Nadcap & CQI-9 Compliance Made Easy

 

Bodycote Silao, Mexico/GM Quality Excellence Award

“MACCLESFIELD (U.K.) — Bodycote, the world’s largest thermal processing services provider, is pleased to announce that its plant in Silao, Mexico is proud to have been awarded the General Motors Supplier Quality Excellence Award for the 2016 award year. This is the fifth year that GM’s Global Supplier Quality & Development has honored suppliers with this prestigious recognition award. The award is given to specific manufacturing locations and only General Motors’ top performing suppliers are eligible to receive it. Suppliers who receive this award have met or exceeded a very stringent set of quality performance criteria as determined by cross-functional teams across the entire GM organization. Bodycote’s Silao facility provides Low Pressure Carburising (LPC) and nitriding services to General Motors’ Silao Transmission Operations for transmission gears. Gary West, Executive Director of GM Global Supplier Quality & Development, commented: “Congratulations on an exceptional team effort that helped your facility to win this award. Thank you for all you do to make our products great for GM, for you, and ultimately for our customers.” Dan McCurdy, President of Bodycote’s North America & Asia Automotive & General Industrial division, noted that this award reflects the hard work and attention to detail of Bodycote’s team: “Consistency in high levels of quality and service is our aim, every day. That we achieve this consistency in quality and service is evidenced by this recognition as a top performing supplier. This means a lot to our Silao team and we are  proud of their achievement.” In 2016, Bodycote’s Livonia, Michigan plant received the General Motors Supplier Quality Excellence Award for the 2015 award year.” June 29, 2017

Business Opportunities

Please take a look at our most recent employment offerings.  If you see anything you like don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at website@themonty.com or 905-271-0033. June 29, 2017

Item # O330 Plant Managers
Item # O329 Sales Engineers
Item # O328 Process Metallurgist Wanted
Item # O327 Outside Sales Representative
Item # O326 Straightener / Quality Inspector / Furnace Operator

A3TS Conference, Nice, France

A3TS. The ongoing 24th IFHTSE Congress 2017 would appear to be a success, very well organized, in a great location (Nice, France) and with reasonable attendance. This is a very French event but with a substantial German presence and with little North American participation. . As a matter of fact the only North American based exhibitors that we came across are nitriding experts Nitrex, controls company SSI, and AFC-Holcroft who are under the Aichelin umbrella after being acquired last year. We have these photos of the event with more to come. June 29, 2017

Super Systems Inc.; from left to right we have James Cross, Dale Montgomery, Steve Thompson and the local SSI rep, Jean-Yves Cousseau.

The Oerlikon Balzers Team with Smail Aazis, Engineering on the left-very nice fellow who knows his stuff.

Jack Kalucki, Nitrex Metal Inc.

The team from Schunk (graphite fixturing) rarely miss a show in North America, Europe or Asia and this was no  exception.

United Process Controls, Marty Keylon

 United Process Controls (UPC) is pleased to announce the addition of Keylon Thermal Consulting as the newest manufacturer representative of its USA sales network, covering California, Oregon, and Washington. Marty Keylon has a 40-year history with the heat treat industry, beginning his career at Bodycote, where he held key positions in maintenance, plant management, and quality control, before becoming a manufacturer’s representative in 2009. “Marty has learned the heat treating business from the bottom up with his many and diverse roles. His hands-on understanding of operations and operation requirements, as well as his keen knowledge of the industry make him an ideal fit for our company. I am pleased that Marty has joined UPC and believe he’ll make a strong push in the west coast market with our portfolio of probes, controllers, Waukee flow controls, and process control solutions.”, stated Mr. Patrick Torok, Vice President, Heat Treat North America.”

“ABOUT UPC; UPC provides process control, flow control, and automation solutions to furnace OEMs and customers with thermal processing equipment and operations. The company is comprised of 4 brands – Furnace Control Corp, Marathon Monitors, Process-Electronic, and Waukee Engineering – with products ranging from probes, analyzers, flow meters, programmable controllers, generator mixing control systems, SCADA to complete turnkey systems.” June 28, 2017

Thermtech Expands Ipsen Batch IQ Line

The only thing we can add to this press release is that Thermtech in Wisconsin, USA is one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the US Midwest and a very impressive operation. June 28, 2017

ThermTech runs its equipment 24/6, 360 days a year. As the economy continues to pick up, they needed to expand their existing Ipsen atmosphere line to keep up with increased demand. Having received strong performance from the ATLAS atmosphere furnace and ancillary equipment installed in 2015, ThermTech recently purchased another ATLAS integral quench batch furnace from Ipsen. ThermTech will use the ATLAS for carburizing, carbonitriding and neutral hardening while supporting business from the Oil & Gas and Heavy Equipment industries.

“We have worked with several major providers of heat treatment equipment, but Ipsen is among the best for providing support after equipment is purchased,” said Mary Springer, Vice President of ThermTech. Supported by Ipsen’s global ICS (Ipsen Customer Service) Team, ThermTech has received installation and startup assistance, as well as dedicated local support for any of their equipment, regardless of the manufacturer. In a shop where every furnace matters and uptime is critical to their success, being able to receive the furnace in a short timeframe was also important. Ipsen is able to offer companies significant time savings with reduced lead time on the ATLAS, one of their modular platforms. Overall, Ipsen’s ATLAS atmosphere line provides users with repeatable quality results. This includes achieving consistent, uniform case depth and uniform quench hardness due to the advanced quench system design.

About ThermTech; ThermTech is a privately held commercial heat-treating company that offers a wide range of heat-treating services in support of a diverse customer and manufacturing base. It prides itself on offering exceptional value-added services to the Forging, Foundry, Heavy Equipment, Machining, Oil & Gas and Tool & Die markets. Located in Waukesha, WI, the company is currently ISO 9001:2000 certified. Learn more at www.ThermTech.net.

 About Ipsen; Ipsen designs and manufactures industrial vacuum and atmosphere heat-treating systems, supervisory controls systems and predictive maintenance software platforms for a wide variety of industries, including Aerospace, Automotive, Commercial Heat Treating, Energy and Medical. With an extensive network of global locations and partnerships in America, Europe and Asia, along with representation in 34 countries, we continue to provide expert-driven solutions that strengthen heat treatment throughout the world. Learn more at www.IpsenUSA.com.

A3TS Show, Nice France

As we speak we are attending the 24th IFHTSE Congress in Nice, France and here are our thoughts; with 120 exhibitors this is a large exhibition but rather different from the large shows in the US or Germany  in that it is far more focused on lectures and learning as opposed to being what most would consider a “trade show”. Attendance we understand is somewhere under 400 for actual heat treaters which combined with exhibitors makes for a rather large gathering-more when the event concludes tomorrow. In the meantime we present several photos with more to come. June 28, 2017

SECO/WARWICK. In this photo we have from left to right: Stephane Texier, Managing Director, SECO/WARWICK, France, Phillipe Cazenave, Chairman and Andrea Schienbein who has a long history in the heat treating industry. Stephane very recently became Director for France and seems like a very competent fellow.

UPC. We always get a real kick out of the guys at controls company UPC as they are always happy. Here we see from the left Jens Baumann, Emmanuel Jeanguyot and Michael Winter.

Rubig. Speaking of happy people we have this picture from the Rubig booth where we see Sabine Kreuzmayr and Kai Heusler

Phoenix TM. In this photo we see the Phoenix TM team who are in attendance.

American Axle & Manufacturing

In reality this press release should be called “Why Auto Makers Are Not Investing in Heat Treating But Their Suppliers Are” Many years ago the largest captive heat treaters around (at least in North America) were the “Big  Three”, GM, Ford and Chrysler”. Times have changed and with the exceptions of GM in Saginaw, Michigan,  Ford, Lima, Ohio, Chrysler, Kokomo,  Indiana and a few others the auto companies have largely abandoned in house heat treating in favor of their suppliers which is where this story from the President of American Axle and Manufacturing comes in. AAM has invested enormous sums of money in their heat treating departments over the past few years and it would appear to be paying off. June 27, 2017

“While the auto industry hotly pursues new technologies, some suppliers are picking up lucrative business from staunchly 20th-century hardware. Internal combustion engine parts and other precision metal components are offering new rewards –​ even as the industry plots a shift from the metal-heavy internal combustion engine, according to Michael Simonte, president of American Axle & Manufacturing. “The OEMs are spending an increasing amount of their energy and attention and capital dollars on newer technologies,” Simonte told an audience of financial analysts earlier this month at the Citi Industrials Conference in Boston. “And they’re looking to the more established, capable supply base to take over some of the more traditional activities.”

Simonte said automakers and large parts suppliers are off-loading parts business they historically considered high-value-added core activity — including precision part machining and other capital-intensive metalwork. He said Detroit-based American Axle and some of its competitors have been taking over a growing list of tasks that used to be in-house work at auto companies, such as engine-part machining, heat treating and powertrain module subassembly. He said American Axle is picking up incremental content in transmissions as those systems grow increasingly complex. That is occurring as part of the industry trend toward more fuel-efficient transmissions with additional gears requiring precision work. The automakers and their transmission suppliers are not keen to invest in the added work.

“Look at the content per vehicle that we enjoy on the four- and six-speed transmissions of the past, and then compare that to what we’re doing on the eight-, nine- and 10-speed transmissions,” Simonte said. “We are taking five, 10, 15, 20 bucks a vehicle and turning it into 30, 40, 50 bucks a vehicle — in some cases more. “You’re seeing this with a couple of our competitors and you clearly see it in our business,” Simonte told the audience. The trend represents “major opportunities to expand our role in those value streams.”

Inauguration of Rohde Gmbh’s New Plant

Furnace builder Rohde GmbH sent us this press release and photo about the grand opening ceremony of their new plant in Hanau, Germany.  “On June 20th 2017 Rohde GmbH inaugurated their new plant in Hanau, Germany with more than 100 invited guests. The new buildings have more than 2725 square meters of office- and manufacturing space and there is the same area available for a future expansion. The production conditions are optimized for furnace construction and testing and has an excellent transport connection. Owner Joern Rohde sees in Hanau the perfect location that offers everything he needs for a successful future of his family business, which he manages as the second generation together with his wife Natasha. The company succession is also secured as the couple is expecting their second son in October.” 

In the picture below we have from left to right: Dr. Gunther Quidde (Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Hanau), Ruth Neri (Managing Director of DKMS Life), Natasha Rohde, Joern Rohde, Claus Kaminsky (Mayor of the city of Hanau), Thorsten Stolz (Head of District Authority of the Main-Kinzig-Area). June 27, 2017

A3TS Conference, Nice, France

While we can’t say we are a big fan of the name of this heat treating conference we are rather excited about it. The entire correct name would be “24th IFHTSE Congress 2017, European Conference on Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering”. It will include three days of very interesting seminars, and a two day exhibition of industry suppliers including over 120 suppliers to the industry. We at “The Monty” will be attendance and will have a number of photos starting tomorrow. June 27, 2017

Monday Morning Briefing

We start off in Canada where long, long time heat treater Moe Price just retired at the age of 77. Moe spent his entire life in the industry, the past 30 at commercial heat treater Allied Heat Treat in Mississauga. Moe is a perfect example of a looming crisis in our industry-very experienced individuals who are retiring with few following in their footsteps. Controls company SSI held a heat treating seminar in Mississauga which proved to be a very successful event with almost 50 captive and commercial heat treaters in attendance. Seminars such as these whether hosted by SSI or others is in our opinion an excellent way of reaching heat treaters. We have two photos below, one shows Gord Montgomery and Mitchell Russo who is following in his father’s footsteps at A & M Heat Treat (yes we realize the contradiction in that we just said not many people are entering the industry-we will correct it and say not enough are entering the industry).

From Canada we move to China for this picture from Mr. Andy Chen of Powermax Furnaces, China (which was recently acquired by Fengdong Furnaces, the largest furnace builder in China). In it we see Andy, Mr. Nobuo Suzuki of Oriental Engineering, a shareholder of Fengdong and Mr. Zhu, General Manager of Fengdong. Mr. Suzuki is General Manager of the heat treat equipment division of Oriental Engineering.

June 28th they will be auctioning off a bunch of equipment at Goltra Castings in Golden, Colorado which includes some gas fired box furnaces and Induction melting equipment. Nothing fancy but it will probably find a home. Expanite A/S based in Denmark claims to have a surface hardening process for stainless steel which puts everything else out there to shame. Quite frankly we don’t know enough about the process to comment but the company certainly seems to be growing, most recently into China-this press release tells the story.

Expanite has signed-on yet another license customer – and this time in China. Due to the fact, that Continental, one of the world’s largest automotive parts supplier, has qualified ExpaniteHigh-T hardening on parts in their fuelpumps, Expanite has been asked to make its processes available for Continental’s supplier base in China. A leading German manufacturer of precision products to the automotive industry will install Expanite processes at their facility close to Shanghai. Furnaces are being installed during Q3 2017 and the first serial production parts are to be hardened towards the end of 2017.” 

Commercial heat treater Heat Treating Services in Michigan must be feeling pretty pleased these days after receiving an award from one of their customers, American Axle & Manufacturing. More later this week about how AAM has been so successful partly by making very large investments in their captive heat treating departments. The photo below shows one of the owners of Heat Treating Services, Mr. Steve Hynes.

“American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), (NYSE: AXL) presented Supplier Excellence Awards to key supplier partners at the company’s 23rd Annual Supplier Day. Epic Equipment & Engineering, Heat Treating Services Corp. of America and Webco Industries were honored for their contributions to helping AAM achieve its overall business objectives while providing customers with the latest driveline and powertrain innovations. Heat Treating Services serves the ferrous metal industries with thermal process and clean capabilities. Supplying AAM for more than 20 years, Heat Treating Services provides heat treatment services across multiple product and OEM platforms to 14 AAM facilities. As of June 1, Heat Treating Services has provided more than 38 consecutive months of perfect quality and delivery.”

Our friends at ThermoFusion in California sent us this press release about surcharges for heat treating. Yes it is certainly a sales pitch but we have never been a big fan of surcharges either. Starting immediately, ThermoFusion, supplier of heat treating and brazing services, is eliminating all its surcharges to all its customers according to President Dave Buttner. Surcharges and fees often show up as percentages, with names like “fuel surcharge”, “energy fee”, “hazardous material charge”, “recycling fee”, and other euphemisms for unquoted extra charges. ThermoFusion has not charged hidden fees and surcharges in the past few years, and Dave re-affirms that they won’t for the foreseeable future.”

Hinderliter Heat Treating. Long before commercial heat treating giant Bodycote came to North America there were amongst others Hinderliter Heat Treating which had several locations in the US and one in Canada. One of the top managers was a fellow by the name of Marty Keylon who remains in the industry to this day. He sent us this photo from the early 1980’s with a brief caption to go with it. “I used to give tours to customers from China and I had a bus load come over back in the Hinderliter Heat Treating days. Long before Bodycote bought them… I guess I make them look pretty small too!!! That’s me 180 lb more than I weigh now!! Black hair and in the red if you don’t know… LOL” June 26, 2017

Picture Time

From time to time we dig through are archive of old photos and select a few of the movers and shakers in the worldwide heat treating industry. If you have interesting photos of the heat treating industry or the people in it that you would like to share we are interested. June 23, 2017

Dale Montgomery at Rubig in Wels, Austria 10 years ago.

Bill and Steve Thompson, SSI, Jeff Pritchard, Vac Aero, Dale Montgomery, Scott Rush. This picture brings back sad memories as Jeff passed away at a young age many years ago. Scott Rush is now President of Vac Aero a very large commercial heat treater and vacuum furnace manufacturer.

Back in 2007 we took this photo of the Tru-Cal (Nate Wright’s calibration company) booth at a heat treat show, although we are not sure where this show took place.

You can certainly be forgiven for not recognizing this individual. Colin Denis was President of commercial heat treater H & S in Port Robinson, Canada for a number of years until one day he gave it up and moved to Northern Canada to sell real estate.

In this photo we have Scott Johnstone, Engineering Manager for SSI and Kyle Favors of HTSU at a 4 wheeling event for heat treaters in West Virginia back in 2006.

Queretaro Heat Treat Show

June 14th there was a small heat treat show in Queretaro, Mexico which we mentioned earlier this week mainly because we heard attendance was very poor. We now have another viewpoint from a top notch fellow we know, Mr. Harald Roth of furnace builder KGO. While Harald certainly agreed it was a small show he thought it was well worthwhile; June 22, 2017

“Last week Mr. Thomas Kreuzaler from TECPROPRO Brazil and Mr. Frank Theisen from STANGE Germany at the booth last week at the JORNADA DE TRATAMIENTOS TERMICOS 2017 (type of smaller Mexican Heat Treatment Congress) in Queretaro. I had a chance to visit the show after finishing an KGO nitriding installation just the day before nearby. The show is a small but well attended come-together opportunity in Mexico. Some really interesting lectures were given by different leading heat treatment suppliers.” 

Mexican Auto Parts Maker Buys Austemper Line

“Can-Eng Furnaces International Ltd has recently been awarded a contract to design and build a 1,500 lb/hr mesh belt furnace system for the austenitizing and molten salt quenching of unique components used in the manufacture of the client’s world class drivetrain systems.  This contract was awarded by a repeat client who has favoured CAN-ENG for several, multi-facility heat treatment lines. Incorporating several technological advancements for continuous atmosphere processing of products requiring carbon diffusion and quenching via a molten salt system, known as Austempering, the new system includes: automated bin-dumping loading, mesh belt atmosphere hardening furnace, salt quench, post quench wash and rinse system, mesh belt temper oven, and endothermic gas generator. The project is scheduled to be commissioned early 2018 in Mexico’s centralized automotive manufacturing corridor.“ June 22, 2017

L & L Special Furnace Company

This press release from L & L could apply to a number of industry suppliers many of whom are seeing a far more buoyant market. June 21, 2017

“As we reach the halfway point of 2017, L&L Special Furnace Company, Inc., has been very busy in sales, service and parts. The company has seen monthly increases in sales quotes and orders as we approach the summer months. The summer is typically a slower time as requests for quotes for capital equipment and corresponding purchases tend to tail off, but that may not be the case in 2017. L&L has landed several large orders for ongoing industrial projects. These projects also carry customer commitments for longer-term repeat orders. This steady flow of business allows for balancing production capacity to customer demand, and provides the ability to offer reasonable delivery dates for ongoing and custom projects. The company has received orders from businesses in a variety of industries. These include general heat treating/tool room, aerospace, military, automotive, research and development, ceramics, motor laminations, precious metal recovery, medical fields as well as others. Sales continue to be strong in the aerospace industry. L&L has received orders for a large car bottom furnace along with four smaller units and one large debindering retort furnace as well as several other orders from aerospace component suppliers and manufacturers. The car bottom furnace has a work envelope of 48” x 48” x 72”.”

Solar Atmospheres Adds A New Climate Controlled Room

After surviving one of the hottest and most humid summer seasons on record, Solar Atmospheres of Western PA decided to construct a climate-controlled environment for the daily operation of its brand new all-metal hot zoned vacuum furnace.  The critical climate within this room is controlled utilizing a high quality HVAC system and is equipped with dehumidifiers and customizable thermostats. A heavy duty insulation package was installed, which ultimately helps to manage and stabilize temperature and humidity around the clock.  The space also was constructed to produce a slight positive pressure environment, which will help eliminate dust and debris from entering the set-up and fixturing areas.

Kevin Bekelja, Vice President of Operations, states, “With the new third party accreditation programs such as MedAccred gaining momentum, and knowing how detrimental high levels of humidity can be in the vacuum thermal processing of certain critical materials, we believe this venture is well worth the investment.” Both medical and aerospace contractors are continuing to demand that environmental conditions be controlled, processes validated, and the risk of foreign object debris (FOD) be totally eliminated.  This newly constructed environmentally controlled room will enable Solar Atmospheres of Western PA to pristinely thermally process critical components, which in turn will add even more value to the customer’s operations. For additional information about Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, contact Mike Johnson at 866.982.0660, ext. 2223, or mike@solarwpa.com, and visit www.solaratm.com. June 21, 2017

Metalspain, Queretaro, Mexico

Metalspain is a Spanish company who for a number of  years has been hosting small heat treat shows all over the world. We know little about them having never attended one of their shows. We were surprised to learn that June 14th they hosted a small show in Queretaro, surprised because nobody seems to have heard about this show before hand. We asked around and the only company that we could find who attended was a company in Mexico who said there was a grand total of one furnace company exhibiting and that in their opinion it was not a worthwhile event. Rather a shame since the Mexican heat treating market is growing at such a fast pace. June 20, 2017

SSI Sales Meeting

Just last week controls company SSI had a sales meeting in Cincinatti, Ohio. We took a few photos at the event and in our humble opinion a couple are worth sharing. In the first one below you see 3 generations of Thompsons, the founding family of SSI. From Left to right we have Bill Thompson, Steve Thompson and Will Thompson. In the second picture we have part of the SSI sales team from Mexico, Israel Bobadilla, Gord Montgomery, Damian Bratcher and Salvador Alvarado Murillo.  June 20, 2017

 

McLaughlin Services, ASM

Earlier this month the Los Angeles Chapter of ASM hosted the “Scholarship Golf Tournament” and one of the senior sponsors was McLaughlin Services of Avilla, Indiana. The company sent us this photo of Team McLaughlin which consisted of  (left to Right) Marc Walters, Ryan McLaughlin, Trisha McLaughlin and Jeff McLaughlin. June 20, 2017

Monday Morning Briefing

Remember not too long ago we suggested a growing technology was Vacuum Nitriding? This press release backs up our comments; ALD Vacuum Systems, Inc., Wixom, MI, has received a purchase order for two (2) NitroTherm®  Vacuum Purged Gas Nitriding furnaces for deployment into the North American automotive drivetrain market.  These NitroTherm systems will be the first deployed in the NAFTA region.  The expert control systems provided enable multiple processes including Nitriding, Nitro-Carburizing, Oxi-nitriding, Pre-oxidation, Post Oxidation and Vacuum Tempering.  These are stand-alone, horizontally oriented units which are loaded/unloaded via a fork loader.  This configuration eliminates the disruption and additional capital investments for floor pits and overhead cranes. These systems take advantage of the largest standard VPGN configuration of 1200mm x 1200mm x 1800mm (48“x48“x72“) and include a hearth rating of 2500 kg (5500 lbs).  ALD’s product line expanded late in 2016 with the North American introduction of NitroTherm which includes both Vacuum Purged Gas Nitriding (VPGN) and Active Screen Plasma Nitriding (ASPN).  Both are offered in a variety of standard configuration but can also be provided for custom applications based on a customers specific needs. About ALD Vacuum Systems Inc. – ALD Vacuum Systems Inc. is located in Wixom, MI and focuses on the NAFTA region for the ALD Vacuum Technologies group of companies.  ALD brings high performance vacuum carburizing, vacuum nitriding, plasma nitriding and vacuum furnace automation to the vacuum furnace market.  ALD offers the world’s leading technology in high pressure gas quenching capabilities and is prepared to meet your specific vacuum heat treat equipment requirements.  For additional information on our vacuum based product offerings call ALD Vacuum Systems, Inc. at (248) 956-7612 or visit their website at www.aldvac.com. “

Furnace builder Can Eng also has an order they want to announce. “CAN-ENG Furnaces International Ltd was recently awarded a contract to design and supply a mesh belt heat treat system with a production capacity of 4,000 lb/hr of high quality automotive fasteners. CAN-ENG was entrusted with the contract from this new European based client based on proven reliability, efficiency, and soft-part-handling features; hallmarks of CAN-ENG’s Mesh Belt Furnace Systems. The new, high-volume fastener system features: an atmosphere controlled mesh belt hardening system, oil quench, post wash system, temper furnace, soluble oil system, bi-directional conveyor discharge, and CAN-ENG’s PETTM Level 2 SCADA system.”

Might as well mention another new furnace order this one from Premier Furnace Specialists; “Premier Furnace Specialists/BeaverMatic received an order for a complete (IQF) furnace line for a repeat BeaverMatic customer in the oil field related industry. This order consists of a new Internal Quench Furnace, Temper Furnace, Spray/Dunk Washer, Low Temperature Industrial Oven, 1,500 CFH Endothermic Generator, and Manual Load Cart. All new equipment is designed to match existing equipment with 30” x 48”x  26” loads weighing 1,500 lbs. while utilizing standard “Beaver” baskets. Control system is configured to allow for automated and manual sequencing, recipe management, and digital data collection. Current design meets AMS 2750 E, NEC, and current NFPA guidelines. This design allows for updates to existing equipment for installation of the future SCADA system. Construction will be complete in August 2017.” Where are they now? Tim McCain. Tim is a pretty experienced heat treater who for a number of years ran a commercial heat treat in Texas by the name of TBM. TBM was purchased by Texas Heat Treat a little while back and we lost track of Tim, however as it turns out he is still very much involved in the heat treat industry as General Manager at Aremac Heat Treating East, LLC.

We see that Paulo has a new Sales Manager-why is his name so familiar? “Paulo’s newest team member is Benjamin Crawford; he joins Paulo as a Regional Sales Manager.  He will be responsible for growing new business in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. In this role he will report to William Rassieur, Vice President Sales. Benjamin graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Economics. He previously worked in the banking industry facilitating SBA loans from both a compliance and client relations perspective.  His experience working with small business leaders will be valuable when working with Paulo’s customers to identify partnership opportunities. Benjamin added, “The Paulo team has given me an open-armed welcome and I am thrilled to work with my team members to drive the future of Paulo forward.” William Rassieur commented, “If you have been in the industry long enough some might recognize the name.  Benjamin grew up around the metal treating industry. His father is our Vice President Operations.  Benjamin joins our team with experience dealing with owners and business professionals. This type of background will serve our customer base well. He understands financials and what keep businesses running.  This meshes very well with our ultimate goal of helping our customer succeed.  Benjamin is energetic and customer focused. We couldn’t be happier to have him on our team.”

Auction people Maynards has been marketing this Holcroft vacuum furnace for a few months now with no success. Holcroft always makes good stuff but they were never well known in the vacuum industry which is perhaps why it is still available. June 19, 2017

VESCo Engineering Services Co.

In May of this year we had this little note about Vacuum Engineering Services being sold;

“Vaccum Engineering Services Co., Inc (VESCo) located in East Windsor CT, USA was formed in 1983 to provide support services to the vacuum processing industry. Since that time, VESCo has specialized in the repair, modification, and reconditioning of vacuum heat treating equipment and along the line built up a good little business in the process. With the owner getting older and looking forward to retirement the company went on the market a few months back and as a result of a mention on “The Monty” the company has found a new owner, an owner which we will mention within the next week or so. The new owner has some ambitious plans so we believe we will be hearing a lot more about the company in the future.”

We can now announce that the new owner is Jeff McLaughlin of McLaughlin Services in Fort Wayne, Indiana. McLaughlin Services (whose banner ad can be found on this page) is a rapidly expanding company which now has 3 locations in the US including one in California. In this photo you can see Jeff (5th from the right) in front of the VESCo Building. June 16, 2017

Who The Heck is Diablo Furnaces?

“MACHESNEY PARK, ILLINOIS – June 14, 2017 – A company that built a niche servicing and refurbishing million dollar machines in the gear industry launched a spinoff company to build a new line of heat treating furnaces for those same customers. The new operation, Diablo Furnaces, saved five employees from the unemployment lines and Diablo is looking to add more. Machine Tool Builders was founded in 1995 to rebuild and re-control – add new controls to modernize machinery – large machines that make gears or work on gears. The company does this work for large national conglomerates such as Boeing and Caterpillar but also for local firms including Forest City Gear and Rockford Toolcraft. MTB eventually diversified into selling foreign brands as well, such as Germany-based Burri Grinding and Dressing Machines, Switzerland’s Donner+Pfister and HERA Hobbing Machines from South Korea.

 Several years ago, MTB saw an opportunity to break into a related industry. When a gear is finished it has to be baked in a furnace to make it harder. Without the heat treating, the soft metal would wear down in a day. Machine Tool Builders began servicing and refurbishing heat treating furnaces. Many of those furnaces were built by a decades-old Rockford, Illinois firm. When that company closed suddenly and its assets sold to a Michigan company, MTB added key personnel from that firm and began using that institutional knowledge to design and build new furnaces under the name Diablo Furnaces. Diablo builds internal quench, temper/draw, box and car bottom furnaces that are custom built for each customer, based on material, temperature range, volume and available floor space. Diablo launched in February with five employees and a goal to do $6 million in sales this year. The company was 50 percent to that goal by the end of April. Diablo now needs more workers to keep up with market demand.” June 16, 2017

Endothermic Generator Issues

While endothermic generators are a reasonably simple and relatively maintenance free item in most heat treats that is not to say that there are never issues as you can see in this short video clip. This problem occurred during start up and while we can’t pin point the problem with complete certainty our guess would be a hole in the generator retort. This is clearly an older unit and leaky retorts are not an uncommon problem, as a matter of fact unless they are replaced on a regular scheduled basis a leaky retort is generally not detected until there is a problem. Fortunately there were no injuries in this case. June 15, 2017

Atlas Copco, Grand Prairie, Texas

Back in may of 2016 it was announced that Atlas Copco would close two plants in the US associated with their Rock Drilling tools division one being In Grand Prairie, Texas. The production was slated to move to a plant in Pennsylvania with a lot of the heat treating being outsourced. Sure enough the Grand Prairie location is closing and the equipment is being sold or moved. All of this brings us to their fairly large in house heat treating department which consists of a total of 6 Batch IQ furnaces 36 x 48 x 32 in reasonable shape with fairly new UPC controls. We were just told that all of the equipment has been sold to a company in the US southeast, possibly the Carolinas who will be using it in a captive heat treat department. Who this buyer is, is unknown to us but this is a lot of heat treating capacity to be dropped into a manufacturing plant. June 14, 2017

Super Systems Inc., Sales Meeting

As we speak furnace controls company SSi is holding their annual two day sales meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the photos below you see the entire sales team and SSI team along with a photo from inside the SSI warehouse.  June 14, 2017

Valley Forge Bolt & Manufacturing Adds Furnace Capacity

Out in Phoenix, Arizona bolt manufacturer and captive heat treater Valley Forge has added some furnace capacity as we can see here. It’s interesting the furnace capacity-at 1,000 pounds this is a small furnace, the size you only see at captive heat treats with small loads or at commercial shops in areas with no automotive work such as California. June 13, 2017

“Valley Forge Bolt & Manufacturing has added some additional heat treating capacity! The Heat Treating Department has added the services of an additional Integral Quench Furnace and a gas-fired Tempering Furnace to meet the increasing production demands.

Both the new Integral Quench furnace and gas-fired tempering furnace are certified to AMS 2750. The Integral Quench Furnace has current capabilities of processing 800-1000 pounds per load at temperatures up to 1750 degrees Fahrenheit. With the ability to load over quenched loads, greater efficiencies are realized providing maximum throughput and the ability to meet the increasing demands of production schedules and the needs of our customers! The gas-fired tempering furnace supports the new Integral Quench Furnace providing the tempering capabilities with temperatures up to 1250 degrees Fahrenheit. The ability to rapidly achieve tempering temper set points has provided additional maximization of throughput.

All charting is documented utilizing our ssi digital tracking system and program recipes control the processing within each furnace to assure a repeatable process to the correct parameters. We have increased our capabilities in order to better serve our customers with shorter lead times and the ability to rapidly meet those expedited needs! We invite you to join us here at Valley Forge Bolt & Manufacturing for your bolting needs!”

Monday Morning Briefing

We start off the week with an announcement about some changes in management at commercial heat treater Solar Atmospheres;

“William and Myrtle Jones, primary owners of the Solar Atmospheres Family of Companies, are pleased to announce a few organization changes within the Solar companies.  Roger Jones, has been appointed CEO for the Solar Atmospheres four vacuum heat treating locations:  Solar Atmospheres, Souderton, PA; Solar Atmospheres, Hermitage, PA; Solar Atmospheres, Fontana, CA; Solar Atmospheres, Greenville, SC.  Roger previously held the position of Corporate President of Solar Atmospheres.  Roger started the Solar Atmospheres vacuum heat treating business with his father, William Jones back in 1983. Also, Jamie Jones has been promoted to President for the Solar Atmospheres Souderton location.  Jamie previously served as the Vice President of Operations at the Souderton location, and has been with the company for over 20 years. Similarly, Trevor Jones has been promoted to CEO for Solar Manufacturing, Magnetic Specialties, and the newly developed Vacuum Pump Services Corp.  Trevor has been active in the furnace operations and R&D department at Solar since 2004, and he previously held the position of Principal Engineer at Solar Atmospheres.”

Andrew Bassett/Accurate Steel Treating. Andrew Bassett, President of Aerospace Testing & Pyrometry sent us these two photos from the recent ASM annual Scholarship Golf Tournament in California. We will let Andrew tell the story in his own words; “The gentlemen from Accurate Steel Treating invited me to join them in their annual ASM Scholarship Golf Tournament. Although our golfing skills were much to be desired, we all had a great time. The outing raised quite a bit of money for two recipients to further their education. In the First Picture we have (Left to Right) Chris Hall (GM, AST) Jimmy Hollman (Sales AST), Andrew Bassett (ATP)  & Krishna Cherukuri (VP, AST). In the second we have (Left to Right) Krishna Cherukuri, Jimmy Hollman, & Chris Hall.”

Vacuum furnace builder BMI of France is getting set to ship a new furnace to OSG Yana in Japan which is mildly interesting, what is more interesting though is the very unusual door design-one which we would describe as a “guillotine” style. Anybody care to guess as to the purpose of this design? The fellow in the first row with this answer is correct; “The customer’s production line being fully automatic, the furnace was equipped with an automatic up/down sliding door, allowing the automation of transfer operations from one machine to the next”. Interesting idea, we would be curious to know how it turns out.

In people news we see that Mike Grande who was Sales Manager at Wisconsin Oven has been promoted to Vice President of Sales and Engineering. Tim Lackey who has over 25 years in the heat treating industry with companies such as Sona Precision Forge, Al-Fe HeatTreating, and American Roller Bearing recently became Heat Treat/ Finishing Production Leader for the Schaeffler Group in the US. Scott Grabner joins Paulo as the Cleveland Division’s Key Account Manager. In this role Scott is responsible for fostering customer relationships and identifying ways to support our customer’s needs .  A Cleveland native, Scott’s previous experience includes industrial recycling sales.  He has hit the ground running and says, “Everyone at Paulo has been incredibly welcoming since I started, and I am thrilled to join the Paulo team.  I look forward to collaborating with my team members and developing strong relationships with our customers.”

How big is the worldwide heat treating market? We ran across this summary on the website of Specialty Steel Treating of Michigan. While some of the numbers such as the ones presented by IHEA make sense and others are plausible one particular part threw us for a loop, namely where we are quoted about the growing African heat treating market. To the best of our knowledge we have never made any predictions about the heat treating market in Africa and our personal opinion is that we have absolutely no desire to know more about heat treating in Ghana or Nigeria.

“The heat treatment industry has become a huge market all around the world. Globally, industries are making major advancements in the operations involving the heating and cooling process of metal. This is due to the wide number of benefits heat treatment offers steel when it comes to certain desirable mechanical and physical characteristics. According to IHEA, heat treatment consumes 17 percent of U.S. Industrial Energy usage and consists of 2 to 15 percent of the total production cost. Globally, the sheer volume of the heat treatment industry is in the range of $65 to $75 billion—with the sale of heat treatment equipment alone being between $4.375 and $5.5 billion. Looking at just the numbers, it’s safe to say that the heat treatment industry has a huge impact on the economy all over the world. Many countries have considered the heat treatment process to be a strategic part of their developing economies and living standards. Countries like Poland and China even have significant subsidies and grants provided to manufacturers that develop technologies or modernize their facilities for such processes.

North America alone is a $22 billion industry—with the European Union coming in second ($18 billion) and China ($11 billion) coming in third. Looking at these statistics, it’s clear that the U.S. is a dominant player in the heat treatment market. Largely due to the high volume of automotive parts and processes that are built and handled within the country. On average, 70 percent of a vehicle’s weight is metal. This high percentage of metal has a profound influence over the demand for heat treatment within the industry.

It seems like other countries are starting to catch on too. According to TheMonty.com, “Fast growing Asian/African markets create opportunities for heat treatment services and equipment, particularly in India, Thailand and Indonesia and, in time, Vietnam and the Philippines. This manufacturing shift depends on population size, education (income) and the steel availability in the country or region. We can predict with some degree of accuracy that within the next 10 to 20 years, the highest growth will be in Africa. Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana will have the fastest growth potential in the heat treatment industry.”

Globally, a number of different industries besides the automotive sector use heat treatment in their everyday processes as well—industries like heavy construction machinery, aerospace, mining, metalworking, and the tool and die sectors to name a few.

The heat treatment market only seems to be getting bigger and better as the years go on. One of the greatest statistics regarding the heat treatment industry is that a majority of industry operators are smaller businesses that serve local and regional markets. According to U.S. Census data, 96.4 percent of heat treatment companies employ less than 100 workers, and 68.3 percent employ fewer than 20.

Meaning that the industry is made up of thousands of companies that all specialize in a particular segment of the industry—showing just how diverse and how much depth there is to what we do. Trends in the heat treatment sectors are also on the rise. Digitalization and a globalized standard of heat treatment have both played a big part in the industry’s growth. Automation and manufacturing technologies and processes are constantly becoming more digitalized and streamlined, making our sector even more efficient and lowering the cost of overall production. Looking at these industry market statistics, analyses and trends makes one thing abundantly clear. The heat treatment industry is a huge player in our global economy, and it’s definitely one that’s here to stay.” June 12, 2017

HTSU Acquires Furnace Mechanix. Expanding Refractory and Repair Services

“GREENVILLE, S.C. – Heat Treating Services Unlimited Inc., a global field services and accredited testing and calibration laboratory, specializing in the Thermal Processing Industry, announced today they have acquired Furnace Mechanix, Inc out of Denver, North Carolina.  The acquisition of assets and personnel will enhance their refractory services they currently are offering to a wide variety customers. The investment in equipment and personnel bolsters HTSU’s comprehensive portfolio of maintenance, calibration, repair and testing services in North America. This division will continue to operate as a division of HTSU under the direction of Kevin Ruff, Vice President along with newly appointed Division Manager, Gene Corneau.  

“With HTSU acquiring Furnace Mechcanix we gain additional expertise in our expanding refractory division.  Gene Corneau, founder of Furnace Mechcanix, will be the new Division Manager for all the Refractory Services we offer.  Gene has been in the furnace rebuild business, specializing in refractory, since 1985.  We will continue to offer a complete turn-key solution to our clients at a stronger level,” said HTSU President Kyle Favors. “We are excited to have Gene join our team.  Gene brings his 30+ years in refractory to our already knowledgeable staff, which will only enhance the quality of work that HTSU is known for.  This is an exciting time for us, as we continue to expand our position in the Thermal Processing Industry.”  With 26 employees over 4 locations, HTSU offers customers the ability to single source their equipment needs.  Pyrometry, Repairs, Consulting and Refractory in one place!

About Heat Treating Services Unlimited (HTSU). Heat Treating Services Unlimited Inc. provides pyrometry, preventative/repairs, refractory, and consulting services. HTSU testing and calibration activities are in compliance with ISO/IEC: 17025:2005. The privately held company is headquartered in Simpsonville, S.C., and has offices in Detroit, Asheville, N.C., and Wichita, Kan. Visit www.htsu.com.”  June 9, 2017

Northstar Aerospace Closing

Aerospace parts supplier and captive heat treater Northstar Aerospace is closing their facility in Milton, Canada. The press release goes back a couple of months but as usual we at “The Monty” can fill in the rest of the details. The actual  closing will be 3 weeks from now and the heat treat department consists of an AFC-Holcroft rotary hearth furnace, an older Surface batch IQ with no quench and a few pit furnaces along with some other odds and ends. June 9, 2017

“Nearly 200 people will lose their jobs later this year after Northstar Aerospace announced it’s closing production at its Milton facility.” The majority of employees are part of the Unifor Local 112. The closure will affect 200 highly-skilled workers at the plant, 50 of whom were to retire this year. They were notified on the eve of contract talks that Northstar Aerospace, which developed and makes face gears for Boeing, is scheduled to cease operations by September 30. According to the company, it lost the contract for the gears, forcing it into closure. Employees received a special bulletin from the company’s vice-president and general manager Thomas Smith on January 9. Smith stated that the plant would close by the end of the third quarter.

“This facility closure is the result of market factors, not the facility’s performance,” he said. “The closing of the Milton facility is the result of the loss of content on the Boeing AH-64E Apache program. There is not sufficient additional new work to make up for the drastic loss of content on the Apache program for the operation to remain open.” The facility, which was purchased by Wynnchurch Capital in 2012, when Northstar went into bankruptcy, employs skilled tradesmen, technicians, machinists, general labourers, and shipper/receivers. The plant operates around the clock with both eight- and 10-hour rotating shifts. The plant specializes in manufacturing high-precision metal products used by aircraft and helicopters, including specialized gears for transmissions used on Boeing’s Apache helicopter. Used by the U.S. army, the Apache serves as an attack helicopter. The company has locations in Windsor, Chicago, Phoenix and its corporate headquarters is in Illinois.”

Where Are They Now? Ernie Lackner

For over 20 years Ernie toiled away at Alfe Heat Treating, one of the largest commercial heat treaters in North America ending up as Vice President of Heat Treating Operations with a special focus on the plants in Charlotte, NC and Wadsworth, Ohio (by the way the Charlotte facility was sold to a competitor, Braddock Metallurgical back in June of 2015). Ernie parted ways with Alfe back in January 2016 and took a bit of a break until recently when he became Director of Sales and Marketing for a company by the name of “The Pipe Line Development Company” in Westlake, Ohio. We’ve always had a very high opinion of Ernie and certainly the industry misses his experience. June 8, 2017

SECO/WARWICK Systems & Services (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd.

“SECO/WARWICK is proud to announce the creation of SECO/WARWICK Systems & Services (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd., a new company that will concentrate on sales and service activities of Vacuum, Vacuum Melting and Aluminum business segments in India, delivering the best quality, service and support to Indian customers. Manoranjan Patra, who has been appointed as a Managing Director of the newly formed organization, commented “SECO/WARWICK Systems & Services (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd  is positioned to deliver technologically advanced products with top quality, competitive price and local, fast and competent service to fully meet the customers expectation on the Indian market.” In 2008, a joint venture was formed with Allied Consulting Engineers Pvt. Ltd. (India) and the JV was then named SECO/WARWICK Allied Pvt. Ltd. In 2013, SECO/WARWICK S.A acquired a majority stake in the company. As an integral member of the SECO/WARWICK Group, SECO/WARWICK Allied Pvt. Ltd. shares engineering expertise and will stay concentrated on Thermal and Incinerators business segments, which for many years has been their core businesses. The entity will continue to develop their technologies and build the products in India and provide a full scope of services. To provide even better value to Indian customers in terms of timing, availability, pricing and quality, SECO/WARWICK Systems & Services (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd has been created in 2017. The aim of the newly established company is intermediation and customer service for the equipment imported from Poland.” June 8, 2017

J & M Plating, Rockford, Illinois Investing

In Rockford, Illinois, USA J & M Plating has done what few other heat treaters do which is to marry finishing, plating, sorting and heat treating all under one roof (Metex HT in Canada is another one which comes to mind), there are others but they are very definitely in the minority. We have mentioned J & M several times over the years, for example when they added a 6,000 pound/hour mesh belt line and again when they added batch IQ capacity so it is only fitting that we tell you about their latest investments. The company recently added another 5,000 feet and invested in a multimillion dollar zinc plating line. The Rockford area is the fastener capital of North America and J & M is making sure they are available to offer all the processes required to produce fasteners and small parts. June 7, 2017

Schaeffler South Carolina Expanding, Adding Heat Treat Capacity

Schaeffler Group USA is expanding their facilities in the US Southeast. Schaeffler as a bearing manufacturer does a great deal of heat treating in house (all of it “top end” heat treating with the latest technologies) and yes that includes their plant in Fort Mill, SC which will  see an investment in more heat treating equipment. One of the reasons we mention this today is because this is the way of the future in North America, a rapidly growing manufacturing sector in the US Southeast which translates into more heat treating. So if you are a commercial heat treater or industry supplier this is an area which can’t be ignored. June 7, 2017

“Fresh off a $36 million expansion that bought Schaeffler Group USA Inc.’s Fort Mill Plant 1 to close to 500 employees, the German-owned company believes that number will be closer to 550 by 2020. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and about 115 guests were busy Thursday celebrating that last expansion when Michael Pees, Fort Mill 1 plant manager, unveiled the number 544 on a video display. That’s the projection for employment at the factory by 2020. By 2020, the plant will also increase production of its bearings and bearing assemblies by 50% to 150 million a year. Pees says the key to that expansion — beyond a booming business for its automaker customers — is the workforce that Schaeffler has found in South Carolina. “The foundation of our plant are our employees,” he says. Schaeffler expanded its apprenticeship program that it started at its Cheraw plant in Chesterfield County to York County. During its five-hour celebration, 20 apprentices from the program at York Tech were present for pictures and questions. For the Fort Mill campus, it was a hugely important day for the approximately 1,300 employees on Schaeffler’s 60 acres off Interstate 77 in northern York County. For the first time in about 10 years, two Schaeffler family members that own about 75% of the stock in the company are visiting. Schaeffler’s S.C. employment now stands at 3,100. In the last five years alone, Schaeffler has spent $50 million in expanding and Fort Mill 1, Pees says. At Fort Mill 1, production started about two months ago in the expanded area that includes presses with forces as large as 400 tons. That addition added 30% to the size of the factory floor. The booming auto industry has been Schaeffler’s driver for its recent expansion. The company makes bearings in Fort Mill that are used in automobiles and other industrial applications down to lawnmowers. The company also makes a “variable-cam timing system” that attaches to Ford and other engines to improve fuel economy.” 

Solar Atmospheres, Souderton PA

Solar Atmospheres announces that it has been reaccredited with the MedAccred certification for heat treating at the Souderton, PA facility for a third consecutive year.  Solar Atmospheres in Souderton has held the MedAccred accreditation since the program’s inception in 2015.  Solar boasts the honor of becoming the first, globally, to achieve a MedAccred Heat Treating Accreditation and has maintained its accreditation seamlessly since the initial audit.  Given the ever-changing landscape of the medical manufacturing industry and having demonstrated its ongoing commitment to quality by satisfying customer requirements and industry specifications, Solar Atmospheres is gratified to have earned the prestigious “MedAccred First” medallion of accreditation while maintaining a MedAccred Heat Treating accreditation at the Souderton location on a continuous basis.  For additional information about Solar Atmospheres, please contact Mike Moyer, Director of Sales at 215-721-1502 x1207, or mikem@solaratm.com, or visit us at www.solaratm.com. June 7, 2017

Dan Kay Does Taiwan

In the brazing world few are as well known as Mr. Dan Kay of Kay & Associates in Simsbury, CT. Dan recently was invited to host a brazing-training seminar at RonJye Enterprises in Taiwan which apparently was quite a success. Some of the attendees are shown in the photo below which includes the shocking photo of Mr. Andy Chen of Marstate Industrial Corporation in a polo shirt. In the 25 years we have known Andy we have never known him to wear anything other than a blue suit. June 6, 2017

Back row (standing, left to right):  Charles Tsau (Marstate Industrial Corporation), Ken Lin(RonJye), Zheng-Yi Hong (Consultant to RonJye), Richard Li (KingLai Hygienic Mat’ls), Ian Widlow (AMAT, Inc.), Sam Kim (AMAT, Inc.), Vincent Lin (KingLai Hygienic Mat’ls), and George Hsiao (RonJye)

Front row (seated, left to right):   Andy Chen (Marstate Industrial Corporation), Linda Liao (AMAT, Inc.), Dan Kay (Instructor), Joe Tu (RonJye Enterprises), and John Lin(RonJye)

PhoenixTM Supplies Temperature Profiling System to Major Brazilian Tile Manufacturer

“PhoenixTM have recently received an order from a major tile manufacturer for one of their ‘Hot Box’ systems for monitoring the product temperature during the firing process. Firing tiles is similar to heat treatment processes but with some speciality products the duration can be longer (24 hours plus), and the temperature higher (1200°C / 2200°F).  The system will be used in their tunnel kilns to increase throughput and cost efficiency while maintaining product quality. Firing tiles is often carried out in high speed roller hearth kilns where firing times are short (30 to 45 minutes), but where tile size is relatively small, tunnel kilns are used and each kiln ‘car’ in the tunnel is stacked with tiles. In these kilns the firing time is greatly increased, and measuring the temperature profile (or firing curve) of a loaded car is essential to ensure products at the center and extremities of the load are subject to the same firing conditions. The main reason for the system purchase however is that temperature is critical to tile color, so being able to see the exact temperature profile of the load is vital to the product quality. For more information contact:  info@phoenixtm.com    www.phoenixtm.com  June 6, 2017

Kiln car for tiles fired in ceramic boxes (saggers). 

Can-Eng New Furnace Order

“Can-Eng Furnaces International Limited was recently awarded a contract from a leading North American manufacturer of forged aluminum suspension components.  This project reflects a long list of recent projects involving Automotive Light Weighting initiates where Can-Eng technologies have been favored in delivering the lowest cost of ownership per unit of production.  Automotive manufacturers continue to pressure supply partners in developing systems and components that deliver weight reduction benefits yielding reduced vehicle fuel consumption. The furnace system will be integrated into a completely automated forging cell expansion, with a sophisticated controls & part tracking system, for heating aluminum billets prior to forging of automotive suspension components. Can-Eng’s patented rotary hearth furnace technology was utilized in this application as it provided optimal part handling and temperature profile parameter flexibility within the smallest manufacturing floor space.  Can-Eng’s Rotary Furnace Systems continues to replace conventional in-line continuous belt style heating systems as they offer superior footprint, energy consumption and maintenance requirement benefits.” June 6, 2017

Ion vs; Gas Nitriding

A few weeks back we posted some comments about the relative merits of gas and ion nitriding which were provided by Dr. Edward Rolinski, of Advanced Heat Treat Corp., of Waterloo, Iowa (Dr. Glow to you and I). His comments started with this statement which provoked a response from Mark Podob of Metlab, a commercial heat treater in PA. “When plasma nitriding was first introduced, it was treated as a solution for the problems related to the nitriding process “. Marks comments can be found below. June 5, 2017

 “Gord –I just love reading articles talking about the death of gas nitriding and all of the associated problems/hazards/inefficiencies. Metlab has among the largest nitriding capabilities in the United States, with our largest 15’ in diameter by 12’ long. We generally nitride two times a week, in either this furnace, or one of our 84” diameter by 96” tall furnaces – filling them with many customers parts. In addition to the capacity for carburizing and hardening large parts, like gears, pinion shafts and bearing races, we are also well known for nitriding as a core competency. From a commercial heat treating standpoint, the benefits of gas nitriding are numerous – we can mix and match parts in a load without localized overheating which allow us to accommodate different customers and customer products. And we have the additional advantage of simple masking with stop off paint as opposed to expensive mechanical masks which allows us to economically keep areas soft when required and also the ability to nitride blind and through holes. And in addition, we have well mastered the technique of in-situ activating stainless steel surfaces, so that processing these materials has never been an issue. Finally, white layer doesn’t seem to be an issue either – in many applications it is not an engineered surface, not needed, and is simply removed. Certainly ion nitriding has its strengths – for mass nitriding many of identically sized parts where the glow can be uniform, it is probably a good technique. And using little gas, it can be economic. But quite frankly so is gas nitriding, as clearly evidenced by the demand for our services. With our 90 year history, Metlab has been nitriding since the process was commercially viable – Conrad Knerr, the son of the founder of Metlab wrote the definitive chapter in the ASM Handbook on nitriding as well as numerous technical publications on the same topic. Large parts like tank turret gear races, and 25,000 pound main propulsion drive gears for submarines are a few notable projects that are ongoing at Metlab. And as a side note, ion nitriding was tried for both of these projects and rejected. As Mark Twain so eloquently stated – “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Consolidated Engineering Company T6 Order

Consolidated Engineering of Georgia sent us this press release. June 5, 2017

“CEC has been awarded a contract for a T6 Heat Treat System consisting of a solution furnace, quench tank, age oven, post-age cooler and interconnecting conveyors. The equipment will be used to heat treat wheel castings. The design is similar to the successful system previously supplied to this customer.” 

Willy Wilbur Engaged

In an interesting human interest story we see that Willy Wilbur a rising star in the heat treating industry recently got engaged. Willy has been working with the family rep firm Wm. Wright and Associates in the Chicago area for the past few years and is becoming quite well known. The company reps for firms such as AFC-Holcroft, Wirco, Tenaxol and UPC to name a few. Congratulation Willy! June 5, 2017

Kentucky Heat Treating Adding Capacity

Commercial heat treater Kentucky Heat Treating in Winchester, Kentucky is finding business good enough to warrant some more equipment. We understand that the family owned and run commercial heat treater (the Stenger family) are in the process of adding two Surface Combustion Super 30 batch IQ furnaces and companion equipment. The Kentucky Heat Treating Company was founded in 1967 in Georgetown, Kentucky to service the Lexington IBM typewriter plant and other commercial accounts in the area. It was located in a 16,000 sq ft plant and utilized batch integral quench equipment. In 1981, the company was sold. Since that time there have been many changes and considerable growth both in size and equipment. In 2004 the company relocated to Winchester Kentucky and is currently occupying a building of 65,000 sq ft. June 2, 2017

Rubig

We welcome our most recent advertiser Rubig the best known name in the world when it comes to Plasma Nitriding systems. While we think of Rubig for Plasma Nitriding systems the company offers far more than just this technology. Whether it is Vacuum Hardening furnaces, gas nitriding systems or commercial heat treating Rubig can help you with all of these. You can find out more about the company by clicking on their banner ad on this page. June 2, 2017

Photos From Yesteryear

From time to time we reach back in time for photos from the past and that is exactly what we are doing today with these three photos. June 2, 2017

AFC-Holcroft Sales Team 2006. Included in the photo are Gord Montgomery, Ed Boll, Bill Martin, Tom Leja and a couple of others whose names escape us.

Pete Callert of Heat-Tek and Kyle Favors at Euclid Heat Treat in 2006

Bill Disler and Bernie Parry of AFC-Holcroft flanking Don Longenette who was with Timken at the time

William Gordon Montgomery 1934-2017

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of William (Bill) Gordon Montgomery on May 31 2017. Bill was born in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Following a career with Union Carbide Bill started a manufacturers rep firm under the name “William G. Montgomery Ltd.”, in 1969, which was followed by “The Monty” in 1999.  Over a period of time the rep business eventually focused entirely on the heat treating industry. Amongst the first companies which WG Montgomery Ltd., represented were Pifco (now part of AFC-Holcroft), Marathon Monitors, SBS and Alloy Engineering. While Bill retired a few years ago he maintained a keen interest in the heat treating industry when he was not traveling or spending time at his cottage on the Canadian Great Lakes. The photo below was taken just 2 months ago and shows Bill with his only great grandchild Alexander Montgomery Parkes. His experience and love of the industry will be missed.  June 1, 2017

Vacuum Engineering Services Co., Inc., Sold

Vaccum Engineering Services Co., Inc (VESCo) located in East Windsor CT, USA was formed in 1983 to provide support services to the vacuum processing industry. Since that time, VESCo has specialized in the repair, modification, and reconditioning of vacuum heat treating equipment and along the line built up a good little business in the process. With the owner getting older and looking forward to retirement the company went on the market a few months back and as a result of a mention on “The Monty” the company has found a new owner, an owner which we will mention within the next week or so. The new owner has some ambitious plans so we believe we will be hearing a lot more about the company in the future. May 31, 2017

Solar Atmospheres

Solar Atmospheres of Western PA announces that it has been awarded Nadcap 24-month merit status. Susan Generalovich, Quality Manager says: “Teamwork!  I am so proud of our entire Solar team.  The only way to achieve high quality standards is to have every member pulling in the same direction.  That is what we have here at Solar Atmospheres of Western PA.  From top management to the guys on the floor, everyone is focused on quality.  We know this from our visitors and our customers.  They appreciate the care they see used on their products and on our facility.”

“Congratulations to Solar Atmospheres on successfully passing what may be the aerospace industry’s most stringent process capability assessment audit,” said Joe Pinto, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Performance Review Institute. “Nadcap audit criteria are widely acknowledged to be hard to meet and companies like Solar Atmospheres who succeed at doing so, rightfully deserve recognition.” For additional information about Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, contact Mike Johnson at 866.982.0660, ext. 2223, or mike@solarwpa.com, and visit www.solaratm.com.

About Nadcap. Administered by the Performance Review Institute, Nadcap is an industry-managed approach to conformity assessment that brings together technical experts from both Industry and Government to establish requirements for accreditation, accredit Suppliers and define operational program requirements. This results in a standardized approach to quality assurance and a reduction in redundant auditing throughout the aerospace industry.

PRI is a global provider of customer-focused solutions designed to improve process and product quality by adding value, reducing total cost and promoting collaboration among stakeholders in industries where safety and quality are shared goals. PRI works closely with industry to understand their emerging needs and offers customized solutions in response. Learn more at www.p-r-i.org or contact PRI at PRI@p-r-i.org  May 31, 2017

Case hardening basics: Nitrocarburizing vs. carbonitriding. 

Rob Simons a Metallurgical Engineer with Paulo one of the largest commercial heat treaters in North America is sharing with us the differences between Nitrocarburizing and carbonitriding. May 30, 2017

Case hardening basics: Nitrocarburizing vs. carbonitriding; Confusion surrounding the case hardening techniques of nitrocarburizing and carbonitriding prove the point that it’s easy to get lost in the nomenclature behind heat treating processes.  That comes with the territory. Metallurgy is complicated. But there’s value to explaining the differences between these techniques and the benefits that result from their use, including cutting down on the confusion to help manufacturers better understand what goes on in the heat treater’s furnaces.

 Case hardening; Case hardening refers to the “case” that develops around a part that is subjected to a hardening treatment. Nitrocarburizing and carbonitriding both make a workpiece surface harder by imparting carbon, or carbon and nitrogen, to its surface. Material, part specs and intended uses dictate whether nitrocarburizing or carbonitriding is the best case hardening method.

 Carbonitriding; During carbonitriding, parts are heated in a sealed chamber well into the austenitic range—around 1600 degrees Fahrenheit—before nitrogen and carbon are added. Because the part is heated into the austenitic range, a phase change in the steel’s crystal structure occurs that allows carbon and nitrogen atoms to diffuse into the part. Nitrogen is added to low-carbon, low-alloy steels because they don’t harden well without the boost the nitrogen provides. The nitrogen comes in the form of ammonia gas molecules that crack apart on the surface of the part to provide nitrogen that diffuses into the steel. Adding nitrogen also helps a part maintain hardness during use in high-temperature operational conditions. Carbonitriding typically achieves greater case depths compared to nitrocarburizing. There’s no theoretical limit to how deep a case can be achieved in either process, but a practical limit is the time and resources one is willing to spend to achieve certain case depths. The carbonitriding process takes from a few hours up to a day or more to achieve the desired results: a part with high surface hardness but with a relatively ductile core. The process concludes with a quench. Carbonitriding is used to harden surfaces of parts made of relatively less expensive and easily-machined steels, like stamped automotive parts or wood screws. The process makes parts more resistant to wear and increases fatigue strength.

 Nitrocarburizing; Nitrocarburizing also entails the dissolution of carbon and nitrogen into a workpiece, but, compared to carbonitriding, more nitrogen is used in nitrocarburizing. There are two forms of nitrocarburizing: austenitic and ferritic. Austenitic nitrocarburizing refers to the temperature of the nitrogen-enriched zone at the surface of a part. A phase change occurs in that zone, allowing the nitrogen to diffuse. Ferritic nitrocarburizing is conducted at a lower temperature where no phase change occurs. Case depths as a result of nitrocarburizing are typically more shallow compared to carbonitriding. Ferritic nitrocarburizing is unique in that it offers case hardening without the need to heat metal parts into a phase change (it’s done at between 975 and 1,125 degrees Fahrenheit). Within that temperature range, nitrogen atoms are soluble in iron but the risk of distortion is decreased. Due to their shape and size, carbon atoms cannot diffuse into the part in this low-temperature process. Workpieces improved by nitrocarburizing include drive train components in automobiles and heavy equipment, firearm components like barrels and slides and dies for manufacturing processes. Nitrocarburizing decreases the potential for corrosion in parts and enhances their appearance. The process generally takes only a few hours.

 Knowledge is power; The nitrocarburizing and carbonitriding processes can be complicated, but they’re also critical to ensuring parts can stand up to the environments in which they’ll be used. By learning more about these and other heat treating processes, you’re taking a big step toward more productive future discussions and a stronger relationship with your heat treatment partner.

Modern Metals India

We welcome our most recent advertiser, Modern Metals India one of the larger commercial heat treaters in India. The company offers a number of processes ranging from vacuum hardening to plasma nitriding to Induction hardening and cryogenic processing. We will have more details about the company in the near future but for the time being we can say that Modern Metals India is part of the rapidly growing heat treating industry in India. May 30, 2017

Monday Morning Briefing

Jones Metal Products company in West Lafayette, Ohio was just honored by Lockheed Martin as a top small business supplier for products and serviced to its Missiles and Fire Control business. In Jones Metal’s case it was exemplary work by the company’s aluminum heat treating services. Jones Metal seems to offer a variety of services including aluminum heat treating and vacuum heat treating. Out on the west coast of the US manufacturers rep Marty Keylon (an ex Bodycote guy) has added a couple of lines to the ones he currently has. The new lines included United Process Control (UPC) who offers pretty much everything to do with furnace controls and Dibalog an energy optimization company based in Germany. We have a great deal of experience with Dibalog and can say they have a good product with several installations in Canada and the US but for reasons unknown to us it has never become a very common product for heat treaters-a shame as it does a good job. Furnace company Abbott is having their third annual continuous furnace training symposium November 7-9 in Monterrey, Mexico. This being the third event we have to assume that it has been a success in years past. When we think of Abbott we think sintering furnaces more than anything else.

Seems to be a lot of events in Mexico these days, here is another one which happened recently. We will let Swiss furnace builder Codere tells us about it; “Codere want to inform readers of a very successful Open House organised with our recent customer Termitec in Puebla. In the past Termitec concentrated on Tenifer treatment with management researching the market where they see growth in the future for a local market in Puebla dominated by tooling & automobile industries. At the event below was leading local and international companies along with local government officials interested to learn more about our modular System 250. There was 75 participants at this event from over 40 companies all with an interest in learning about an area Codere has seen significant recent growth. Codere’s team presented the various construction, environmental, process and technical advantages of their patented System 250 over more conventional designs for market leaders in the bearing, aerospace and automobile industries. The general consensus was that certain heat treaters today are looking for alternatives that allow quenching of the load into molten salt to obtain martensitic or bainitic structures without temperature losses and without contact with air during transfer. Salt quenching also offers considerable advantages over oil in terms of reduced distortion available at Termitec. In the photo below are the people involved in this workshop with David Howard Sales Manager and Jean-Marie Hertzog Metallurgist from Codere SA along with Termitec management. Further information on Termitec can be viewed on http://www.termitec.com.mx Further information on our products can be found at www.codere.ch

In the UK we have this news; “The heat treatment division at Keighley Laboratories Limited has achieved the Nadcap (heat treating) accreditation for its Nitriding process, adding to the firm’s growing list of accreditations and prime approvals. This achievement demonstrates the firm’s commitment to delivering the highest standards of heat treating to the aerospace industry. “Congratulations to Keighley Laboratories on successfully passing what may be the aerospace industry’s most stringent process capability assessment audit,” said Joe Pinto, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Performance Review Institute. In addition, the heat treatment division has recently undergone a successful annual BSI reassessment. Managing director, Debbie Mellor said: “The range and number of accreditations held by Keighley Laboratories builds the support and confidence of our customers. “They highlight the company’s achievements and strengths, particularly important in our competitive market.”

Want to know about the largest furnace in Australia? This one was built by Furnace Engineering near Melbourne. “This big beauty (26 m long x 7m wide x 7m high) is configured to provide normalising and stress relieving of welded steel pressure vessels. After loading of the vessel by overhead crane, our furnace “walks” over the vessel and lowers itself onto the hearth; the door is positioned and then the heat treatment cycle is run. It is powered by pulsing gas burners and runs to a maximum temperature of 1000˚C, and all with close temperature uniformity throughout the cycle.”

Rohde, Hanau, Germany has this to say; “The expert committee 3 for nitriding and nitrocarburizing met for its 59th meeting on May 4th 2017 in Hanau at Rohde GmbH in their new factory which offers enough space to welcome all participants 45 participants from Germany and Austria attended the meeting. Originally the meeting has always taken place in Hanau at Degussa. Hanau is centrally located and can be easily reached from every part of Germany. The next expert meeting in December will also take place in Hanau at Rohde GmbH.” May 29, 2017

Aerocraft Heat Treating, Paramount, CA

One of the largest commercial heat treaters on the west coast of the US is Aerocraft Heat Treating Company located in Paramount, CA http://www.aerocraft-ht.com/ Their name has been in the news quite often recently as the city of Paramount has found elevated levels of hexavalent chromium which they blame of several local companies including Aerocraft. Aerocraft disputes this and is suggesting that different testing methods be used. The information below comes from the city of Paramount. May 26, 2017

“Following the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) March 16 hearing to consider potential modifications to Aerocraft Heat Treating Company’s stipulated order for abatement, Aerocraft approached the City regarding the construction of new scaffolding in order to install its own air quality monitor above the height of a newly constructed wall. During the hearing, the company had argued that the monitors owned and operated by SCAQMD could not reliably collect readings of hexavalent chromium due to the way that they are manufactured. The company has been placed in curtailment four times to date; the curtailments stem from SCAQMD monitors showing a three-day average that exceeds the agreed-upon 1 nanogram per cubic meter (ng/m3) threshold. In order to prevent future curtailments and ensure that its emissions are correctly registered, Aerocraft has requested permission to build a temporary scaffold structure in the public right-of -way on the outside of its facility. This scaffolding will provide a space for both Aerocraft’s own air quality monitor as well as a monitor from SCAQMD, allowing the results for the two samplers to be better compared with each other. The City of Paramount has followed this issue closely and is working with the facility in the implementation of its new project. Currently, all metal-related businesses are under the effect of a moratorium that prevents any new businesses from applying for City licenses and permits. Additionally, under the moratorium, existing businesses are prohibited from any expansion. However, due to Aerocraft’s scaffolding being built for the end-purpose of mitigating emissions, the City plans to expedite the permitting process. City staff are currently reviewing the company’s submitted application for an encroachment permit; Aerocraft has requested permission to construct scaffolding at a greater height than what it had originally submitted. Though the company has cooperated fully with the City, the City’s review of the application may take another one to two weeks. This will help to ensure that the safety of the public nearby is maintained while the temporary scaffolding is erected.” 

Death of the “Super 30” Batch IQ Furnace?

“Super 30” is actually a trade name for a batch IQ furnace made by Surface Combustion of Maumee, Ohio, USA. Surface Combustion was founded in 1915 and the Super 30 batch IQ furnace with working dimensions of 30” wide X 48” deep and varying heights was introduced in the 1940’s or 50’s. Over the years it has become the most common furnace in North America with literally thousands being built but the world keeps changing and in recent years the “Super 30” size furnace has been replaced by the 36” X 48” sized furnace as the most common new size of furnace. It is a testament to the number of units built that the name has become a generic one-in many cases any make of furnace with these working dimensions is referred to as a “Super 30”. The furnace is of course not going anywhere and many will remain in service for years to come but the demand for new ones has certainly declined and in the future they will be relegated to areas with smaller volumes or captive heat treaters with relatively small runs.  May 25, 2017

Hauck Cheltenham Adds Vacuum Furnace

Hauck Heat Treatment in Cheltenham, UK has just added a brand new Ipsen vacuum furnace. Hauck is part of the Aalberts Group of the Netherlands and is one of the largest commercial heat treaters in the world with plants throughout Europe and the US. It was formerly known at TTI until the Hauck name was adapted over a year ago. May 25, 2017

“Cheltenham is pleased to announce that May saw the arrival of our new Ipsen Turbo2 Treater “M” size Vacuum Furnace. Thanks to the commitment and support of our skilled workforce and engineering team, with support from our nominated contractors, VAS, Fabwell & Hicksons, the installation and commissioning is expected to be very fast and we should be processing our first loads in a little over one week. The new furnace is a replacement, but this furnace will be compliant for Aerospace heat treatment so further expands our capable capacity within that key market sector. The furnace is also installed with “PD Metrics”, a system that intelligently monitors aspects of the furnace, reports back and anticipates problems before they occur, making it our most advanced and up-to-date piece of Vacuum technology within our UK group.”

Briggs & Stratton Fire

Captive heat treater Briggs & Stratton had a small fire in the heat treating department at their plant in Wauwatosa, MN, USA. The fire started in a duct above a furnace which we are speculating was probably coated with quench oil which leads us to ask does anybody clean ducts of oil buildup? We are not being facetious with our question it is just that this is such a common occurrence that it makes us wonder if any companies clean ducts as part of regular maintenance or if a fire in a duct is a sign that they need to be cleaned. May 24, 2017

“A fire that broke out Monday morning, May 22 in a ceiling at Briggs and Stratton was quickly extinguished by firefighters. The Wauwatosa Fire Department responded to a 10:21 a.m. call and crews were dispatched to the building at 3300 N. 124th St. Arriving crews located the fire in an overhead duct that was perched above some heat-treating equipment, according to a news release from the Tosa Fire Department. Tosa firefighters were able to put out the blaze in about 40 minutes with help from the Milwaukee and West Allis fire departments. The release said Tosa firefighters were in the area training and noticed a large amount of thick, black smoke in the air. “Our crews began to respond just as our dispatch center received the 911 call from Briggs and Stratton,” the release said. The building was evacuated while fire crews did their work. Control of the building was turned back to Briggs and Stratton at approximately 11:45 a.m. The release said the exact cause of the fire is undetermined but appears to have started in or near the exhaust ducts located above the heat-treating equipment. The fire does not appear to be suspicious and the investigation has been closed by the Fire Prevention Bureau, the release said. No injuries occurred as a result of the fire and initial damage estimates are pending.”

Forge USA Auction/Houston, Texas

If you were planning on attending the Forge USA auction in Houston, Texas Wednesday, May 24th you can now cancel your plans. This forging facility has a large heat treating department which consists of a whole “whack” of furnaces including melting furnaces, large box ovens  and re-heating furnaces all ranging from good condition to pretty basic. As it turns out the auction has been cancelled as the whole plant has been taken over by a company by the name of Forged Components Inc. which will keep the plant in operation. A very good ending in our opinion. May 24, 2017

SSI Seminar, Mississauga, Canada

We have a correction to make about an upcoming SSI Heat Treating Seminar taking place in Mississauga, Ontario which we mentioned just yesterday. The correct date for this is June 22 2017 and we apologize for any confusion. The seminar will feature topics such as these and registration can be done at http://www.supersystems.com/heat-treat-seminar/ May 24, 2017

  • CQI-9, Automotive Heat Treating Requirements.
  • Furnace and endothermic generator troubleshooting.
  • Carbon Probe Troubleshooting.
  • Industry specification for gas flow control.
  • How to produce a quality gas composition in an atmosphere furnace.
  • Managing electronic data and what it means to go paperless.
  • Using infrared technology to measure gas composition.
  • PID control and PID parameters.

Tuesday Morning Briefing

Due to the Canadian Victoria Day holiday our Monday Morning Briefing has become our Tuesday Morning Briefing. We start off with a new name to the industry Heat Treat Central (HTC) whose banner ad can be found on this page. Heat Treat Central is a relatively new company based in Michigan who in the years ahead will be rolling out a number of very cost effective products starting with base trays for batch and continuous furnaces. The base trays are investment cast in HU material and have been running very successfully at several locations in the US for quite some time now. With a price at least 10% under other suppliers we have no doubt but that you will be hearing a lot more about HTC in the future. Remember we told you fairly recently that we ran across a murder mystery set in the heat treating industry? The book written by long time heat treater Clayton Pinkos who currently runs the heat treat department at Baldor Electric in Tennessee has to be a first-a murder mystery with a heat treating theme? Anyway if you want to see a short “trailer” about the book we have this link for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC0RoKxMkkM

Braddock Metallurgical which has seven locations in the US Southeast (and one in Puerto Rico which always fascinates us) recently made a large investment in gas nitriding equipment. We understand that their location in Atlanta, Georgia has added 2 Nitrex gas nitriding systems. We will not ever say that nitriding is the fastest growing heat treating technology around these days.

Furnace company CIEFFE, the largest furnace builder in Italy has had their ups and downs over the past couple of years but it would appear that this is all behind them with a new owner and ambitious plans for the future. The photo below the press release shows an IQ furnace the company recently shipped. Press release Cieffe Group; “In September 2016 Cieffe International AG fully acquired Cieffe group out of the troubled AccuHolding AG. The new owner started to introduce an extensive restructuring and reorganization measure by December 2016 consequently. Regardless of some time delays due to challenging local circumstances in Italy a landmark decision with the competent court of Treviso could be signed. According to this agreement Cieffe Thermal Systems S.R.L. (CTS) has taken over full operational control by April 1 2017 from Cieffe Forni and Cieffe Engineering. Since this date CTS can project, consult, sign and process client orders and request unrestrictedly. With the support of some strategic clients the new company in enjoying strong demand already in its early launch period. Cieffe Service which was never part of the financial restructuring due to its strong balance sheet will be more integrated into the new Cieffe groups to address clients needs in its entirety under one united roof. Sincerely Peter Schweighofer 

 Are things improving in the heat treat industry? Our answer is an unqualified, definite YES. You ask how we can be so sure? In the past month we have added several new “help wanted” listings with more to come, used equipment inquiries are up substantially for all of the used equipment dealers and new furnace builders are reporting new orders as up substantially. Combine all these and we have no hesitation saying things are looking up in the industry. Controls company SSI of Cincinnati, Ohio is hosting another of their very successful 1 day heat treating seminars, this one June 22 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. SSI has been doing this for years and they have been successful because they concentrate on heat treating specifications and troubleshooting which staying away from shameless self promotion.  Speaking of new orders Nutec Bickley in Mexico tells us about this one which is in addition to a recent substantial order for drop bottom ovens the company recently received from Frisa in Monterrey, Mexico;  “NUTEC BICKLEY delivered a Heat-Treating Car Bottom Furnace to a global forging company for one of their North American facility. The furnace inside dimensions are 30ft L x 11ftW x 10ftH with a capacity of 110 Tons. The temperature operating range is 950˚F to 1850˚F with a temperature uniformity requirement of ±15˚F≤1250˚F and ±25˚F>1250˚F. The Furnace is equipped with our sophisticated multi-mode Pulse Firing combustion system. The project was delivered in time. The customer was impressed with the ceramic fiber insulation lining quality and the performance of the equipment. It is probably the most efficient heat treating furnace in their facility.” 

 And to round things out we have another new furnace announcement this one from Lindberg/MPH.  “Lindberg/MPH announced the shipment of an electrically heated hand-tilting aluminum melting furnace to the sand casting industry. The furnace will be used as a central breakdown for transfer via bull ladle. The resistance melting furnace has a melt rate of 50 lbs. per hour and can accommodate a crucible with a holding capacity of approximately 150 lbs. of molten aluminum. The furnace utilizes low voltage heating elements which provide a long service life.” May 23, 2017

Victoria Day Holiday

Due to the Canadian Victoria Day Holiday, a national holiday celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday there will be no news updates for Monday May 22. Regular news items will resume Tuesday May 23 with updates about a major change at a European furnace builder, a story about “Heat Treat Central” (HTC) which will attract a great deal of attention in the North American heat treating market and several other very interesting news items about the worldwide heat treating industry. May 22, 2017

Salt Quenching Safety

The main story of the week in the worldwide heat treating industry has been the explosion in a salt quenching furnace which resulted in 23 injuries. The details as we know them can be found on this page. If there is a lesson to be learned here it is that precautions need to be taken in salt applications as David Pye points out here. May 19, 2017

“Hello Gord, That truly was a very tragic accident  that the company has experienced. I am sure that the root cause will come down to a nitrate salt mixture/contamination . Not too many people realize that the nitrate quenching salts are mad (depending on the required melting temperature) that Potassium  Nitrate and Sodium Nitrate  are highly combustible salts. (One of these salts is a component of Gunpowder!!) Highly combustible  and if mixed with a cyanide based salt, extremely explosive.  I am sure that the root cause of the terrible accident will come down to an accidental salt mixing.  I believe that the whole of the International Heat Treatment Industry needs to conduct regular training session when using heat treatment salts. Heat Treatment salts are an excellent manner in which to treat steel or aluminum from a temperature uniformity perspective. You cannot wish for better temperature uniformity. Heat treating with molten salts is an excellent method of heat treating, however safety training MUST be MANDATORY . T Just as an add on to that, so it MUST be the same for atmosphere heat treatment, especially when using endothermic  atmospheres and hydrocarbon enrichment gases. Once an Integral quench furnace is gassed up, it is a ‘live bomb and it is ticking’. A very good friend once said to me, that an Integral Quench furnace is like a ‘fire breathing dragon’ when the furnace door is opened. Gas admission temperatures are most important to safety!! The heat treatment shop is where metal get hot. Heat can burn or create conditions for explosion. I use a simple illustration to show fire or explosion risk and it is attached. Make use of the illustration and use its message. (Acknowledgements  Fire Inspection and Prevention Initiative) Sincerely, David.”

FAG Shaeffler Explosion Germany

The recent explosion in the heat treating area of FAG Schaeffler in Eltmann, Germany has left 23 people injured, with 7 requiring treatment in specialized hospitals and two remaining in very serious condition. This has to rank as the worst heat treat accident in recent history. News reports now say the cause of the explosion was an experiment in a salt filtration device which went wrong leading to a chemical reaction which caused the explosion. However why the reaction occurred in the first place is still not known. We will keep you updated. May 18, 2017

Bodycote Trading Update

Commercial heat treating giant Bodycote posted their trading update for the first 4 months of 2017 and reports total revenue was up 18% year-on-year. Granted a lot of this had to do with currency exchange rates but even at constant currency rates it is still very respectable growth. May 18, 2017

“LONDON (Alliance News) – Thermal processing services provider Bodycote PLC on Wednesday said that its performance for the first four months of 2017 was in line with the company’s expectations, leaving its outlook for the financial year unchanged. Total revenue for the four months ended April 30 came to GBP227.0 million, up by 18.0% year-on-year, or 7.1% at constant currencies. The Aerospace, Defense & Energy division’s revenue was up by 10.8% ,and Automotive & General Industrial’s revenue saw an even bigger increase in revenue, up by 23.2%. Civil Aviation saw revenue increase by 3.8%, with good growth in Western Europe offset by weaker revenue from the defense and oil and gas sectors. The General Industrial division saw an increase in revenue for the first time in three years, Bodycote said, increasing by 7.9% due to recovery in Europe and limited US growth. Car and light truck revenue increased by 7.9% thanks to growth in Europe and the company’s emerging markets, while Heavy Truck and Bus revenue showed a small decrease. Shares in Bodycote were down by 0.3% at 805.50 pence on Wednesday morning.”

FAG Schaeffler Salt Explosion, Germany

While it is too soon to point to a definite cause of the salt explosion at captive heat treater FAG Schaeffler which injured 13, heat treat expert Mr. David Pye does offer some possible causes; May 17, 2017

“I know that this is pure speculation, However, I think that it could come down to possibly an accidental salt mix occurrence(Cyanide based Salts with Nitrate base quenching salts) Or more probable it could be that a nitrate bath has been locally heated and has exceeded its upper working limits. Nitrate sales are notoriously unstable when operating temperatures exceed say 500Centigrade (depending on the ratio of Potassium Nitrate to Sodium Nitrate). Or it could be that the de-sludging tooling was contaminated with other salts. Safety clothing Protection MUST be MANDATORY when operating and working with molten salts, When molten salts hit your skin, it keeps on burning until it cools down and leave you with a very serious burn to say nothing of flesh contamination from the molten salt. Safety with heat treatment salts should be a routine training, and observation. Safety clothing and handling the salts (molten or in the solid form) and House Keeping. I have been expert witness on too many salt bath accidents as well as having used and sold heat treatment salts and run training programs. It hoped that no one was seriously injured. Accidents like this can occur so easily, simply by accident. Sincerely David Pye” 

PhoenixTM Supplies ‘Hot Box’ TUS Survey System to Pasello Heat Treatment.

“PhoenixTM have recently supplied a ‘Hot Box’ survey system to Pasello Trattamenti Termici S.R.L., a leading Italian provider of heat treatment services.  The system will be used to carry out temperature uniformity surveys (TUS) in a wide range of furnaces including low pressure carburizing, gas carburizing, gas nitriding, etc. ensuring compliance to ISO/TS 16949 & CQI-9 specifications.

The PhoenixTM system included a twenty channel type N data logger protected by a customized high temperature thermal barrier with a quench deflector shield for use in high pressure gas quenches. The data logger was equipped with two way RF telemetry for monitoring the survey externally to the furnace, and ‘on board’ calibration correction data and calibration certificate which can be printed if required. For more information contact:  www.phoenixtm  sales@phoenixtm.com

PhoenixTM system in TUS measurement jig. Inset shows data logger being placed into thermal barrier.

To go with this news item we will add this photo and description of Pasello Heat Treatment; Pasello Trattamenti Termici. For those of us who do not speak Italian, translated this means Pasello Heat Treatment a commercial heat treater with five plants and estimated sales of over 20 million euros for 2016. We have always had a soft spot for family owned commercial heat treaters and this is one being founded in 1998 by Mr. Giberto Pasello who now works alongside of his daughter Alessia and son Vittorio. The location we visited was the area where it all started in Bologna, Italy although this plant is not the original one. Most impressive is that out of the vacuum carburizing furnaces, vacuum nitriders and batch IQ’s none are older than 9 years which is quite remarkable in the commercial heat treating industry. Also memorable is the fact that virtually every furnace is completely automated meaning that the furnaces run 24/7 but for a certain period of time including weekends there are no operators involved. I am sure that a number of factors make this a successful company however the number one reason was immediately apparent to us-the owner Gilberto is an individual with vast experience but even more importantly a vast enthusiasm for heat treating. Quite a remarkable if rather opinionated individual. The company’s latest acquisition, which just started production is shown below, a model HDN vacuum gas nitriding furnace  supplied by CIEFFE. In front of it we see Francesco Pieropan, Sales Director, CIEFFE, Gord Montgomery, Gilberto Pasello, Alessia Pasello and Marco Boscolo, Area Manager, CIEFFE. May 17, 2017

FAG Schaeffler Salt Explosion Germany

We know nothing beyond this news report which would appear to be saying that an explosion happened in a salt quench tank in the heat treating department at FAG Schaeffler in Eltmann, Germany. Our experience with FAG Schaeffler tells us that the company is one of the most progressive in the world when it comes to heat treating, heat treating technology and safety which makes this a very unusual occurrence. May 16, 2017

“A large-scale deployment of fire brigade, police, rescue forces and technical aid organization (THW) had to be carried out on a large scale deployment at the FAG Schaeffler plant in Eltmann (district of Haßberge) on Monday. A total of 120 staff were on site. There had been an explosion in the Unterfrische factory. Several people were injured in some cases. Concerned citizens, members of the plant workers and, above all, media representatives stood in front of the works gates of FAG Schaeffler in Eltmann, on Monday morning, where a press conference had been announced by the police department under Unterfranken. “There was never a danger to the population at any time,” said Björn Schmitt, press officer of the police department Unterfranken, from Würzburg. Schmitt confirmed that during the explosion 13 employees were injured – four of them so hard that they had to be flown by helicopters. Schmitt did not want to comment on whether the injuries are life-threatening. Under the hand, however, there was talk that one of the victims of the accident is struggling with life. According to the first findings, the explosion occurred in the area of ​​hardening furnaces, according to the police officer. Employees had wanted to clean the salt bath in which the rolling elements (produced by FAG Schaeffler) were hardened after annealing in the oven.”

Dr. Valentin Nemkov

“It is with great sadness that we wish to formally announce the passing of our long time friend and colleague, Dr. Valentin Nemkov.As many of you know, Dr. Nemkov had been battling cancer for some time. He peacefully passed on 4/24/17. We ask that you please join us in keeping his wife Nina, his brother Sergei, his sister Nina, his daughters Tatiana and Elena, his step-daughter Masha, and his grandchildren Nastya, Liza and Marie Claire in your thoughts and prayers.

As the grandson of the great Russian inventor Valentin Vologdin (who famously invented the Vologdin Coil, was granted 21 patents for induction heating, and was one of the pioneers of surface hardening technology), Dr. Nemkov was not too far behind when it comes to his impact on this industry.  Dr. Nemkov himself was the author and co-author eight books, 18 patents, and more than 350 articles in scientific magazines.  This includes his decades of research and development accomplishments in the study and optimization of induction systems, the theory of electromagnetic end effects, computer simulation and modeling, and, more recently, optimizing cold crucible melting furnaces, shielding of induction heating coils, heating of magnetic nanoparticles for medical applications, and development of new materials for magnetic flux control as well as high frequency tube welding.

While there will be much time to reflect on the numerous professional accomplishments that Valentin made to the induction industry, for now, we’d like to remember him as our friend, our mentor, and colleague for more than 30 years, and -most importantly- the dear husband of Nina, who is also a colleague of ours here at Fluxtrol.  Not only was he a scholar with profound intellect, but also a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.  He will be sorely missed. Bob and Riccardo Ruffini, Fluxtrol” May 15, 2017

Bill Huber, JTEKT North America

Bill would appear to be a very competent heat treat fellow having worked with companies such as Timken, Ruger Firearms, GKN Aerospace and now JTEKT Corp., always in a heat treating capacity. We mention him today because he very recently parted ways with GKN in SC and is now Principal Heat Treat Engineer with JTEKT North America Corporation in Greenville, SC. JTEKT Corporation was established in January 2006 through the merger of Koyo Seiko Co., Ltd., a world-class bearing manufacturer, and Toyoda Machine Works, Ltd., a machine tool manufacturer excelling in cutting edge machining technologies.  May 15, 2017

BMI Sells 7 Vacuum Temper Furnaces

Now this is a very nice order especially when you combine it with 5 vacuum hardening furnaces manufactured by their sister company for the same customer. We will let BMI a vacuum furnace builder in France tell the story. May 15, 2017

“Last month, BMI was allocated with a new order from its Taiwanese customer WU JII INDUSTRY comprising seven vacuum furnaces. WU JII INDUSTRY, steel distributor and heat treater in Taiwan, is a long-standing customer of BMI. It was one of our first Taiwanese customer in 1988. The order includes seven tempering furnaces, type B54R. Useful dimensions are 600x900xH600 mm for a max load of 600 Kg per furnace. The seven furnaces will be dispatched into three different sites, in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan. As usual with Taiwan orders, the commissioning will be carried out by our local agent PAN FOLKS. With this last order, the WU JII company is now equipped with 14 units of BMI vacuum furnaces. This order was in fact part of a bigger investment project, including also five vacuum gas quenching furnaces, which will be supplied by our sister-company IVA-SCHMETZ from Germany. The total project for 12 vacuum furnaces reached 3M€. BMI is glad to be part of this important project and we hope to continue our collaboration with WU JII for many more years.” 

Callies Precision Engine Components Installs SSI Nitriding System

Callies Precision Engine Components of Fostoria, OH has installed an automated nitriding process control system from Super Systems Inc (SSi).  Callies, a leading supplier to the high performance engine market for 28 years, is always looking at opportunities to invest in technologies that improve quality, reduce cost and collapse delivery time to the customer – and the SSI Nitriding system was a perfect fit.  “Our goal has been to outfit all equipment with the latest technological controls to assure complete accountability with our in-house operations.  This was the main reason we teamed up with Super Systems.” 

The engineered control system from SSi provides Callies with the ability to perform tight nitriding process control using an easy-to-use recipe system that maintains tight tolerances on temperature(s), gas flows and nitriding potential.  The relatively shallow nitride case delivers a tremendous improvement to fatigue life of every Callies crankshaft.  The extremely hard nitrided surface also gives the crankshaft excellent wear resistance.   The SSi control system provides the latest in sensor and flow technology for measuring the nitrding atmosphere and an operator-friendly interface to provide complete traceability to the process and load data.

The SSi control panel was retrofitted on an existing a Lindberg pit furnace previously used for nitriding.  Delivering proper surface and case properties requires in-situ control of the nitriding potential (Kn) and control of the ammonia, dissociated ammonia and nitrogen gases.  The system delivered by SSi also included the control of the Dissociated Ammonia (DA) generator.  The controls for the DA generator provided gas flow monitoring and temperature control to ensure the ammonia is fully cracked prior to being used as process gas in the furnace.Callies takes their heat treating seriously as illustrated by their investment in SSi which is just part of the million dollar plus investment in the department.  Carefully controlled heat treating can be found throughout their manufacturing process which includes induction, neutral hardening, and carburizing. For more information on SSi’s capabilities, visit SSi’s website at http://www.supersystems.com. For more information on Callies Performance Products, visit http://www.callies.com May 12, 2017

Ipsen Adds September Class with Special Atmosphere Session to 2017 Ipsen U Lineup

Ipsen announced a new addition to their 2017 Ipsen U lineup with a September class that will take place September 19-21, 2017. As an added bonus, those that attend the September Ipsen U can extend their training at no extra cost with an additional day dedicated to atmosphere heat-treating systems. This atmosphere session will go from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday (September 21) and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday (September 22).  Ipsen U courses provide attendees with a broad overview of furnace equipment, processes and maintenance, as well as a hands-on approach to learning while receiving qualified tips directly from the experts. The new atmosphere session will also provide attendees with a specialized, in-depth look at their atmosphere equipment and processes. Throughout the course, attendees are able to:

  • Learn about an extensive range of topics – from an introduction to vacuum and atmosphere furnaces to heat treating, furnace controls, subsystems, maintenance and more
  • View the different furnace components firsthand while learning how they affect other parts of the furnace and/or specific processes
  • Take part in one-on-one discussions with Ipsen experts
  • Participate in a leak detection demonstration
  • Tour Ipsen’s facility

Whether you are new to the industry or need a refresher course, Ipsen U teaches best practices that help improve the performance and life span of your equipment – and has been providing training to the heat treatment industry for 30+ years. With a newly remodeled classroom, Ipsen U features comfortable seating for up to 36 attendees, as well as integrated technology with a large smartboard and two additional monitors for interactive presentations and demonstrations. Courses are also available June 6-8, August 1-3 and October 3-5. Learn more and register at www.IpsenUSA.com/IpsenUMay 12, 2017

MIHEU Orders SECO/WARWICK Nitriding System

“The VECTOR is a modular vacuum furnace equipped with high pressure gas quench (HPGQ). It has been used for over 20 years by professional heat treatment companies around the world, such as MIHEU, the Slovenian commercial heat treater, who uses the Vector system to increase production while ensuring high quality work with repeatable results. VECTOR was the first SECO/WARWICK solution purchased by MIHEU. Previously, the Slovenian company purchased a furnace equipped with SECO/WARWICK’s signature technology, ZeroFlow, for nitrocarburizing and controlled gas nitriding. Satisfaction with the equipment efficiency, expertise and experience of SECO/WARWICK were the basis for MIHEU’s continued cooperation and purchase of additional equipment.   In the first quarter of this year, MIHEU purchased the VECTOR system, which will be delivered between 3rd and 4th quarter of 2017. “MIHEU’s heat treatment center is a family business that started its operation from a small workshop. Currently MIHEU enjoys a strong international presence and the scope of its services is constantly expanding. However, achieving such results would not be possible without the cooperation with reliable partners offering the best, solid and innovative solutions. Such a company is SECO/WARWICK, ” said Aleš Prikeržnik, Managing Director at MIHEU.” May 11, 2017

Ion Or Gas Nitriding?

So what will it be? Gas or Ion? Ion or Gas? Edward Rolinski, of Advanced Heat Treat Corp., (Dr. Glow to you and I) gives us his thoughts and Edward is a very good man to listen to when it comes to nitriding. May 11, 2017

“When plasma nitriding was first introduced, it was treated as a solution for the problems related to the nitriding process. At that time, the gas nitriding process was difficult to control and often resulted in formation of an overly thick compound layer. These gas nitriding problems have been solved, and at the moment, the gas process is a parallel technology (Bell, 1973 and Tacikowski, 1976). On the other hand, plasma nitriding has some other unique features, offering, for certain applications, several advantages over the traditional gas or salt bath treatments. Initially, plasma nitriding was used only in its primary form: cold-wall technology. Cold-wall technology had problems maintaining a sufficiently uniform temperature across the load. It also had limitations with the heating rate. Said problems were solved through implementation of hot-wall technology. Early problems of plasma nitriding with control of the arc discharges have been solved with the introduction of pulse power generators, modernization of electronic controlling devices, and the availability of sufficiently fast computers. When cold wall technology is properly understood and managed, it is an extremely viable and efficient surface treatment.

Sputtering is a phenomenon that accompanies the interaction of the glow discharge with the cathode. The pressure of the gases in plasma nitriding ranges between 0.1-5.0 mbar. The sputtered atoms circulate above the cathode in a form of a dust (Merlino, 2004).  Some of the atoms are redeposited on the cathode while others are dispersed in the system, covering the port windows, ceramics of the insulators, and the porthole. Studies of sputtering with iron isotope 59Fe have demonstrated that there is a significant transfer and mixing of the sputtered metal atoms on the surface of the cathode under plasma nitriding conditions (Roliński, 1978). The important practical meaning of this phenomenon is that the excess of atoms returning to the surface might be detrimental to the nitriding process (Wells A. and Strydom I Le R, 1986 and 1988 and Roliński, 2005). On the other hand, sputtering is a very positive phenomenon and in the hot-wall technology is minimized. Sputtering allows fast, in situ, activation of the surfaces not only in stainless steels, but also in highly polished medium alloy tool steels. If treated with the gas nitriding process, these steels would require a special activation step.

The first benefit of plasma nitriding is the ability of the ionized gas to activate the most difficult to nitride BCC alloys, containing significant quantities of chromium and other elements and enabling chemisorption of the active nitrogen species on the surface (e.g. Lebrun, 1972 and Roliński, 1987). The method can be used also for nitriding FCC metals such as nickel (Roliński, 1980) and CPH titanium (Roliński, 1984 and 1988). During the plasma nitriding process, the energy of ions and neutrals bombarding the cathode-work piece is sufficient not only to remove the native oxides of chromium or other elements passivating the surface, but also to cause significant sputtering of the alloy. This fact, together with a low partial pressure of nitrogen in plasma, has a paramount importance in limiting the compound layer thickness, enabling us to call plasma nitriding a low-nitriding potential process (Roliński, 2005). With such a thin compound layer, the nitrided zone, i.e. diffusion zone and compound layer together, is under residual compressive stress. This is required for enhancing bending fatigue properties of many components. Plasma nitriding and nitrocarburizing are environmentally friendly processes since they use very little amounts of gases such as nitrogen and hydrogen. For example a plasma nitriding vessel with the working volume of 30 m3 requires no more than 0.5 m3/hr. Those processing gases, once deactivated and deionized, can go throughout the same sequence of ionization and activation multiple times. In the gas process, ammonia, once cracked is lost forever for the nitriding process. Therefore, a similar sized gas nitriding system may require about 50 m3/hr. of un-dissociated ammonia in addition to similar quantities of nitrogen.” 

Bodycote Camas Achieves Top Aerospace Accreditation

To go with this press release from Bodycote we have a picture taken at the plant a number of years ago. The fellow on the left is Bob Grammer of Grammer Vacuum Technologies and on the right we believe it is Joe Dyer although we wouldn’t swear to it. May 10, 2017

“MACCLESFIELD (U.K.) – Bodycote, the world’s largest heat treating services provider, is pleased to announce that its Camas, Washington Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) location earned the highest level of Nadcap accreditation following the most recent Nadcap audit. As one of the original HIP facilities to achieve this standard, the site plans to maintain its extended Merit status. The emphasis and focus on quality build on a long history of supplying Hot Isostatic Pressing to the world’s aerospace prime manufacturers and their first tier suppliers. Historically, the Camas site has played a strategic role in the aerospace supply chain and supporting new aerospace programs.  In recent years, Bodycote has invested resources and capital to develop and expand operations to meet the demands required to support aerospace as well as energy and medical markets.”

Metca Installs Furnaces at Location in France

“May 2017 – REMIX S.A. has completed commissioning of an electric chamber furnace processing line dedicated to heat treatment of die forgings. The installation was carried out for METCA, a French division of ForgeX Company. This well-known European forging producer has once again chosen Remix S.A. based on  testing and design fit for purpose. This processing line guarantees the technological process on the highest level. The first project for ForgeX Group was delivered by REMIX in year 2014 and was commissioned in Rzeszów, Poland. This latest investment covers heat treatment line, type LT-520, consisting of two electric chamber furnaces that, along with auxiliary devices, make a complete, automated heat treatment set. The processing line type LT-520 is specially designed to carry out annealing processes on various die forgings. The ForgeX group is well known on the European market in the field of die forgings. The METCA division in France supplies parts for aircraft, automotive, agriculture and railway industries. http://remixsa.pl/eng” May 10, 2017

Clif Coleman Interview, April 11, 2017

Today we have an interview with a fellow who brings a very interesting and relatively unique perspective to the heat treating industry, Clif Coleman, owner of Mid-South Metallurgical in Murfreesboro, TN. May 9, 2017

Clif I mentioned how you have a rather unique perspective on the heat treating industry and this is because you entered the industry much later than most of us seem to. Could you please tell us how you ended up as the owner of Mid-South?

 I spent the first 25 years of my career in the corporate world in a variety of industries – moving from engineering/manufacturing to operations and general management. In 2006 I left a great corporate job with a multi-national company, moved from Texas back home to Middle Tennessee to buy a business and “strike out on my own” – so to speak. I looked at wide variety of businesses keeping three basic criteria in mind – the business had to have a stable track record, it had to cash flow to pay the bills and service the debt, and it had to have significant growth potential. I looked at businesses in every imaginable niche and industry. I “kicked the tires” on probably 40 or 50 businesses, took a “deep dive” look at probably ten, and did Letters of Intent and due diligence on 3 or 4.  After all of that, which by the way was one of the most interesting experiences of my professional life, I found that Mid-South fit my criteria – although I had no experience or knowledge of the commercial heat treating industry.

What was your impression of the company the first time you walked into the plant?

The business was typical of many of the “small businesses” I had looked at in my quest to find the right one – a family owned “mom and pop” operation. Candidly, having never been in a commercial heat treating operation I didn’t know much about what I was looking at. It was clear that the equipment was old and tired with a lot of opportunity to improve efficiency on the shop floor. The business was well known and respected in the local market and had grown by reputation and “word of mouth”. But, there had never been any serious sales and marketing effort. Evaluating the financials, the business was sound, but stagnant. So it looked like an opportunity.

Please tell us what equipment Mid-South had when you entered the picture and what the company now has?

In 2007 Mid-South had three Ipsen T4 internal quench furnaces, two small vacuum furnaces, an ion nitride furnace, a salt bath line, a drop bottom furnace, , a couple of induction heat treating machines, a hodgepodge of small temper furnaces, and a “WWII vintage” furnace used for stress relieving. All of the equipment had very antiquated controls and a few pieces of equipment were not even functional.

Due to a number of factors (high operating costs, poor utilization, and low contribution to top line revenue), the salt bath line, the induction machines and the drop bottom furnace were removed. This cleared floor space to make way for larger and more efficient equipment. Of course all of this took place over a period of a few years. This process has been a bit like “flying the airplane and rebuilding it in the air”. You have to keep running the business, serving your customers, paying the bills, plus reorganize and build the company at the same time. The logistics and planning of these steps is always challenging – somewhat like working a puzzle. And I made mistakes along the way. In fact some of my team jokes that we should “install all equipment on casters” so we can easily move it when “Clif has his next brainstorm”.

Today we have three vacuum furnaces and the “original” ion nitride furnace. We have four batch IQ’s with companion tempers, washers, and charge cars, and an assortment of temper furnaces and shot blasting/cleaning equipment. And a couple of years ago we installed a black oxide coating line. Only three pieces of the “original equipment” survived the transformation process. Today Mid-South bears little resemblance to the Mid-South of 2007.  Continue Reading

IOS – Industrie Ofen Service GmbH, Arnsberg, Germany

Yesterday we mentioned that we had heard of a new company in Germany dedicated to the vacuum furnace industry. Our story was largely but not completely correct. IOS www.ios-gmbh.online  does not manufacturer furnaces rather they are producing and selling parts for industrial furnaces and this includes repairs and assembly. The CEO is a fellow by the name of Luigi, Dallo  who in a past life worked for furnace builder Schmetz. And yes it is a new company founded February 28th 2017 May 9, 2017

Home Page Pictures

On a regular basis we update the photos on our home page https://www.themonty.com/ These photos show captive and commercial heat treat operations around the world and include both equipment and individuals. Today we offer a new batch of pictures-have a look as you or your company might be included. May 9, 2017

Monday Morning Briefing.

McLaughlin Services is growing again. McLaughlin Services located in Avilla, Indiana is a furnace rebuilder, new furnace builder and service company. Not that long ago the company added a location on the US west coast, California to be exact to service captive and commercial heat treaters in the area. Now we have word that the company will be adding a location on the US east coast and in addition will now be in a position to service the vacuum furnace industry, something the company has never offered before. We’re guessing within the week we will be able to offer more details and a few pictures of the newest location. From Conrad Kacsik Instrument Systems, Inc. in Ohio we have this press release about a project they recently completed at Nelson Fastening Systems in Cleveland, Ohio. “Conrad Kacsik’s Engineering Division recently completed a full system upgrade of an automated hardening & tempering line for Nelson Fastening Systems. The project consisted of removing the existing control system, VFD drives, limits, and control wiring and installing a new control system. The new system is comprised of a Honeywell HC900 with a 15” operator interface terminal that is integrated with a computer running Specview HMI software. The system controls a 2 zone hardening furnace, generator, quench tank, water cooling tank, washer, 2 zone tempering furnace, and a blackening unit – all of which were integrated with 6 conveyors. The equipment was wired into 4 control panels which were completed by Conrad Kacsik’s Engineering Team. The old conveyor system had VFD’s that did not communicate with a PLC. The new system was programmed with safety features, so that in the event of a chain break or a conveyor jam the system alarms and automatically shuts the other conveyors off.”

So who is Industrial Furnace Service (IOS) WWW.ios-gmbh.online in Arnsberg, Germany? A reader in Germany is leading us to believe that it is a brand new vacuum furnace company. We are not familiar with the company, know nothing about them and with our lack of German are helpless to provide more details at least for today. We have no doubt but that we will be able to tell you more in the very near future.  Correction time. Not that long ago we had a news item with moderate interest to the industry namely  the merger of Metaldyne Precision and TorqTek (Charleston, SC) both captive heat treaters. In the original story we suggested TorqTek operated mainly rotary hearth furnaces, well we stand corrected a reader tells us that while at one time they did have rotary hearth furnaces now the heat treat department consists of 3 or 4 Surface Super 30 batch IQ furnaces.

In people news we have these tidbits. Tony Valeriote, the President of H & S Heat Treating in Ontario, Canada has announced that he will be retiring in the near future. Tony is a super nice guy who has been with H & S for as long as we can remember. H & S is a good sized operation offering batch IQ, continuous and Induction heat treating. Phillip Lee retired at the end of April from Bodycote UK Operations after 41 years with the company although he will continue on as a project manager for a few months helping with an aluminum project Bodycote is working on in California. We ran across Phillip many years ago at a Bodycote location in the UK dedicated to Rolls Royce work but darned if we can find the picture. Marcia Slifka has joined Paulo (commercial heat treating) as Corporate Director of Quality reporting to Ben Crawford, Vice President of Operations.  Marcia will be responsible for complete oversight of Paulo’s quality management systems to maintain consistency and standardization across the company.  This includes maintaining of Paulo’s quality systems of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, AS 9100, NADCAP, and TS (IATF) 16949 certifications. She will lead Paulo’s internal audit team as they work with each plant to continuously improve the customer experience. Also at Paulo we have this item. Tee Rassieur has been appointed as Director of Strategic Programs by Paulo’s executive management team. The newly created position will report to Vice President of Operations, Ben Crawford.  Ben Crawford states “Tee will be responsible for advancing strategic initiatives of Paulo that will coordinate between the plants and our customer needs.  Tee’s proven leadership and direction throughout the organization will drive the necessary programs that solidify Paulo’s commitment to our employees and customers.”

And to round things out Inductotherm Group India, held an official dedication ceremony and Grand Opening of their new Manufacturing Plant in Ahmedabad, India last month. The campus, with an architecturally magnificent 100,000 square meter building that contains a 54,000 square meter manufacturing area, will provide ample space to fully support all of India’s customers. Below you can see a photo of the new location. May 8, 2017

CE European Heat Treatment Forum & Expo

We at “The Monty” attended this conference in 2015 and were impressed. We understand that attendance was again good with roughly 120 people.

“The 4th CE European Heat Treatment Forum & Expo www.heat-treatment-forum.pl took place on April 26-27, 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland. Beginning with the first conference in 2014, this annual Forum has become the most important international heat treat event in Poland and the Central Eastern European region. For all foreign participants, this conference offered a gateway into a region where several western furnace makers and component suppliers are currently selling their products. Organized by the Global Heat Treatment Network, this independent conference has been frequented by many local heat treaters looking for alternatives, new trends and technologies, and new business relationships. During the evening gala, Greg Matula, Head of Furnace Design Engineering at H.C. Starck, was honored for his achievements in the international heat treatment industry with the title “Member of the Heat Treatment Forum Hall of Excellence”. Preciously the award was presented to Michel Korwin (Nitrex), Janusz Kowalewski (Ipsen International) and Hans Veltrop (HVC) at previous year conferences. The 2018 conference will be preceded by two practical sessions on pyrometry and material testing (April 24-26, 2018). At a separate European Induction Meeting, induction hardening will be addressed.”  May 5, 2017

Mid South Metallurgical Invests in AFC-Holcroft Equipment

To the press release below we will add that the man himself, Mr. Clif Coleman can be seen in the photo below with Jordan Montgomery on the left. We can also say that we will shortly be offering an interview with Clif.

“MID-SOUTH METALLURGICAL INVESTS IN AFC-HOLCROFT EQUIPMENT TO EXPAND EXISTING PRODUCTION CAPABILITY  (April, 2017) Commercial heat treater Mid-South Metallurgical located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA has purchased new AFC-Holcroft furnace equipment to increase their production capability. This expansion will significantly increase Mid-South’s production capacity for Carburizing, Carbonitriding, Neutral Hardening, Normalizing, Annealing, and Stress Relieving  of metal components. The new furnace equipment, consisting of a UBQ (Universal Batch Quench) integral quench furnace, two UBT (Universal Batch Temper) furnaces and an EZT Generator, was integrated into the customer’s existing batch furnace line, and has been installed and commissioned at the customer’s plant located just south of Nashville, Tennessee. Said Clif Coleman, President of Mid-South Metallurgical, “I have dealt with many capital equipment companies in various industries throughout my career.  AFC-Holcroft’s performance was by far the most meticulous and professional of any.”  Coleman added, “AFC-Holcroft worked diligently and tenaciously to ensure that our  expectations were met and exceeded.”   Ron Graham, Sales Engineer at AFC-Holcroft stated, “We were pleased to be a part of the expansion of heat treating capacity of Mid-South.  They are a growing commercial heat treater and we are proud that we could be their partner for this project.” For more information, contact media@afc-holcroft.com” May 5, 2017

Paulo, Nashville Division Adds Integral Quench Furnaces

Paulo Nashville has installed two AFC-Holcroft integral quench furnaces, bringing the total to 8 with complimentary equipment such as washing, tempering and rust preventative. The furnaces were built with Paulo’s proprietary integrated control systems ensuring repeatable, error-proofed processing.  They can process loads up to 36”x48”x36” and 4,000 pounds.  The furnaces are currently having uniformity tests completed and system accuracy checks and will be completed in the coming weeks. The furnace line was extended to accommodate the new equipment which includes the addition of four tempering furnaces, pass thru washer and additional material handling and load building stations.  The additional capacity allows Paulo to better serve customers in the Southeast.  The furnaces have capabilities to provide through hardening, case hardening, and ferritic nitrocarburizing processes. The installation is a milestone in the multi-year expansion of Nashville.  The expansion plan included the relocation the vacuum heat treatment department, expansion of the lab and testing area, a new shipping and receiving area that allows for improved staging processing of parts. Paulo is committed to investing in our facilities and remains committed to serving our customers and the market needs. May 4, 2017

Selma Precision/Sona Precision Forge, Selma, NC

Now this plant certainly makes the news on a regular basis-here is a brief summary. Several years ago there was a fire in the heat treating department which burned half the plant to the ground. Sona (the name at the time), rebuilt the plant and heat treating department at a cost of millions which included new furnaces and control systems. They again made the news last year when the company abruptly closed which prompted a number of people to investigate buying the fairly new heat treating equipment. Nothing happened until earlier this year when right out of the blue a new owner surfaced who announced that they were getting into the commercial heat treating business. Now we have this latest news which leads us to believe that the idea of commercial heat treating is being discarded and the plant will go back to being an auto parts supplier and captive heat treat.

“Less than a year after Selma’s Sona Precision Forge plant closed, new blood will restart the assembly line. Selma Precision Technologies, the local name and first American plant for Indian manufacturer the Warm Group, plans to reopen the plant by June with 38 workers and eventually return the site to its former glory. Vinay Upadhyay, director of business strategies and growth for Selma Precision Technlogies, said the Warm Group was initially interested in buying bankrupt Sona’s equipment at auction and shipping it back to India. Instead, it bought the property. The company paid $700,000 for two parcels late last year, and Upadhyay said in all the company has spent $6.5 million on the land and buildings and getting the plant back in shape. He said the company will spend another $3 to $4 million over the next two years. “We had been planning to set up another plant in India, but we had also been in the region and considered setting up a footprint in North America,” Upadhyay said. “We met with the trustee (of the Sona land) planning to probably look at the equipment and ship it back to India. The trustee told us as a foreign company we may have a hard time (winning at auction), but said it’s a good deal, a good bargain and asked why don’t you think of reviving the plant. We thought it might be a good opportunity and a win-win for our company.” Upadhyay said Selma Precision will manufacture the delicate iron parts in car transmissions, gear boxes and differentials. It will also handle some defense contracts. The auto-parts work is similar to what Sona did in Selma, and Upadhyay said the work will tie into Warm’s manufacturing in India, with some parts made on both sides of the earth to end up in the same machines.” May 4, 2017

Natural Gas Spiking

Within the past month we had a story about a death in the industry due to a furnace explosion. We still do not know what caused the accident but as you would expect there was a great deal of speculation and this included something known as “gas spiking”. Heat treat consultant David Pye (amongst others) had comments about this and here is another in depth explanation. What we find particularly interesting in these comments is the effect that “spiking” has on controlling a furnace atmosphere.

“While I am no longer involved directly in the thermal processing industry (after almost 40 years), I still get your newsletter and follow many subjects with interest.  One of those was the latest article on natural gas “spiking”.  David Pye is absolutely correct. I recall fighting this issue as far back as the energy crises of the late 70’s and early 80’s, especially in the Northeast US.  “Spiking” (or as the utility companies like to refer to it – “blending”) created problems not only with endo- and exo- generators, but noticeably affected things like furnace heat-up and recovery times, burner sooting, etc.

 Samples of natural gas we pulled at the time found the methane had been cut with propane, butane, heptane, hexane, synthetic natural gas –  basically anything that would burn. Sometimes the “blending” was significant enough to cause the automatic dewpoint controls of the era to go haywire.  Remember at that time, we were still using 3-gas analyzers and other crude devices (at least by today’s standards) to try and control carbon potential.  Even Alnor dewpointer readings were suspect, because those relationships of dewpoint to carbon potential are based on atmospheres generated from methane.  The longer-chain hydrocarbons have a noticeable affect on those relationships.

 One way I used to educate my customers about this was by telling them to watch the burner on their home gas stove, from day to day or even hour to hour, especially on a cold winter morning.  The nice blue flame of perfect combustion will turn dramatically yellow at times, indicating lots more carbon in the gas – that’s when they were blending.  The populace was waking up, houses were heating, showers being taken, breakfast being cooked. Demand would jump, and the utility would respond with more crap in the pipe. Even at the time, we could NOT get the utilities to supply any data as to composition of what they were supplying.  Their only legal obligation was (and is) to compute the average caloric value for the month, relate it to methane, and charge the customer by the Therm.  They would either (a) deny they were “blending”, or (b) claim any presence of other gasses were temporary and did not present a hazard. Fast forward to today, and it appears they are no more cooperative now than 35 years ago, and probably won’t be until forced to do so by the regulatory agencies.” May 3, 2017

Premier Furnace Specialists/BeaverMatic Supplies Mesh Belt Brazing Furnace to Tool Supplier

“Premier Furnace Specialists/BeaverMatic recently supplied and installed a complete 20-inch mesh belt brazing furnace system to a major tooling supplier in the Midwest. Along with the brazing furnace, a 6000 CFH exothermic gas generator, 6000 CFH gas dryer, a water recirculation system, Marley evaporative cooler/tower, and turnkey installation/startup was included. The furnace is capable of brazing, annealing, and operational temperatures up to 2050°F.” May 3, 2017

Hestia Heat Treat, Racine, Wisconsin

If you are scratching your head asking who the heck Hestia Heat Treat is you are certainly not alone as we had not heard the name until yesterday. Hestia Heat Treat is the new name of Racine Heat Treat in Racine, Wisconsin, USA. Racine HT has been around for many years with at least two owners in the past few years, however very recently it was bought by a fellow by the name of Darius Szczekocki who brings to the company a new name and a wealth of experience. Darius has spent a number of years in the industry with companies such as Bodycote and most recently as General Manager at Bluewater Thermal another commercial heat treater. Hestia Heat Treat has a number of Ipsen batch IQ furnaces and vacuum units. We wish him the best of luck. May 2, 2017

And the Oscar goes to …

“At the end of February, timed to coincide with the Hollywood film industry OSCAR awards, the Austrian Foreign Trade Promotion office in Los Angeles holds their own Economic OSCAR award ceremony.  This year they awarded AICHELIN Holding their “USA-Biz” award in the category of Investment in recognition of their 2016 acquisition of AFC-Holcroft – making Aichelin the largest provider of atmosphere furnaces worldwide.   It is a big honor for Aichelin to be included among this group of top-performing Austrian companies.  Dr. Peter Schobesberger, President of the AICHELIN Group, recently visited AFC-Holcroft’s offices in Wixom, Michigan to collect their award statue in order to bring it home to Austria.”  http://www.aichelin.com/en/news/2017/And_the_Oscar_goes.php May 2, 2017

Peter Schobesberger (President AICHELIN Group).  Right – Bill Disler (President & CEO, AFC-Holcroft)

Calvert Street Capital Partners Announces Initial Thermal Processing Acquisition

May 1, 2017 – Calvert Street Capital Partners (“Calvert Street”) is pleased to announce an agreement to acquire Diamond Heat Treat (“Diamond”) based in Rockford, Illinois. Diamond represents the initial investment in our strategy to build a leading thermal processing company focused on value-added services. Central to this strategy is identifying and bringing together leading businesses that share a focus on world-class safety, quality, service, and advanced technology.

Mike Sobieski, CEO of the thermal processing strategy, commented: “Diamond represents our initial investment and we are delighted to partner with the Diamond team. The company, founded in 1996, has a long and well-deserved reputation for quality and service. We want to thank Bill Akre, Dan Neiber and Bill Denning and acknowledge their accomplishments. They have built an excellent company, and their priority has been to continue the success of the business and provide opportunities for their people. We are honored to continue – and hopefully build upon – their legacy.”

John Hubbard, Chairman, remarked, “I am excited that Diamond is our first step in building a best-in-class company that offers a range of advanced technologies. I believe that there is a tremendous opportunity to offer specialized services to address the evolving technological challenges in the marketplace. We look forward to announcing future acquisitions.”
As announced previously, Calvert Street has partnered with leading executives to build a meaningful thermal processing business. The team, which includes Don Longenette and Lewis Lance in addition to Mike Sobieski and John Hubbard, consists of highly experienced individuals who have spent their careers in thermal processing. This team has complementary skill sets and will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the thermal processing platform.

Calvert Street is a Baltimore, Maryland-based private equity firm focused on investing in industrial service businesses in the lower middle-market. Since its inception in 1995, Calvert Street has focused on partnering with skilled management teams of privately held businesses to drive profitable growth and organizational transformation. The thermal processing partnership builds upon Calvert Street’s experience in other high-value add industrial sectors, including testing and inspection and precision machining. For more information, please go to www.cscp.com. May 1, 2017

Monday Morning Briefing

Wirco, Inc. (Avilla, Indiana/Champaign, Illinois) Purchases Hyper Alloys Inc. (Roseville, Michigan). Industry leading alloy foundry and fabricator Wirco, Inc. is pleased to announce the purchase of Hyper Alloys Inc. (a Michigan based alloy fabricator with over four decades of experience producing high quality tooling and furnace parts for the heat treating and steel processing industries). “Hyper Alloys tube forming capabilities, and line of associated products, provides a perfect complement to Wirco’s existing tube casting and assembly capabilities”, said Chad Wright, President Wirco, Inc.  “We will now have the ability to offer our customers a broad range of assembled and loose stainless steel tube options in addition to Hyper Alloy’s superior lines of furnace muffles, corrugate boxes, and high alloy weldments”.

Along with the purchase of Hyper Alloys, Inc., Wirco, Inc. is also excited to announce a new sales partnership with sales representative firm Bristal Metal Products (Westlake, OH/West Mifflin, PA) who will be covering the states of OH, Western PA, and Western New York State. Bristal Metal Products is a three generation manufacturer’s representative agency with over 60 years’ experience specializing in supplying nickel alloy castings and fabrications for high temperature and corrosion resistant applications. As commented by Chris Dankert, Executive Vice President Wirco, Inc.,“With sales agents Doug Hawkins, Mark Shepard, and Ryan Hawkins along with their knowledgeable administrative staff Bristal Metal Products is well positioned to assist our Wirco/Hyper customers, and we look forward to developing new opportunities with their team”.

Ever have the desire to be the CEO of a large commercial heat treat? You now have your chance. We received this note and while the company name is not mentioned it is painfully obvious that this is a company we mentioned a couple of months back when they were acquired by a venture capital firm;  We’ve been retained by a highly respected private equity firm to fill a CEO position in the heat treatment industry. They’ve just completed their first acquisition and plan to do a roll-up of other heat treatment providers. The compensation package includes an equity opportunity. The hired CEO can live in any Midwest city that has easy access to a major airport.” Arthur F. Lukowicz passed away this past week at the age of 83. Arthur was a metallurgist by background who started at Hi-Temp Heat Treating. He was born on July 22, 1933. As a metallurgist, he worked his way up the company ladder to become president and eventually owner of Hi-Temp and three other heat treating companies.

We often preach that nitriding of all forms is one of the fastest growing processes in the heat treating industry. Gas, Plasma, Salt (well maybe not so much salt), and vacuum are all growing faster that virtually all other forms of heat treating. Within this market segment we have been seeing a great deal of growth in vacuum nitriding in particular. While it is still a small portion of the overall nitriding industry we have run across a few new orders popping up. While not always the best solution certainly in cases where long cycles are required vacuum nitriding is being considered more and more often. Wonder what a building for a commercial heat treat in Wisconsin is worth? Milwaukee-based Mikota Real Estate LLC sold Racine Heat Treating, 1215 Eighth St., to Racine-based GAIA Holdings LLC for $1.36 million. Darius Szczekocki owns GAIA Holdings. Racine Heat Treating does batch processing, induction hardening and vacuum hardening of metals.”

From the UK commercial heat treater Wallwork sent us this announcement about how they have just ordered another furnace;Five years on from installing our first aluminium furnace, which gave us a foothold in the highly specialised magnesium heat treatment market, business is now booming and a new furnace is on order to meet expected continuing growth. The new furnace will have a chamber with a plan area of 1 by 2 metres and height of 1.4 metres. This will permit much larger single items or component volumes to be processed than currently, with single batch loads up to 1500 Kilos. In addition to processing components, there is a demand to heat treat billets of aluminium and magnesium, enabling the materials to be more efficiently machined to produce a finer finish.”

To round things out we have this press release from furnace builder Lindberg/MPH; Lindberg/MPH announced the shipment of an aluminum central melting furnace to the die casting industry. This equipment holds 62,000 lbs. of aluminum and has a melt rate of 6,000 lbs. per hour.  The furnace is loaded with aluminum ingot, and sows across a preheat hearth and returns are fed via conveyor system into an exterior side well that is interconnected to a circulation well equipped with a pump. The aluminum on the hearth receives tremendous preheat before being pushed into the bath which increases efficiency and improves safety. May 1, 2017