supplier Quality Excellence Award for 2018.  This is our 5th consecutive year for this prestigious award since 2014. ALD Thermal Treatment Inc. was once again recognized as a Supplier of the Year for providing Heat Treatment Services.”

Koyo Bearings in Orangeburg, SC, USA to close. This press release tells us pretty well everything we need to know about the upcoming closure of Koyo Bearings in Orangeburg, SC. The only thing it doesn’t tell us is what heat treating is done at this plant-that’s why we have “The Monty”. The captive heat treat department at this facility consists of 6 Koyo furnaces (3 mesh belt, and 3 batch) and 4 quench presses; The Koyo Bearings manufacturing facility in Orangeburg will end manufacturing operations by March of 2021. The company’s parent corporation, JTEKT North America (JNA), made the announcement Wednesday. “After careful consideration, our Koyo Bearings facility in Orangeburg, SC will cease manufacturing operations by March 2021. The facility’s current distribution center operations will continue,” JTEKT officials said  in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “Production will ramp down based on customer demands, and we are committed to open and advanced communication to our 362 team members at the Orangeburg facility.”  

Shanghai Heat Treatment. According to this press release Shanghai Heat Treatment in China is entering into a partnership with an Italian manufacturer of quenchants. Shanghai Heat Treatment Co., LTD. and Italy’s Thurckon Heat Treatment Technology Co., Ltd., witnessed by the Chinese and Italian governments officially signed a strategic cooperation agreement, looking forward to creating a better future for both sides.” This press release caught our attention as we are very familiar with the company and it’s owner Mr. Kent Zuo. When China liberalized their restrictions on private ownership a number of years back Kent saw an opportunity and took what was a government owned commercial heat treat and turned it into one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the country. Obviously he is continuing to grow the company and this includes partnerships with foreign companies. One of the photos below shows Kent back in 2010 when we visited his facility.

And to round things out commercial heat treater Härdservice in Kolbäck, Sweden just installed a brand new Ipsen Turbo2Treater M with 12 bar quenching. This is the second vacuum furnace the company has installed at this location and this particular unit just entered production 2 weeks ago.