Tag Archives: ADI Engineering

Austempering- A Critical Process for Lots and Lots of Heavy Trucks….if they could just build ’em.

Austempered steel and iron components are critical to today’s Class 8 Trucks (over the road trucks with load capacity exceeding 33,000 lbs).  Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) cylinder liners make diesels more durable.  Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) suspension, powertrain and engine components make those systems quieter, lighter, more durable and cost effective.  (In fact, heavy truck is the number one market segment for ADI worldwide).  Austempered and Carbo-Austemperedsm components in heavy duty powertrains push their performance envelopes.  Applied Process is proud to be a world-wide leader in Austempering technology and the significant role we play in the production of world-class heavy trucks.

Today’s Class 8 trucks are lighter, more powerful (yet more efficient) and more durable than ever.  Tiered, increasing Federal engine regulations in the last ten years have caused sales to lurch initially up, and then downward, from over 350,000 units per year at the peak to less than 150,000 units last year.  But those regulations (and the Great Recession) are now behind us and demand is stirring.  With TransCore’s North American Freight Index running 10-15% ahead of last year month-to-month and fuel prices moderating, trucking firms are in a buying mood.  Heavy Duty Tucking reported on research by ACT Research that orders in the first quarter of 2011 are the strongest since 2006.  In fact, the article reports that the backlog (as of June) of orders for new, Class 8 trucks is an eye-popping 126,000 units……a 55 month high.

In an interview with Heavy Duty Trucking, Navistar’s Senior VP of North American Sales was quoted as saying, “There are a lot of orders out there, but I’m going to tell you something: they aren’t going to get built because (there) just isn’t the supply base out there to handle the kinds of increases we’re seeing”.  Ditto comments by the President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, Martin Daum made at the Mid-America Trucking Show.  Hebe referred to supply chain problems with “tier two and three” suppliers in places like India, China and Korea failing to deliver and then, “the whole thing falls apart”.  In the interview Herbe verbalized what we already know, that “A lot of production has also moved to Mexico in the past few years.  There isn’t the capability to ramp up capacity in those other countries like we have here.  It’s just not going to happen”.

Hmmm, that would seem to be an endorsement of US production capabilities.  If they went off shore for components and moved assembly to Mexico to save money and now cannot produce say, 50,000 additional trucks this year, I wonder how much money they actually saved?

So, this year in North America we’ll build 225,000 or up to 300,000 trucks depending on how well the Indian, Korean, Chinese and Mexican suppliers do?  Thank goodness for our Steady Eddy US manufacturing customers who are stretched to the limit, but supplying high quality components just-about-on-time. I’m all for sourcing parts in China for the Chinese market, or in India for the Indian market, or in Korea for the Korean market,  but do you think the Class 8 OEM’s might re-think sourcing parts in those countries bound for trucks built in North America?  I guess this year the answer to that question will depend on how much the “low-cost” outsourcing costs them in new truck sales.  Don’t mind me. I’m just the heat treater…..it must take a high-paid OEM bean counter to figure this stuff out.

Manufacturing Surge Evident at GIFA: More Growth in Store for Austempering

The quadrennial metal casting exhibition, GIFA, was held in Dusseldorf, Germany June 21 through July 2.  Coincident shows included NEWCAST, THERMPROCESS and METEC.  This massive show covered 12 convention halls with 900 exhibitors (54 from North America) and 53,000 visitors from all over the world.  The European technical organization CIATF sponsored 54 technical papers.  Applied Process Inc. and its affiliates ADI Treatments, ADI Engineering, HighTemp, AP Suzhou and Jilin ADI sponsored a booth in the NEWCAST pavilion.  Hundreds of visitors stopped by our stand to discuss potential applications of Austempering, with specific interest in ADI and CADI™.  (They’re discovering that Ausferrite is AWESOME).

The worldwide mood in metal casting and related manufacturing is one of cautious optimism.  European markets have recovered to over 80% of their pre-recession business levels, the US and India are experiencing best ever business levels.  Australian manufacturing is suffering.  Chinese manufacturing has recovered fully in sales levels but is being hit with a high currency valuation, high energy prices and double-digit wage inflation.

We were pleased to announce at NEWCAST the upcoming commissioning of the production Austempering line at Hightemp’s Pune facility.  Pune is the automotive manufacturing capital of India and scores of Indian visitors to our booth expressed unvarnished optimism for the near-term growth of manufacturing in India.

ADI Treatments (UK) hinted at the commissioning of their planned German sister operation, ADI Technik, perhaps in 2012.  This would put leading edge Austempering technology in the heart of Europe where demand remains strong for high-tech conversions to ADI from steel and aluminum castings, weldments and forgings.

The feedback from Washington this week was grim, with very few new jobs being created (overall) and national unemployment rising to 9.2%.  In contrast, since the recession, US manufacturers have added hundreds of thousands of jobs and all the feedback from North American manufacturers points to growth at least through the middle of 2013.  That’s good news for Austempering, which is already breaking new records.  We are fulfilling our mission to “Grow the Pie” for Austempering…..and we’ll continue to do so.

On another note: Hat’s off to our Australian friends for another fantastic Aussie Boat adventure on the Rhine River near Dusseldorf’s Alt Stadt (Old City).  They sure know how to work and play hard.  They are now even more familiar with Hostile Duck Iron and our www.appliedprocess.com website.  Several Australian foundries have, in fact, joined the US-based Ductile Iron Society (www.ductile.org ).  They include: Graham Campbell Ferrum (parent company of ADI Engineering), Intercast & Forge and Trigg Brothers Foundry.