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Flame Hardening Ain’t What it Used To Be

October 26th of this year we posted these comments and are we ever glad we did as it opened our eyes a whole new world of Flame Hardening; “Flame Hardening-The End of the Line? Flame Hardening is a form of heat treating which involves heat being applied to a part by using oxy-acetylene or another gas. It is heated to the upper critical temperature before the steel is quenched with water. It is a surface hardening process used on medium carbon mild or alloy steels such as 1045, 4140 and 4340 such as crane wheels, cable sheaves and rollers. This is an older technology and very basic with little control over the end result. We mention it today because over the past few years we have seen a number of companies both captive and commercial heat treaters discontinue the process with the most recent one that we have run across being Thermex Metal Treating. There is nothing inherently wrong with the process but it is gradually being relegated to the fringes of the heat treating world along with technologies such as shaker hearth furnaces and Fluidized beds. October 24.”

As a result of these comments we were approached by a very friendly and knowledgeable fellow by the name of Andrew Orr of PENNA FLAME in Zelienople, PA who offered to show us how the technology has changed over the years. It turns out that Andrew’s grandfather Garrett Orr founded a commercial heat treat facility back in 1968 that guess what? Specializes in Flame Hardening, not only specializes by the way as they are probably the largest single flame hardening facility in North America with roughly 30 employees. As a result of this meeting we at “The Monty” visited PENNA FLAME this past week and it turned out to be a fascinating experience. What the company has done is to take an older technology, flame hardening and then combine it with robotic loading/unloading, computer controls and the latest in temperature monitoring and control with the end result that they have ended up with a process completely repeatable with very tight quality control all at a very competitive price (it is worth mentioning that the company themselves build and design the equipment on their own). They have been so successful over the years that earlier this year they added a substantial addition to their building with a number of new flame hardening systems. PENNA FLAME does business all over North America with parts coming from as far away as California and are able to heat treat parts up to 80,000 pounds and 80” in diameter. If you ever find yourself in the Pittsburgh area the Orr’s are a very friendly family and they would be more than happy to show you what they have to offer. These photos give you an idea about what they are capable of. December 12, 2017   

Used Equipment

Monday Morning Briefing

From the “Where are they Now” file we have this; Al Manriquez who used to be with commercial heat treater Nitrex in San Jose, California is now with Bell Helicopter in Grand Prairie, Texas. Bell Helicopter certainly needs on introduction, this particular location has a number of batch IQ furnaces amongst other equipment. Vesco McLaughlin, a vacuum furnace rebuilder in East Windsor, CT, USA sent us this summary about how they are doing under their new ownership;  “In In a brief amount of time Vesco-McLaughlin, Inc. has made many improvements to a small company with plenty of potential. Starting with the staff, Vesco has hired 3 new employees: John Schweir and Andrew Saez for service and production and Jessie McGuinness in office staff. Vesco’s capabilities include servicing, rebuilding, and manufacturing of vacuum pumps, hot zones, furnaces, and controls. They continue to service the vacuum processing industry from coast to coast with a rapidly expanding customer base. Many new technology upgrades have allowed Vesco to more efficiently expedite their customers’ needs. Vesco is excited for what 2018 has in store. “ December 11, 2017   

In Mississauga, Canada captive heat treater and spring manufacturer Commercial Spring will shortly be adding another mesh belt austemper line. This will compliment the two the company already has. We now go to Germany for this news. Wolfram Wiech was a Plant Manager for commercial heat treater Bodycote before moving to another commercial heat treater HÄNDLE in Tübingen, Germany earlier this year where he is Managing Director. The HÄNDLE company which is part of the HALEX Group has been involved in heat treating for 37 years now. One of the reasons we mention them today is that they will be adding equipment and increasing their case hardening capacity by 20% in early 2018 followed by another similar increase the middle of 2018. IVA Schmetz a German manufacturer of vacuum furnaces has received a real nice order from a company in Taiwan; “Recently IVA Schmetz was awarded a new order from Taiwan for five vacuum hardening furnaces, the order comes from a steel distributor in the country who is a long time IVA customer.  It will include five vacuum gas quenching furnaces and is part of a larger order which includes seven vacuum tempering furnaces, which will be supplied by our sister-company BMI from France. The total project for 12 vacuum furnaces reached 2.5M€.”

Friday of last week we had a photo of a very large captive heat treating plant which featured a number of pit carburizing furnaces and invited readers to guess who it was. We had a number of guesses most of which were guessing Bodycote in Arlington, Texas of all places however the correct answer was Brad Foote Gearing, Pittsburgh, PA., and the person who guessed it correctly was Jim Oakes of controls company SSI, in Cincinatti, Ohio. Brad Foote has approximately 20 furnaces including 13 large pit carburizing units at this plant. The largest has working dimensions of 90″ x 150″ which makes it one of the larger ones in operation. These photos show the new lab, the control room and the actual plant and in the photos we see our good friend Rich Baker, Plant Manager and Jim Senne of MetalPro Resources LLC another friend.

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 or 905-271-0033.  December 11, 2017   

Item # O343 Account Manager, Surface Treatments & Metallurgical Coatings
Item # O342 Induction Technician/Maintenance Person
Item # O341 Maintenance Leader
Item # O340 Heat Treat Metallurgist
Item # O339 Welder / Assembler
Item # O338 Service Technician

Ipsen Announces 2018 Schedule for Heat Treatment Training

“Ipsen will host another series of Ipsen U classes throughout 2018. Designed to teach heat treatment fundamentals while also sharing best practices and new methods, Ipsen U is a three-day course where attendees can gain hands-on experience. Courses are available April 3-5, June 5-7, August 7-9 and October 2-4. 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

A forum where all levels of experience are welcome, Ipsen U instructors believe in using the participants’ specific questions and interests to shape the hands-on class. Past attendees have appreciated the instructors’ “incredible amount of knowledge, hints, tips and real-world advice.” The Ipsen U classroom 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. Register today for an upcoming 2018 Ipsen U course at” December 8, 2017   

So Who Is This?

This is a captive/commercial heat treater in North America with almost 20 furnaces including one of the larger pit carburizing furnaces on the continent-a gas fired unit with a diameter of 90″ and a working depth of 150″. We will have a more complete profile next week but if anybody would like to take a guess we will be glad to give you a free mention on “The Monty” December 8, 2017   

Rexnord/Downers Grove Illinois, USA

You do of course know why we are mentioning this new Rexnord facility and yes you are correct. Part of this project will include a new and improved heat treat department. Currently the heat treat department (which is not real large) includes batch IQ and vacuum furnaces. December 7, 2017   

“Downers Grove, Illinois has landed a massive aerospace development with the announcement Thursday that Rexnord Corp. is staying put in the western suburb. Milwaukee-based Rexnord is planning to build a 248,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and aerospace headquarters, which is expected to be completed by 2019. After conducting a national site search, Rexnord decided to replace its existing 200,000-square-foot facility in the Ellsworth Business Park, which was built in 1956. “It’s a win not only for Downers Grove but for the state of Illinois because it’s a manufacturing project that could have left the state,” said Michael Cassa, president and CEO of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corp. About 310 employees work at the facility, Cassa said.

Rexnord, a 125-year-old manufacturer across multiple industries, was offered several financial incentives to stay in Downers Grove, with Community High School District 99 and Downers Grove Grade School District 58 both agreeing to provide a 10-year property tax abatement, Cassa said. In addition, the village is scheduled to vote next week on a proposal to reduce Rexnord’s building permit fees by 50 percent. Cassa said the village incentive would be worth about $100,000. Rexnord’s aerospace division provides bearings, seals, gears and electrical components that are used in everything from a plane’s rudder to its landing gear. “We are building a new facility at our current manufacturing site to continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers,” a Rexnord spokeswoman said in a statement. “The new facility will feature additional capacity and upgraded technology.”

AFC-Holcroft Reports Robust Earnings For 2017

“Robust bookings in 2017 are leading to a strong order backlog at AFC-Holcroft for the foreseeable future. Of special note were a large number of complete UBQA (Universal Batch Quench Austemper) lines, with orders distributed among different customers serving a variety of industries.  AFC-Holcroft is well known as a leading furnace supplier for  equipment used for austempering and marquenching.  Metal components subjected to the austempering process are shown to have improved mechanical properties such as strength and toughness along with improved distortion control during processing. December 6, 2017   

Additionally, sales of the company’s flagship UBQ (Universal Batch Quench) integral batch quench systems were strong, as were the popular EZ™ endothermic gas generators, rotary hearth furnaces, pusher furnaces and mesh belt equipment. Also  a Flexiclean system provided by AFC-Holcroft’s sister division AICHELIN Heat Treat Systems  is also significant.  Additionally, many customers chose 2017 as the time to upgrade and/or retrofit existing equipment, and a number of orders were received to modernize facilities with the latest IoT technology.

Sales globally include a high number of deliveries into the USA, Canada and Mexico as well as new equipment installations in Australia, Eastern Europe and Asia. “It’s been a very good year with strong global bookings from both existing customers as well as a number of new customers.  This is a testament to the many hard working team members here at AFC-Holcroft who continue to strive for excellence,” said Tracy Dougherty, Sales Manager at AFC-Holcroft.  “We look forward to the future with excitement and optimism as we expand our product offering through a continued technology exchange with the AICHELIN Group.”

AFC-Holcroft has responded to the increased order bookings by extending working hours, adding experienced personnel to its staff, adding new technology and continually improving processes to keep promised delivery dates. The company remains optimistic for 2018 to also present a strong order book.

About AFC-Holcroft: Founded in 1916, AFC-Holcroft, is one of the US market leaders in the production of industrial furnace equipment for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.  The company manufactures turn-key heat treating systems for applications including commercial heat treating, bearings, automotive, aerospace, mining, aluminum heat treatment, gear manufacturing, fastener manufacturing, and alternative energy industries. 

Headquartered in Wixom, Michigan, AFC-Holcroft operates its own subsidiaries in China and Switzerland and has a global presence through a network of partners located in Australia, Brasil, China, India, Mexico, Poland and Spain. For more information, contact

About AICHELIN Holding: AICHELIN Group, as part of BERNDORF Group, is a manufacturer and provider of after-sale-services of industrial furnace plants for different industry segments. AICHELIN Group operates in the field of induction heating and in the manufacturing of industrial gas burner systems. The group operates production sites in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, the US, China, and India. AICHELIN Group employs 1,100 employees worldwide and thus ranges among the largest producers of heat treatment plants.” 

Heat Treating “Issues”

If you don’t think heat treating is a crucial part of the manufacturing process these two examples point out what happens when somebody doesn’t get it right; December 6, 2017   

“Honda will recall over 5,000 model-year 2017 Civic 2-door and 4-door vehicles equipped with 1.5-liter engines and automatic (CVT) transmissions in the United States to inspect, and, if needed, replace the right driveshaft, free of charge. Honda has received no customer reports related to this issue, which was discovered during routine quality checks at the factory. Due to an improper heat treating process at a supplier, the right driveshafts in these vehicles may break if they are from affected production lots. If a driveshaft breaks, the vehicle will lose drive power when driving or may roll away when parked without the parking brake engaged, each increasing the risk of a crash.

More than 400 Hyundais have been recalled due to concerns about defective crankshaft assemblies. In May 2017, Hyundai Motor America (HMA) received a report from a customer about a knocking sound during operation of his 2017 Santa Fe sport utility vehicle and initiated an investigation. An inspection of recovered engine assemblies revealed that engine bearings had seized due to improperly produced crankshaft pin surfaces, a condition traced back to a crankshaft heat treatment coil that was improperly positioned during production in January 2017.”

Enormous Commercial Heat Treatment Plant Planned

Commercial heat treater and furnace builder Fengdong (the largest furnace builder in China) will be building a brand new commercial heat treating facility in Yantai, China. The total investment is estimated to be $80 million USD and the plant size will be  52,000 square metres. Phase one of this project includes 56 Sealed Quench (batch IQ) furnaces each with a capacity of 1 ½ tons (3,000 pounds). When this project is completed it will be one of the largest heat treat facilities on the planet. The photo below shows Mr. Xiao Jun Zhu, General Manager of Fengdong Heat Treatment Group signing the contract with the Fusan District Governor. December 5, 2017   

The 18th International Exhibition on Heat Treatment/Beijing, China

This 18th International Exhibition on Heat Treatment was held the 22th to 24th of November in Beijing, China. AFC-Holcroft and Aichelin China had a joint booth at the show.  In the first photo below we see from the left Ms. Cui Yanfei & Mr. Du Shengyong, both with Aichelin China, Mr. CJ Zhou, AFC-Holcroft, and Ms. Shen Yuzhu, Aichelin China.   The second photo shows the AFC-Holcroft/Aichelin China team in front of their booth at the end of the 2nd day of the show.  December 5, 2017   

Monday Morning Briefing

November 20th we informed you how commercial heat treater Listerman based in Liechtenstein was moving into a brand new building and promised a photo when one was available. Well here is the picture along with a few more details. December 4, 2017   

“In 2016, the decision was made to look for a new location for the headquarters in Liechtenstein due to a lack of space and inadequate soil resilience. Consequently in 2017 we moved production and administration into a brand new building with a production area of  1,200 m2.”

In North America we see that manufacturers reps Lohn and Associates based in Cleveland are now representing Alcon Industries in Ontario. Lohn and Associates are long time reps selling furnaces, alloy components and other heat treat related products. J. L. Becker, a Gasbarre Furnace Group Company, announces the hiring of Michael Harrison as a Sales and Metallurgical Engineer. Mr. Harrison has an MBA from Walsh College and a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has over 10 years of thermal processing experience which includes metallurgical process engineering, quality management, and operations management. His core competencies and expertise are an excellent addition to J. L. Becker’s business. Harrison was previously employed at Bodycote and American Axle and Manufacturing. Going forward, Michael will support J. L. Becker’s sales efforts with his broad range of professional and practical experience. He will be in an application engineering role, designing solutions to meet a wide range of customer needs. J. L. Becker is proud to announce him as an employee and fellow team member. Please congratulate Michael Harrison in this new journey. The company custom designs and manufactures thermal processing equipment to meet customer’s specific needs. For more information on how J.L. Becker can provide custom engineered solutions to meet specific thermal processing requirements, Michael can be reached by telephone at (734) 656-2000 or via email at You can also visit

We see that there is a new heat treater in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. “As of September of this year TS USA is now operating a brand new Liquid Nitriding facility in Chattanooga, TN. This is a 35,000 square foot facility which will offer state of the art liquid nitriding (salt bath nitriding) which will offer the largest operating equipment in North America capable of handling parts up to 8′ long (13′ with flipping) and weights up to 4,000 pounds. The equipment is fully instrumented, computer controlled and capable of remote monitoring. Batch-to-batch traceability and process recording. Designed to treat parts using the Quench-Polish-Quench (QPQ) process (originally developed by HEF Durferrit); and other Liquid Nitriding variations including HEF trademarked ARCORR/MELONITER treatments. The facility is equipped with a variety of post-nitriding surface finishing processes to ensure a customer and application specific surface finish can be achieved after nitriding.

Diablo Furnaces has a new COO, a very competent individual by the name of Sue Harrod. “Diablo Furnaces LLC Appoints Sue Harrod as C.O.O. As of November 29, 2017 Sue Harrod is appointed to C.O.O. of Diablo Furnaces LLC, a company manufacturing, refurbishing, upgrading, servicing and supplying parts for atmospheric heat treating equipment. Sue Harrod has worked within the thermal processing industry for 25 years in supporting and leading roles at BeaverMatic, Ipsen International, and Diablo Furnaces. With her passion and exemplary leadership capabilities, Mr. Ken Flowers and Mr. Ron Peiffer, owners of Diablo Furnaces LLC and Machine Tool Builders (MTB) have appointed Sue to this position. Please congratulate and support Sue Harrod in this expanded role in the heat treating industry.  For additional information, please contact Anne Miner at 815-636-7502 (extension 223) or log onto or

Did you hear the one about the Moron who decided to heat treat parts after watching a TV show and burnt half of a New York State town to the ground?

“COHOES, N.Y. – An inferno that destroyed or damaged nearly two dozen buildings in a city in upstate New York was sparked by an amateur bladesmith who apparently was trying to imitate something he saw on TV, officials said. The blaze broke out Thursday afternoon in downtown Cohoes, just north of Albany, and was stoked by 20 to 30 mph winds. The Times Union of Albany reported that three buildings were destroyed, 18 others were damaged and at least 20 people were displaced. The city is under a state of emergency. “It is the worst disaster the city has ever seen,” Mayor Shawn Morse told reporters at an evening news conference. Morse said John Gomes, of Cohoes, apparently was trying to heat treat metal in an attempt to imitate the History Channel television series “Forged in Fire” when he started a barrel fire in his backyard that quickly spread. The TV series is about bladesmiths competing to create “history’s most iconic edged weapons.” Gomes, 51, was charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor arson. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday night and was jailed on $15,000 bail, the newspaper reported. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday.

Alyssa Kumfer/Wirco

Friday Morning Update. As it turns out Alyssa is now a Technical Services Engineer at Nucor, Fasteners Division in St. Joe, Indiana. We have always had a very high opinion of Alyssa and have no doubt but that she will do well at Nucor.

Alyssa Kumfer who was Engineering Manager with alloy company Wirco left the company earlier this month. We are not sure why she left or where she has gone but we don’t believe Alyssa is staying in the industry. We are sure Wirco will miss her tremendous experience. December 1, 2017   

AAM Sees Continued Sales Growth Through Business Diversification

The financial results of American Axle & Manufacturing are of some interest to us as an indicator of the health of the auto and truck parts industry however our interest generally starts and stops with the heat treating aspect. Let us explain; AAM is a very large captive heat treater and combined with Metaldyne and their captive heat treating you end up with an enormous amount of in house heat treating, perhaps one of the largest in North America. While this will most likely prove to be an extremely difficult task we are going to see if we can put together a list of the 10 largest in house heat treaters in North America. This might take a bit of time and we certainly welcome any input but at the end of the day lets see what we end up with. December 1, 2017   

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., Detroit, Michigan, USA, has reported its financial results for the third quarter 2017 and updated its full-year 2017 financial outlook. The company stated that Q3 sales had reached $1.72 billion compared with $1.01 billion in the same quarter in 2016 – an increase of 70%. AAM’s Q3 2017 results, and a sales increase to $4.53 billion in the first 9 months of 2017 (2016: $3.00 billion), reflect the impact of the acquisition of Metaldyne Performance Group Inc. (MPG) that was completed on April 6, 2017, for $3.3 billion. MPG, based in Southfield, Michigan, is one of the leading global manufacturers of powder forged steel and structural PM parts. AAM’s net income in the first nine months of 2017 was $230.8 million. Both AAM and MPG are heavily involved in the production of driveline and powertrain components for the global automotive sector, including hybrid and electric driveline systems.”

Atmospheric Heat Treatment Equipment Market

All we can say is there must be money in doing market surveys since we seem to get a new sample report weekly. The most recent one we have been running across glories in the title Atmospheric Heat Treatment Equipment Market trends, Prospect, Growth trend Analysis and Forecast” which certainly sounds impressive. Amongst the pearls of wisdom they share with us we have these “Heat Treatment Equipment market to grow at a CAGR of 5.30% during the period 2017-2021. (CAGR by the way stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate-we had to look it up). Other thoughts include the ones below. You can be the judge about these various reports.

Atmospheric Heat Treatment Equipment Market Driver: –  one of the major drivers for this market is Stable growth of automotive industry. Manufacturing in the automotive industry includes the use of components, such as mills, gears, pistons, and flywheels, made of metals, such as aluminum, steel, iron, and other alloys. Automobile manufacturing makes use of various types of heat treatment processes to enhance the performance of automotive components. These processes are necessary to improve the strength and hardness of these materials in order to increase the reliability and lifespan of the components made.

 Atmospheric Heat Treatment Equipment Market Challenge: – one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is Lack of continuous support and maintenance. The use of a metal heat treatment equipment requires constant maintenance for effective calibration and improved productivity. Maintenance is an important part of deploying heat treatment equipment. In general, the maintenance cost increases exponentially with the increase in operating temperature and the severity of the process environment, for example, carburizing versus hardening of steel. These costs are a part of all heat treatment furnaces, though they are often operated below their maximum temperature settings. November 30, 2017   

Heat Treat Central/Jose Antonio Ramirez Salvador

Alloy base tray supplier Heat Treat Central of Michigan is pleased to announce that they now have a representative covering the Mexican Heat Treat market. Jose Antonio Ramirez Salvador is based in the Queretaro area and represents companies such as South Tek (Nitrogen generating systems) and Procedyne (fluidized bed furnaces). He will be offering the full line of investment cast base trays from Heat Treat Central  November 30, 2017   

Kanthal® Award

The Kanthal name is a well known one in the world of heat treating especially when it comes to heating elements. November 30, 2017   

“A climate protection organization with a focus on travel, atmosfair gGmbH, has received a donation of €5,000 from Sunfire GmbH after the latter company was appointed winner of the 2017 Kanthal® Award in October. Sunfire, based in Dresden, Germany, won the award for developing a process that converts regenerative power, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into synthetic gas or a crude oil substitute (e-Crude). According to Sunfire, this innovative process has the potential to satisfy the key need for CO2-neutral transportation fuels in aid of the sustainable society of tomorrow. The Kanthal® Award was announced at a special ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, in October and includes a prize of €5,000, a statuette and a diploma. However, the prize of €5,000 is not for the winner to keep, and was instead to be donated by Sunfire to a charitable organization that supports the same criteria upon which the Kanthal® Award is based: sustainability, health and safety. The Kanthal® Award is a yearly event and has now been awarded three times. The first winner in 2015 was the ArcelorMittal Desvres site, in France, for its use of furnace rollers without water cooling. In 2016, the winner was Proton Power Inc, USA for its green and clean energy supply. From the left: Dr. Dietrich Brockhagen, founder and CEO of atmosfair gGmbH, receives a donation of the 2017 Kanthal® Award prize from the winner, Sunfire, represented by Nils Aldag, CCO. (Photo: Andreas Dahlström, Sitesing)

Kip Bailey Joins Bloom Engineering

Early this month, Bloom Engineering welcomed Mr. Kip Bailey as a full-time Field Service Technician.  Mr. Bailey most recently worked for a furnace builder, so is intimately familiar with process and furnaces.  He brings a wealth of experience in both combustion and specific process knowledge and is a welcome addition to the team.  Bloom now has four (4) full-time technicians and six (6) part-time technicians. Led by Mrs. Kerry Henderson, the service team works on sites throughout North America with capabilities to handle trouble-shooting, commissioning, installation supervision, and controls tuning for combustion systems.  Although they most commonly support the steel and aluminum industries, the service team can handle a wide range of combustion systems, regardless of the original manufacturer of the equipment.

Mrs. Henderson is excited to have him on the team.  “Kip has a strong background in instrumentation which will complement the strengths of some of our other technicians.  We have sent him on a few jobs, and he has already proven himself to be a valuable addition to the team.” Bloom Engineering designs quality industrial burners and combustion systems supporting many markets worldwide.  With extensive experience in many industries, on-site research and development facilities, and customizable product lines, Bloom Engineering has provided solutions tailored to a customer’s specific needs for over eighty years.  Bloom’s products can be used for a variety of applications and can be operated with a wide array of fuels and capacity ranges. November 29, 2017   

David Salerno joins SOLO Swiss as Head of the new group division “Standards& Services”.

Member of the executive committee, he will be in charge of developing BOREL activities (furnaces and standard ovens for laboratories and industry) and services (after-sale services, metallurgical training & consulting, management system and 4.0 Industry). David Salerno, materials science engineer, provided before the general direction of SAFED in Switzerland, Germany and France and has a long experience in sales and project management in the the automotive industry, particularly into MAHLE Motorkomponenten Switzerland and Federal Mogul in France and Germany. SOLO Swiss manufactures atmosphere furnaces for metal heat treatment since 1924 which are sold worldwide (  November 29, 2017   

What’s It Worth?

What you are looking at in these photos is an older Lindberg pusher furnace set up to do annealing. It has an operating temperature of 1750F, is gas fired and has nitrogen addition. It is complete, installed, in good shape and ready to go. It is also surplus to the owners needs-so what the heck is it worth? Well that is the question that was posed to us today and it is rather difficult to give a definite answer. A standard sized batch IQ furnace is simple in comparison because there are so many in use and there is always a high demand meaning any furnace dealer should be able to tell you within 10% what the probable sale price will be. The same holds true for a relatively standard vacuum furnace with 2 bar quenching-again the value can be estimated very easily based upon recent sales. In the case of a pusher annealer there is so little demand that there are few comparisons which can be made. Our estimate in this case would be an asking price of $50,000 USD and at the end of the day take any offer. November 28, 2017   

Monday Morning Briefing

With controls company Atmosphere Engineering (AE) being acquired by controls company United Process Controls (UPC) a couple of months back it is to be expected that there will be a lot of changes in titles and job descriptions. For instance Daniel Panny was Managing Director of AE in Germany for  a few years (before that he was with furnace builder Aichelin of Austria) his new title is Technical Sales & Support Manager, UPC, Austria. Speaking of titles Dave Ochar of commercial heat treater Bodycote is now Vice President Aerospace Sales, North America, previous to that he was Director of Sales, North America, West. Andrew Bassett President of Aerospace Testing & Pyrometry (whose banner ad can be found on this page) is celebrating 10 years in business-a very impressive milestone indeed. Mr. Chip Keough of Applied Process has received the George H. Bodeen Award and you can read all about it here (by the way in the near future we are expecting to be able to present to you an interview with Chip). “At the ASM Heat Treating Society- Heat Treat 2017 Show in Columbus, Ohio (last month)- one of our Directors, John R. (Chip) Keough, was honored to receive their George H. Bodeen Award.  Established in 1996, the Bodeen Award, recognizes distinguished and significant contributions to the field of heat treating through leadership, management, or engineering development of substantial commercial impact. The sentiment on the Keough award reads: “For advancing business growth by emphasizing fundamental materials knowledge in the heat treating industry and for passionately supporting the next generation of engineers through materials education.” Chip was overheard saying “I am truly grateful to my peers in the heat treating industry for awarding me with their highest honor, but it represents the hard work of a trulyremarkable team, the people of Applied Process, who I have been honored to work with”. In the photo below we see Chip and on his right Steve Kowalski of Kowaslski Heat Treat in Cleveland, the immediate Past President of the ASM Heat Treating Society. November 27, 2017   

Sumeeko Industries Co Ltd., of Taiwan, a supplier of automotive parts and fasteners is getting into the heat treating business. To date the company has always outsourced their heat treat requirements, however they recently installed a large mesh belt furnace line at their facility in Pingtung, China. The stated reason? To be able to more carefully monitor quality. Quality and delivery are far and away the main reasons that manufacturers bring heat treating in house-cost savings are surprisingly enough down the list a bit. SECO/WARWICK of Poland is about to install a second vacuum oil quenching furnace (pictured below) at an aviation company in Turkey. No details as to who the customer actually is.

Ross Hill, who was General Manager of the Bodycote facility in Newmarket, Canada parted ways with the company a few months back. Like most in the industry he elected to stay with heat treating and he is now working with Jon Mathews, founder and owner of Atlantic Heat Treat in Ajax, Canada. We caught up with Ross recently and were able to get this photo; from the left Gord and Jordan Montgomery, Jon Mathews and Ross Hill on the right.

To round things out today we have an interview with a fellow by the name of Andres Bernal of Ion Heat who has a rather interesting story to tell. Not only does his family operate the largest commercial heat treats in Columbia and Peru but in addition they manufacture Ion (Plasma) Nitriders (there banner ad can be found on this page). The company has been enjoying a great deal of success and their technology is one that should be considered by anybody looking at Ion Nitriding;

  • Andres how did you get started in the heat treating industry?

Gord…. My father Roberto started a heat treat shop in Medellín back in 83.  During my school vacations he used to take me to the shop to get parts ready for processing.  I do not think I was efficient in doing so, but heat treating did get into my blood.  Before I graduated from mechanical engineering, back in 2001, I started working with him.  I have heard that heat treatment is like the song Hotel California… “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave….” That has happened to me so far.  

  • You and your family operate both as a commercial heat treater and a new furnace builder-lets start with Ion-Heat who offers Ion (Plasma) Nitriders. Before we get into the details of the company though which is the most common phrase Ion Nitriding or Plasma Nitriding? I have always thought the two names were synonymous.

They are….. I think Plasma Nitriding is more common in Europe… Ion Nitriding seems to me to be more common in America… Continue Reading

Beijing Heat Treatment Show

As we speak the bi-annual Beijing Heat Treatment show the largest of it’s kind in China is ongoing (Nov 22-24). While this is the largest show of it’s kind it is dramatically smaller than it was just 10 years ago-estimates are 1/3 of the exhibition size. As most thermal processing suppliers in China are very busy the reduced size of the show is most likely due to consolidation within the industry. A reader who is in attendance sent us these photos. November 24, 2017   

Possibly the two most influential people in the Chinese heat treating market; Mr. W M Zhu (chairman of Fengdong group) and Mr. Y F Sun (former general manager of Achelin China).

Robin Luo (Vice President of PowerMax)

Hand Tool Manufacturer Boosts Production with Compact Tempering System

“SECO/WARWICK has partnered with a tool manufacturer in North America to custom design a unique pit type tempering furnace system to increase production capacity.  This system will be utilized for heat treating power tool components and was specifically designed to fit into a limited footprint within the existing facility layout. “At SECO/WARWICK, we understand that ‘one size fits all’ does not apply in the industrial environment,” stated Jonathan Markley, Managing Director, SECO/WARWICK, USA. November 23, 2017   

“We understand that customers often have to increase production capacity, but do not have the luxury of increasing their physical plant production area. Designing for efficient production requires technical expertise to ensure that we get our customer’s equipment online and performing beyond expectations in the shortest possible time,” he added. SECO/WARWICK’s atmosphere heat treating equipment is used both with and without protective atmospheres in a wide range of configurations for most heat treatments in use by tool manufacturers. Pit furnaces have the long track record for practical, economical heat treating.  In addition, SECO/WARWICK offers material handling equipment, cooling systems, and protective atmosphere systems to create a complete manufacturing cell with both batch and continuous system options. The SECO/WARWICK Group provides equipment and new technologies to the world’s leading aerospace, automotive and power companies, enabling the production of lightweight and durable components. High efficiency, process reproducibility, process automation, modern control system with monitoring of each parameter, precise feed system are just some of the benefits of using vacuum metallurgy.”

Happy Thanksgiving! November 23, 2017   

Twin Furnaces For Energy Savings

From French vacuum furnace builder BMI one of the largest manufacturers in Europe comes this idea. Our first impression is that this is either a very, very good idea or a very, very bad idea. We welcome your thoughts and look forward to hearing more about this idea. November 23, 2017   

“For several years now, BMI has been working on monitoring the energy consumption of it’s vacuum furnaces. The investment cost is an important criteria indeed, but nowadays customers are just as interested in the operating costs. That’s why at BMI, we work on improving our equipment by reducing the operating costs. Thus was born BMI’s first twin furnaces working on a single pumping station. Typically during a heat treatment cycle, the pumping phase lasts only 30 minutes. Therefore, it is smarter to use only one pumping group for two furnaces, working alternatively on one furnace or the other. This allows not only to reduce electricity consumption but to reduce also the maintenance costs of the pumps. The first set of B54R-TWIN furnaces has just been commissioned at a customer’s site.”

Channellock Fire

Luckily a small fire at captive heat treater Channellock in Meadville, PA turned out to be just that-a small fire. Channellock manufacturers hand tools and does mesh belt austempering in house. There were no injuries, and any structural losses were “fairly minimal” during a Monday night fire at Channellock, according to Meadville Central Fire Department Captain Patrick Wiley. Meadville Central received a call at 8:47 p.m. from Channellock, which reported a fire on the roof of the “heat treat” portion of Channellock’s Plant 1, which is located on South Main Street, Wiley said.  The fire took place on the far south end of the building, he said. “Once we got there, smoke was coming around the base of a fan in a roof line of the heat treat,” Wiley said. “At that point, we requested a second alarm since we weren’t sure of the extent of the fire.” The heat treat area was evacuated. Firefighters believe a fan in the heat treat area shorted out, Wiley said. “We believe it’s an electrical issue with the fan itself,” he said. November 22, 2017   

Hi TecMetal Group, New Vacuum Furnace

Commercial heat treater Hi TecMetal Group (HTG) has been around since 1943 and has several locations in the Northern US mainly around the Cleveland area. The SECO/WARWICK vacuum furnace you see in the photo below is destined for their Hi Tech Aero location in Eastlake, Ohio. Judging from the photo we would say that the furnace is being manufactured at SECO/WARWICK in Meadville, PA. November 22, 2017   

Ipsen Granted US Patent

“CHERRY VALLEY, IL – Ipsen was recently awarded U.S. Patent No. 9,719,149 B2 for the development of a new load transport mechanism that can move a load within a multi-station heat-treating system. Chief Engineer Craig Moller, Director of Engineering and Supply Chain Kevin Woerner and Dr. W. Hendrik Grobler – the named inventors on the patent – began developing this design five years ago.

This newest patent joins a long list of patents dating all the way back to the time of Ipsen’s founder, Harold Ipsen, in the 1950s. With nearly 100 U.S. granted patents, as well as numerous patents granted in countries around the world, the many advances and contributions Ipsen has made to the industry over the decades is clear. Today, Ipsen remains committed to innovation and finding new ways to improve heat-treating systems, ancillary equipment and modes of operation.

With many of Ipsen’s patents still used in some form or other, the advanced design and clever thinking behind each invention influences, and lives on in, everything Ipsen builds today. Ipsen is proud to add this newly patented loader design to its long list of reliable, innovative creations as they continue to engineer and manufacture advanced, highly technical equipment for unique or special applications. To see a full list of Ipsen’s U.S. granted patents over the years, visit” November 22, 2017   

Northstar Aerospace

This is a rather good news/bad news story. Northstar describes themselves this way; “Northstar Aerospace is a leading independent manufacturer of components and assemblies to the global aerospace industry. Principal products include gears and transmissions, accessory gearbox assemblies, rotorcraft drive systems and other machined and fabricated parts for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. In addition, Northstar provides maintenance and repair and overhaul (MRO) on these same platforms.” The company has several manufacturing locations including Milton, Ontario, Canada and Bedford Park, Il (Chicago) both of whom have reasonably large in house heat treating departments. It was announced back in May of 2016 that the Bedford Park location would be closing and the Milton plant remaining open. Well at the end of the day the exact opposite happened, Bedford Park has remained open and will be seeing a larger heat treat department while the Milton facility is closed with most of the equipment gone. Northstar heat treating includes batch carburizing, annealing press quenching and several other related processes. The sign you see below will shortly be disappearing from the Canadian location. November 21, 2017   

Home Page Pictures

Regular readers will know that we change our 10 home page pictures on a regular basis The batch we just added includes some old, some new but all having to do with heat treating from areas all around the world including the US, Germany, Mexico, Canada and China. Have a look at you might be surprised to see people or equipment that you are very familiar with. November 21, 2017   

Pennsylvania Metallurgical Inc./Vacu Braze

It is reasonably widely known that commercial heat treater Pennsylvania Metallurgical Inc. of Bethlehem, PA was merging with Vacu Braze in Trumbauersville, PA. Both operations were and are owned by Ralph Puerta and over some period of time most of the equipment was consolidated in the new location (by the way most of what was surplus ended up in Texas). PMI is now closed and the photo below shows the empty building after it has been power washed for a week straight-which is a darn good thing since the location will now be used for some sort of food products. We mentioned Vacu Braze, our readers might be interested in these photos of the new plant which is very impressive. November 20, 2017   

Listemann Technology AG, Liechtenstein

Commercial heat treater Listemann Technology was founded in 1990 by Peter Listemann and since then has grown to 3 locations in Liechenstein, Switzerland and Poland. It would appear that the company is an active growing firm willing to invest in new technologies. We mention them today because as we speak the company is moving into a new 1,100m2  building. Unfortunately the only photo we have so far is the one below which is a few months old now. November 20, 2017   

Heat Treatment Australia-Movie Stars

It would appear that the entire team at Heat Treatment Australia including Norm Tucker and his sister Karen Stanton are well on the way to a movie career. HTA just got finished hosting a film crew of 25 people who were creating two commercials called “The Workforce behind the Defense Force which features a total of 5 companies from various industries of which HTA is one. We have these photos of the filming along with a link to the film. November 20, 2017   

Where Are They Now?  Marc Walters

Marc is a fellow who as far as we can tell has spent his entire working life (or most of it anyway) in the heat treating industry. He started with Metal Improvement Company where he was Senior General Manager of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regions up until Bodycote acquired the heat treating portion of Metal Improvement Company in March of 2012.  At this point he became Senior General Manager, Bodycote, Automotive Region, Midwest until late 2013 when he became Regional General Manager, Southeast Division. In December of 2016 he became Vice President of Sales for McLaughlin Services in Avilla, Indiana. March knows his stuff but things change and recently he became a Temperature Technology Specialist at GEO Corp in Ohio. We wish him the best of luck. November 17, 2017   

Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico

At the recent heat treat show in Columbus, Ohio we spent some time speaking with Ben Crawford, VP Operations for Paulo and one of the topics which came up was the new plant in Monterrey. While we can’t share all the details we heard we can provide this update. November 16, 2017   

“Paulo is excited to announce Aldo Rodriguez as General Director of our Monterrey, Mexico location.  Aldo is an experienced leader with 20 years leading Mexico based manufacturing operations. His roles have included positions in Quality, Engineering, and most recently General Manager at international aerospace suppliers. He earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business and has continued his education earning Quality and Leadership certifications throughout his career. Aldo has been a leader in several manufacturing organizations including AMT, SME, and FEMIA (Federacion Mexicana de la Industria Aerospacial). Aldo is currently overseeing construction of the Monterrey facility and visiting other Paulo locations to learn our systems, including PICS, and sharing his experience. In addition to those responsibilities Aldo has also begun recruiting key personnel for his team. Aldo’s focus on lean principles while generating high quality and financially productive results will benefit not only Paulo’s location in Monterrey, but all locations as his knowledge is shared.

Aldo reports to Ben Crawford, Vice President Operations, who comments “We are well into construction of Paulo’s first facility outside of the US. Most excitingly Aldo Rodriguez has joined as Generl Director overseeing the Escobedo facility.  Aldo strengthens our experience in automotive, aerospace and doing business in Mexico.  I’m thrilled to work alongside Aldo implementing our growth plans.” Aldo added, “I feel very proud and honored to be part of this team. Paulo is a model company with great systems, business philosophy and strong values. With the addition of this Mexico operation, the company establishes its presence in a growing market that is actively seeking qualified Special Process service providers; Paulo is the answer to that need.” Founded in 1943, Paulo is one of the largest providers of heat treating, brazing, and metal finishing solutions in North America. Headquartered in St. Louis, Paulo operates six divisions servicing the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States and northern Mexico.”

Gabriel Giraldo Joins Solar Atmospheres Greenville, South Carolina

 “Greenville, SC, November 14, 2017 – Solar Atmospheres Greenville, South Carolina facility announces that Gabriel Giraldo has accepted the position of Sales Engineer.  As a Sales Engineer, Gabriel will be responsible for supporting relationships with our existing customers and developing new business within the region.  Gabriel will be based in the Greenville location and report to Mike Harper, Regional Sales Manager.  Solar Atmospheres Regional Sales Manager, Mike Harper says, “We are excited to have Gabriel as a part of the Solar Atmospheres team. I am confident with both a Mechanical Engineering Degree and Bachelors in Physics from Rutgers that he is strongly qualified for this position in identifying the best thermal processing solutions for our customer base in addition to providing them with exceptional support.”

Prior to accepting this position, Gabriel’s career found him in the Heat Treat Industry as a Mechanical Engineer in which he had focus on technical support to both the company’s customer base and their production environment. While there he obtained valuable knowledge thru serving a broad spectrum of metal working industry sectors including Aerospace and Defense that postures him for success with Solar Atmospheres.  Please join us in welcoming Gabriel to our team. For more information about Solar Atmospheres Greenville, South Carolina facility and capabilities please contact either Mike Harper at or Gabriel Giraldo at, or call 1-855-WE-HEAT-IT.” November 15, 2017   


Nickel Pricing

Mid June of this year nickel was priced at $3.98 USD/pound and as of two days ago, November 13 it was priced at $5.57USD/pound an increase of roughly 40% (this information is always available on the right side of this page and also below). Nickel being the main factor in fluctuating alloy pricing such as baskets and base trays means that end users have seen a reasonable price increase in the past few months-without a crystal ball we can’t tell you whether this trend will continue or not. What we can tell you is that end users see price increases immediately which has been a bone of contention for many over the years. The reason is that the alloy fabricators and foundries do not sit on a vast stockpile of raw material, meaning that when an end user places an order the providers generally are buying the material at today’s prices-not the pricing of 6 months ago. November 15, 2017   

Esco Limited Foundry, Port Coquitlam, BC

Way out in British Columbia, Canada you will have to move fast to bid on any of the items at Esco Foundry as the auction is Thursday of this week. For most heat treaters the only items of interest will be 4 very large, high temperature car bottom furnaces. A limited market for sure but we are firm believers that for just about every type of furnace there is a potential buyer out there somewhere. November 15, 2017   

David Plester PhoenixTM

We very much regret to mention that David Plester of PhoenixTM passed away this past weekend. David spent most of his working career focusing on temperature profiling systems first with Datapaq before starting PhoenixTM with partners a number of years ago (their ad can be found on this page). We met David several times and formed a high opinion of him the first time we met. David was 68 when he passed away after a short illness. He will be missed. November 14, 2017   

SECO/WARWICK Press Release

“In France, specifically in Saint-Georges-de-Mons (Puy-de-Dôme), a European recycling and refining plant for titanium alloys dedicated to aviation solutions has been opened. This is the first titanium-producing plant in Europe to produce titanium ingots with scrap from major manufacturers of aircraft and their subcontractors. RETECH, part of SECO/WARWICK Group, has become the main supplier of advanced vacuum metal technology for that strategic French project, which assumes creation of a European titanium source.”

“With our complete and tailor-made solutions, our partners, including EcoTitanium, are gaining competitive advantage in the industry. It’s all thanks to our modern technologies and equipment in the field of vacuum metallurgy. This knowledge and experience enables us to meet the strictest requirements, passion and drive for innovation on the other hand – allow finding individual and optimal solutions, “commented Paweł Wyrzykowski, President of the SECO/WARWICK Group. For 50 years RETECH, part of the SECO/WARWICK Group, designs and implements vacuum metallurgy, conducts R&D projects, constructs, builds and tests equipment for customers in the global markets. “The device that our EcoTitanium partner has been equipped with consists of three metallurgical units: a plasma furnace (PAM) for melting plasma or plasma gas inert gas, and two VAR arc furnaces for titanium melting,” says Earl Good, Managing Director of RETECH.  At the moment, the first arc furnace is installed. Construction and delivery of the second is planned in the next stage. November 14, 2017   

Monday Morning Briefing

Recently we had a story to tell about how the Watervliet Arsenal in NY State, USA was in the process of updating their furnaces and we included a photo showing how the gun barrels were now heat treated. A furnace builder in Italy sent us a photo of what they would propose in this situation and if you compare the two photos below you can see that the newer design offers what appears to be a much more automated handling system. November 13, 2017   

Agricultural supplier John Deere, a company which we are sure needs no introduction will be making a major investment in their heat treating department in Waterloo, Iowa. While details are scarce we do know that this is a multi million dollar investment for the company and that the order was placed within the past month. Speaking of new orders remember last week we mentioned a company in Sweden by the name of LEAX Group who were busy installing a brand new vacuum carburizing system (photo below)? We speculated at the time that this was an ECM system and sure enough it was.

While we are speaking about vacuum carburizing we should say that Jata Auto Ancillaries in India is pretty pleased with their ALD-Dynatech systems the second of which was installed just a few months ago. We had kind of forgotten about this, however we received an update from a friend in India this past week about how this system was performing. In the picture below from the right are Mr. S Gnanavel (Owner of JATA Auto), Mr. Hans-Juergen Hoehn ( ALD Vacuum Technologies) , Mr. S V Naik (ALD Dynatech Furnaces). ALD and ECM are the two giants in the industry when it comes to large capacity low pressure carburizing furnaces.

Wisconsin Oven Corporation (you know them-the oven guys) celebrated the opening of its new facility in East Troy, WI with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new 130,000 sf facility located at 2056 Young Street was a necessary expansion to accommodate the Blue M laboratory oven product line and provide additional manufacturing space for their continued growth.

Ipsen Press Release

The last few months have proved to be yet another strong quarter for Ipsen USA with 14 vacuum furnaces shipped to seven states, as well as to Indonesia and Japan. This equipment will be used in support of the Additive Manufacturing, Aerospace, Automotive and Commercial Heat Treating industries. The shipments included:

  • A vertical (bottom-loading) MetalMaster® vacuum furnace with an 84” (2,100 mm) diameter work zone and 8,000-pound (3,600 kg) load capacity.
  • Four standard TITAN® vacuum furnaces with options ranging from spare parts kits and a thermocouple upgrade to the PdMetrics® predictive maintenance software platform.
  • Three HIQ (horizontal internal quench) and HEQ (horizontal external quench) furnaces from the VFS® product line that will process parts for the Aerospace and Commercial Heat Treating industries.
  • Several custom-built, horizontal MetalMaster® and TurboTreater® vacuum furnaces.

Of these customers, over half also ordered one or more spare parts kits to help minimize future downtime. Ipsen’s global ICS (Ipsen Customer Service) Team provides many comprehensive aftermarket offerings, making it easy for customers to rely on them for ongoing support throughout their equipment’s life span (for any brand of furnace). This includes facilitating system installations, as well as providing startup assistance, expert training, spare parts and maintenance programs.

You can learn more about the extensive support and training they offer at For immediate technical support, to order parts, schedule service and more, call the Aftermarket Support Helpline at 1-844-Go-Ipsen (1-844-464-7736).

About Ipsen. Ipsen designs and manufactures integrated heat treatment solutions for a wide variety of industries, including Aerospace, Automotive, Energy and Medical. With an extensive network of global locations in America, Europe and Asia, we continue to provide expert-driven solutions that strengthen heat treatment throughout the world. Learn more at www.IpsenUSA.comNovember 10, 2017   

ASM Heat Treat Conference & Gear Expo

Heat Treat 2017, the biennial show from the ASM Heat Treating Society was held October 24-26 in Columbus, Ohio, USA in conjunction with Gear Expo 2017. In our opinion ASM always does a good job of organizing these events and are feeling was that as usual this was well done. However quite a number of the exhibitors felt that attendance was down a reasonable amount. Well the numbers are in and attendance was down. We have been told that the Gear Expo numbers were down roughly 10% with the Heat Treat side of the show being down more than twice that amount. With the industry as a whole doing well it is puzzling why this should be so but a common theory is that Columbus was not the best venue. We believe that this was the first time it has been held in Columbus so perhaps there is some truth to this theory. November 10, 2017   

Real Heat Treating?

On a light note a captive heat treater who is a regular reader of “The Monty” sent us this photo and suggested that this be entitled “real heat treating”. This would be considered real as opposed to wimpy heat treating which does not involve smoke, flames, panic and general chaos. November 9, 2017   

Mr. John Hubbard

Even though it is a number of years since Mr. John Hubbard former CEO of commercial heat treating giant Bodycote retired his name is still a well recognized one and John remains very active in the heat treating industry. Marty Keylon a former Bodycote General Manager spend some time with John at the recent heat treat show in Columbus, Ohio and sent us these two photos. The first is John and Marty Keylon two weeks ago, the second photo dates back to the “Hinderliter” days in the 1980’s before Hinderliter became part of Bodycote. In it we see Marty and Gary Gall throwing John into a lake, the result was a broken ankle for John. November 9, 2017  

Nutec Bickley Acquires Olson Industries

In the world of new furnace manufacturing this ranks as a very interesting news item. These are two quite large furnace builders and the combination of the two will certainly have an effect on some parts of the industry. We have two photos to go with this news item, one provided by Olson Industries, the second showing the carbottom furnace is from a visit we made to Nutec in Mexico not that long ago. November 8, 2017   

“Nutec Bickley (Monterrey, Mexico), the international leader in the design and manufacture of innovative and efficient industrial furnaces, ovens, ceramic kilns, and combustion systems, has announced the key asset acquisition of Olson Industries (Burgettstown, PA, USA). This major move will see Nutec Bickley complement its existing product range to offer more complete packages for the steel, aluminum, and alloy industries. As with the previous acquisitions of Bickley, GFC Kilns, and Dragon Kilns in the company’s Ceramics Business Unit, bringing the Olson Industries’ line of equipment on board will enable the Metals Business Unit to consolidate its position in the North American market and, at the same time, secure access to larger projects. To consolidate the acquisition and to maintain good strands of continuity, it has also been announced that, as part of the transaction, Bryan Kraus (President and Owner of Olson Industries) will be engaged in Nutec Bickley’s Metals BU, providing guidance and assistance in related activities such as technical sales and engineering.

Olson has been supplying industrial furnace and process heat-treating equipment to manufacturers throughout the world since 1945, and enjoys a strong reputation for engineering and combustion design. “We are very excited about Olson Industries and Bryan Kraus joining the Nutec Bickley family,” said Nutec Bickley President, Daniel Llaguno. “Olson’s name and proven technology for the forging and heat treating of steel and alloys will perfectly complement our current range of products. We aim to make great strides as a result of this acquisition.” Olson’s breadth of expertise encompasses everything from car bottoms, box, rotary hearth, steckel and roller hearth furnaces, in applications such as forging, heat treating, continuous reheating, hot dip galvanizing, recirculation, and preheating. Great success has been achieved in major user industries such as steel, heat treatment, aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas.

“Applications such as large rotary-hearth furnaces, and peripheral equipment such as quenching systems, manipulators, robots, and conveyors will now be a standard offering from us,” confirmed Daniel Llaguno. “If you couple that with Nutec Bickley’s state-of-the-art facilities, highly experienced staff, and constant focus on customer satisfaction, you can see that there is indeed a very powerful value proposition on offer to both existing and new customers.”

Super Systems, Inc. Receives ISO9001:2015 Registration from PRI Registrar

 “PRI Registrar recognizes Super Systems, Inc. for its commitment to continual improvement in their quality management system and becoming certified to the current ISO9001:2015 international quality standard. Super Systems, Inc. announces that it has received ISO9001:2015 registration for manufacturing, calibration, and servicing of sensors, analyzers, control systems, and SSI product support services used in heat-treating organizations.  In addition, SSi has received its ISO/IEC17025:2005 calibration accreditation while expanding their scope of accreditation. “Our company and our customers benefit from our commitment to a solid quality management system and we are proud of our ISO9001:2015 and 17025 accreditation.  This is a company-wide effort and every one of our employees plays a part in our continuous improvement plan,” said Steve Thompson, President of Super Systems, Inc. Super Systems, Inc. received ISO9001:2015 registration for demonstrating its ongoing commitment to quality by satisfying customer requirements and industry specifications. “Super Systems, Inc. has demonstrated its commitment to world class quality management by implementing and becoming certified to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. They have joined an elite number of organizations worldwide who have achieved certification to this globally recognized quality standard,” said Randy Daugharthy, Director of the Registrar Program at the Performance Review Institute (PRI) Registrar. Additionally, the SSi team renewed its ISO/IEC17025:2005 Accreditation with its accreditation body, ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).  During the renewal audit, the SSi Production/Calibration team demonstrated technical competence in the field of Calibration that resulted in expanding its Scope of Accreditation in addition to reducing measurement uncertainties, which improves quality for SSi and its customers.” November 8, 2017   

Watervliet Continued

As part of our Monday Morning Briefing of October 30th/2017 we mentioned how the Watervliet Arsenal in NY State, USA is making a very large investment in their long standing heat treating department. We can give you a bit of an update on this in the form of this abbreviated story; “The U.S. Marine Corps’ artillery support for U.S.-backed forces fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa was reportedly so intense that units on the ground “burned out” the barrels on two of their M777 155mm howitzers during the effort to liberate the city, rendering them unsafe to use. The unprecedented use of the M777 in Iraq and Syria in particular might be part of why both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are looking to refit their guns with full-bore chrome-lined cannon tubes. In August 2017, the Army said that the Watervliet Arsenal in New York was working on a 100 of these new barrels for each service.

The refitted howitzers will reportedly have almost 50 percent greater barrel life over weapons with the original all-steel types. The Marines first tested the modified design in 2016 and Watervliet expects there will be more orders in the future. “Given that there are more than 1,000 of these gun systems in the Army and Marine inventory,” George Roach, the product manager for the chrome barrel program at Watervliet, said in August 2017. “There is potential for the arsenal to receive more orders for full-bore chrome barrels as these orders only reflect about 20 percent of the inventory.” November 7, 2017   

New helium leak detector PHOENIX 4 from Leybold

“After 15 years, Leybold is launching the PHOENIX 4, a new family of helium leak detectors to meet the increasing quality requirements. This innovative product is equally suited to the demands of research and development as for those of industrial applications – from securing the ultra-high vacuum demands in CERN’s particle accelerator, to industrial applications such as leak detection in the Hyperloop vacuum transport system or for semiconductor production. Functional design concept: With its ergonomic design and improved measuring characteristics, the fourth generation PHOENIX sets new standards – especially in terms of operating comfort, response times, helium sensitivity and reliability. Moreover, the stationary and mobile models are easier to handle and maintain than their predecessors. For example, it is now possible to change the filter without removing the housing. This compact, versatile helium leak detector is available in three classes, the PHOENIX Vario, PHOENIX Quadro, and PHOENIX Magno, which are designed for various customer applications with their different pumping speed configurations.” November 7, 2017   

Monday Morning Briefing

For something different we are going to start off in Sweden today where LEAX Group is announcing that they are in the process of installing a Low Pressure Carburizing (Vacuum Carburizing) system at their Brinkmann plant. The system is their first foray into vacuum carburizing and marks a departure from their older style, oil quenching furnaces. LEAX Group manufacturers a number of different products including gears and the company is also installing new induction hardening equipment at their plant in Falköping, Sweden. While the supplier of the LPC equipment was not named our guess would be that ECM is the builder. While the Swedish heat treating market is not large it is as advanced as any and more advanced than most (and a darn nice country by the way).

Steel making is not an area that “The Monty” generally mentions as we much prefer to keep our focus on what we truly know which is heat treating. However Timken seems to have flooded news outlets with their press release about a new quench and temper line at their location in Canton, Ohio so we will slip in a quick mention; “Timken Steel brought its newest heat-treatment asset, an advanced quench-and-temper facility, online and has started processing customer orders. The addition of the $40 million facility, located at the company’s Gambrinus Steel Plant in Canton, Ohio, increases TimkenSteel’s existing quench-and-temper capacity by 50,000 tons, or 45%, and brings the company’s total annual heat-treatment capacity to 500,000 process tons. According to TimkenSteel, it is the largest of its four heat-treatment facilities.” In our humble opinion one of the most high profile people in the Induction world is Dr. Valery Rudnev of Inductoheat however this high profile can also cause problems. The good doctor was not in attendance at the recent ASM show in Columbus, Ohio due to some other engagements which resulted in some people wondering if he was OK. He is happy and healthy and tells us what he has been up to; “In the third week of October 2017, Dr. Valery Rudnev, FASM, Director of Science & Technology at Inductoheat Inc., has conducted a number of induction heat treatment seminars in Europe. This includes a two-day technical seminar per invitation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group (FCA-Italy) at Tech Center in Torino, Italy (photo below). This was the second technical seminar conducted by Dr. Rudnev for FCA Group this year. In March, 2017 he conducted technical seminar for FCA-USA, which took place at the Tech Center in Auburn Hills, MI .”

Lets move on to “People” news where we start in Kentucky, USA. Russ Bell who was Sales Manager for commercial heat treater National Metal Processing down in Richmond, Kentucky has just retired. Commercial heat treater Bodycote has appointed Anne Quinn as non-executive chairman with effect from 1 January 1. Bodycote announced in March that Alan Thomson intended to step down as chairman and retire as a director once a successor had been identified. Eric Reamer who has been with commercial heat treater Phoenix Heat Treat in Arizona, USA very recently became Production Manager-congratulations to Eric. Mary McKerrell has just become Regional Sales Rep for commercial heat treater Applied Process in Michigan. Mr. Tomasz Pawlaczyk is  the new Production Manager at MB Aerospace Technologies (Poland) plant in Kalisz replacing Mr. Wojciech Matczak. This was a Vac Aero facility until it was sold to MB Aerospace about a year ago and this is what it looked like the last time we saw the plant.

Captive heat treater Parker Hannifin in Greeneville Virginia have been upgrading all their control panels and flow scopes to Atmosphere Engineering products recently. “The Monty” recently announced how Atmosphere Engineering had been acquired by United Process Controls. And to round things out we have this note from furnace builder Abbott Furnace Company; “Abbott Mexico, the Abbott Furnace Company division serving Mexico and South America was established in early 2017. In May, Abbott Mexico completed its first industrial furnace installation at an automotive parts manufacturing company in Mexico. The installation was challenging because the industrial furnace is a very large piece of equipment that needed to be installed in a tight space. Pictured at right with the first automotive part to come through the furnace is Abbott Mexico team members Alan Tellez, Jeff Carlson, and Scott Lovenduski.” November 6, 2017   


Truck parts manufacturer SAF issued this press release earlier this year about closing their Holland, Michigan plant by the end of October. Sure enough October 31 was the last day for the plant. The in house heat treating department was part of this closure with the equipment being moved to other locations. November 3, 2017   

“HOLLAND, MI – European-based SAF-Holland announced it will close its operations on the city’s West Side by the end of October, putting 97 employees out of work. The announcement, made public in a notice filed with the state of Michigan last week, said the layoffs will begin on May 19 through June 2 and will be completed by Oct. 31. Based in Luxembourg, SAF-Holland — formerly Holland Group and Holland Hitch — designs, manufactures and distributes engineered components, systems and services for the heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry. SAF-Holland, whose American offices are headquartered in Muskegon, announced in January it will begin consolidating its North American operations in response to weak sales. In Holland, the company operates from offices at 467 Ottawa Avenue and a production facility across the street at 430 W. 18th Street.”

ASM Photos

While we at “The Monty” always thoroughly enjoy trade shows as we did the ASM exhibition in Columbus, Ohio last week you can have too much of a good thing and with that statement we present our last photos from the show last week; November 3, 2017   

Gasbarre Furnace Group of Companies. From the left;  Ben Gasbarre, Paul Chamberlain, Eric Buchanan, Jeff Schlais, Patrick Weymer, Matt Marzullo

Gord Montgomery, Bill St. Thomas

Scott MacKenzie, Houghton, Jordan Montgomery


Greg Steiger, Andre Wilkerson, Idemitsu Lubricants America, Jordan Montgomery

 The Kanthal Team

  Furnace Builder SECO/WARWICK

BMI Installs Furnace at Medin

BMI a manufacturer of vacuum furnaces based in France recently installed a vacuum oil quenching furnace at Medin in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic. The furnace has working dimensions of 900mm X 1200mm X 900mm and a load capacity of 1200kg making it a pretty big unit. Other thermal processing equipment at the plant was provided by Tenova Group who is the parent company of BMI and one of the largest furnace builders in the world. Interesting looking furnace isn’t it-doesn’t look like most of the vacuum oil quenches we have seen over the years. Medin is a manufacturer of medical instruments and implants and this furnace is part of  their new heat treat department. November 2, 2017   

Solar Atmospheres Press Release

“Solar Atmospheres successfully processed the first FAA Certified structural additive manufactured Ti-6Al-4V parts that were produced by Norsk Titanium AS destined for installation on a Boeing airplane.  The vacuum stress relief was compliant with the stringent AMS 2801 and other OEM specifications.  Norsk Titanium’s printing technology of these aft galley supports, along with other flight critical components, signals the ancillary cost benefits that customers may realize with additive manufacturing: lead time reduction, lower inventory requirements, and future spare parts continuity assurances. Solar Atmosphere processed the initial production components for Norsk in March. Norsk’s US facility in Plattsburgh, New York will produce multiple 3-D printed components for the world’s premier commercial aircraft OEMs.  The company is also exploring other applications in the defense sector including the next generation aircraft, naval vessels, and land-based vehicles. November 1, 2017   

Bob Hill, President of Solar Atmospheres of Western PA states, “We are extremely proud to partner with innovative additive manufacturing companies such as Norsk Titanium.  Today, we can clearly see how this revolutionary manufacturing process has departed from the hype realm and is entering into everyday reality.” For additional information about Solar Atmospheres, contact Mike Johnson at 866.982.0660, ext. 2223, or, and visit

About Norsk Titanium AS. Norsk Titanium AS is the world’s pioneering supplier of aerospace-grade, additive manufactured, structural titanium components.  The company is distinguished in the aviation industry by its patented Rapid Plasma Deposition™ (RPD™) process that transforms titanium wire into complex components suitable for structural and safety-critical applications.  Norsk Titanium is a tier-1 supplier to Boeing and is committed to cost-reducing aerostructures and jet engines for the world’s premier aerospace manufacturers.   RPD™ is the world’s first FAA-approved, 3D-printed, structural titanium, delivering substantial lead-time and cost savings for aerospace, defense, and commercial customers. 

Lindberg Ships Batch IQ Furnaces

“Lindberg/MPH announced the shipment of two electrically heated Pacemaker integral quench furnaces. The Pacemaker IQ furnaces will be used for carburizing and hardening applications. These integral quench furnace systems provide a total solution for your heat-treating processes.  The Pacemaker furnaces have maximum temperature ratings of 1850°F, work chamber dimensions of 24” W x 36” D x 24” H, and feature upper atmosphere cooling chambers. A programmable control system provides full automation of the load and carbon control. The programmable logic controller also performs all data collection functions for process variables. Atmosphere carbon potential is controlled with automatically adjusting flowmeters and an oxygen probe. The equipment status screens are visible on the HMI screens.” November 1, 2017