Tag Archives: Austempering

Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) Gets a Boost in China; Wish you were here.

Hundreds are expected to attend the 5th China ADI Conference 7-9 August 2011 in Changchun, Jilin, China.

This week marks the 5th gathering of the China ADI Conference.  The venue is the city of Changchun in the Chinese province of Jilin.  (If you are looking for it on the map just look a few hundred miles north of the Korean border).  Loosely translated, Changchun means “long spring” but the winters here are none too short and right now the summer is quite hot.  The conference will feature dozens of papers presented by authors from several countries.  (Sorry for you non-Chinese speaking people, the language of the conference is exclusively Mandarin).  It will include an Open House at Jilin ADI, a new commercial heat treating shop (and an Austempering licensee of Applied Process Inc.) that has as its centerpiece an 80”x80”x56” Universal Batch Quench / Austemper furnace, currently the largest integral salt quench batch furnace on the planet. 

A large turnout of the hometown First Auto Works (FAW) crowd is expected.  FAW already incorporates some ADI designs in their vehicles but they are busily designing components from differential gears to multifunction suspension brackets to axle components.  To give you an idea of the scope of FAW’s importance to this town, 2011 is a down year for truck production here and they’ll still produce about 120,000 heavy trucks……one company, in one city.

China is the worldwide leader in the production of ductile iron.  In recent years the quality and capability of the ductile iron producers in China has improved markedly.  In tandem, world-class Austempering capabilities have been capitalized and ADI production in China is climbing rapidly.  Heck, they’ve even got their own, brand spankin’ new ADI standard.

If you’re so inclined, hop a plane (or two, or three) and come on out to see what’s shakin’ with ADI in the Middle Kingdom.

Demand for Austempering Remains at Record Levels

Our Mission is to Grow the Pie for Austempering……and BOY is the pie growing!  Demand for Austempering remains at record levels.  Producers up and down the supply chain are straining their capacity, resulting in a flattening out of US manufacturing growth.  With certain parts of the economy still in recession, manufacturers have been slow to pull the trigger on capacity-expanding capital expenditures.  Orders in the capital equipment business have now increased, but the entire US manufacturing industry is the bottleneck right now……Applied Process Inc. included.  It will take several months to right-size capacities with demand but accelerating growth in US manufacturing is expected in 2012.

In a longer-term view, SAE Off-Highway Engineering magazine reported on recent comments by John Deere’s Chairman and CEO, Samuel Allen.  Mr. Allen stated that, “A steadily growing population will result in at least 30% more people to feed, shelter and clothe in the next 40 years.  This must be done with basically the same amount of land, water and other inputs such as fertilizer”.  Just think of that….a 30% increase in per-acre productivity.  Mr. Allen further stated that, “Largely as a result of productivity advances, the typical US farmer today feeds over 150 people; six times more than in 1960”.  In the 1930’s approximately 40% of the US population was directly employed in the production of our food.  Today, less than 2% of the US population is feeding the US and exporting food worldwide.  So dramatic productivity increases are not new to US farmers and ranchers.

John Deere is the leader in the US agricultural equipment industry.  The Agricultural equipment industry, worldwide, will play a central part in future productivity gains in food production.  But whether the equipment is green, red, yellow or blue; Austempered Steel, Carbo-Austemperedsm Steel, Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), Carbidic Austempered Ductile Iron (CADIsm), Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) and Locally Austempered Ductile Iron (LADIsm) processed by the Applied Process companies and our affiliates will be getting the job done.

News FLASH: BAINITE is all the rage

It’s in the technical press wall-to-wall.  It even made the Wall Street Journal.  FLASH BAINITE is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  A Mr. Cola, from Washington, Michigan has discovered that Bainite has excellent properties.  (We’ve been telling you that since about 1962).  As it turns out, Mr. Cola has either patented, or is applying for patent on methods to produce a mixed-Bainitic microstructure in a quick, continuous process.  The results, examined and reported on, by experts from THE Ohio State University (we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) showed that steel with a predominantly Bainitic microstructure had higher strength and better ductility than conventionally processed steels.  Sound familiar?  (Visit us on LinkedIn at “Bainite is Better” for real-world examples).  The implication is that if one could produce Bainitic sheet steel it would be stronger and have better formability than either pearlitic or Martensitic steel sheet.  I’ll bet it does.  Mr. Cola also claims that Flash Bainite is also very weldable.  Perhaps, but we’re not certain the patent covers the suspension of the laws of thermodynamics…….and the resultant heat affected zone

Go get ‘em Mr. Cola.  We will watch with interest as you commercialize your Austempering Flash Bainite process (as we’ve been at it for almost five decades)…….and if you need moral support you’ll find us at www.appliedprocess.com .  We would like to know who your PR people are…..MAN, they’re good!

Growing the Pie….and then some.

At Applied Process we’re all about Austempering.  In fact, our mission is to “Grow the Pie” and we appear to be succeeding.  Here in the US, while those working in construction and government are still seeing the worst of times, many of us in manufacturing are currently enjoying the best of times.  Times may be too good.  Up and down the manufacturing supply chain everybody is adding shifts, adding machines and STILL falling behind current demand.  The demand for Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), Carbidic ADI (CADI™), Austempered Steel, Carbo-Austempered™ Steel and even Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) has accelerated right past the pre-recession level.  Manufacturers in nearly every segment are finding demand that is outstripping capacities.  Right now agriculture and manufacturing are carrying the US economy.  Let’s hope for a good dose of political gridlock so our elected officials can’t jump in and “fix things”.

I sometimes hear people complaining about today’s work ethic.  When I look at our workers at Applied Process I see people who are kicking butt and taking names 24-7….and I’m really proud of them.  I wouldn’t trade them for a million bucks and 10 first-round draft picks.  At Applied Process we are passionate people providing innovative Austempering solutions.

This past week I had the good fortune to visit P.F. Markey in Saginaw, Michigan ( www.pfmarkey.com ), a supplier of industrial tools, inserts and machining supplies.  Jim Terry and the crew at P.F.Markey have a unique business proposition.  They guarantee you that you will save 10-20% on tools if you install their tool vending machines.  No crib. No crib attendant. Complete traceability and custom reporting.  Awesome.

One of life’s truths: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Wayne Gretzky.

Just a thought: if life expectancy in the US is increasing by one year per decade and we have a pending demographic and economic train wreck with our social programs, why don’t we just raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security by one month per year….forever.  No change in contribution, no change in benefits, problem solved…….or is that too simple?