In this space I hope to highlight examples of casting conversions, especially those in Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI). These examples will be those that are publicly available as I am not in the habit of divulging trade secrets. If you have an example you want to share, let me know – you know where to find me.
The good people at Dotson Iron Castings are experts at casting conversions. They do a lot of design work to help customers to create more lightweight and cost-effective solutions. They executed a Shank Pivot Mount conversion from a weldment with great success. You can read about it here. This particular casting won the 2012 Metalcasting Design and Purchasing Award for Best in Class Design.
Great work done there! I hope to present more such cases in this space in the weeks to come.
Applied Process Inc. was incorporated in 1984 to build on its parent’s cornerstone; Austempering. Atmosphere Furnace Company, now AFC Holcroft, founded in 1962, was one of the original companies of Atmosphere Group. In the late 1970’s AFC embarked on a developmental project to improve the quench speed and efficiency of salt quenches. Eventually AFC’s Universal Batch Quench Austemper (UBQA) furnace was born. UBQA technology integrated an atmosphere controlled furnace with a sealed salt quench. The UBQA’s quench was revolutionary in the application of ambient pressure, water addition and quenchant flow rate to produce a quenching rate that rivaled that of fast oil systems. This made the processing of larger forgings, weldments and castings a commercial reality. The original UBQA furnace was a 36 in. x 48 in. x 30 in. (914mm x 1219mm x762mm) with a two ton gross load capability. Applied Process Inc. was founded to exploit the capabilities of the UBQA furnace and to commercialize the Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) process.
UBQA technology advanced over the next 20 years. 36 in. x 72 in. x 36 in. (914mm x 1829mm x 914mm) UBQAs with 3 ton load capacity followed. 54 in. (1372mm) high units and units with a footprint of 72 in. x 72 in. (1829mm x1829mm) followed…..all with 3-ton load capacity. Then, over a McDonald’s lunch about ten years ago, the concept of a double-wide, high-capacity UBQA line was conceived. Finally, in 2012, the Monster Parts™ UBQA came to life.
Built at AFC-Holcroft in Wixom, Michigan, USA, the furnace made its journey to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA for installation in a new, purpose-built shop; the Monster Parts™ Division of AP Westshore. The journey of the Monster™ from conception to delivery is captured in a video that can be accessed below:
Today the Monster Parts™ furnace is exceeding all expectations. Its 84 in. x 96 in. (2134mm x 2438mm) footprint and 10-ton gross load capacity make it the largest integral quench batch furnace on the planet. What makes it exceptional is its performance and capabilities. Capable of carburizing or neutral hardening atmospheres and a high-speed quench with a mere 10ºF quench temperature rise when quenching a 10-ton load, the unit is unmatched in its attributes.
Carbo-Austempering™ of large steel gears, bearings or shafts, Austempering of large steel or ductile iron components for gearboxes, material handling, structural, pump and compressor components, processing of Carbidic ADI (CADI™) wear parts, and Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) components…..the Monster Parts™ line does it all. It is, hands down, the most capable, precise, efficient, salt-quench furnace on the planet. How can the Monster™ help you to reduce the cost and/or improve the performance of your large components? Watch the video and then visit us at www.appliedprocess.com so we can collaborate on a Monster™ success story with you.
You can also visit our friends at Gear Technology and read more in their February newsletter:
If we could tell you all the good stuff we’ve got going on your head would explode. But there’s PLENTY of good stuff we can report. With our aggressive capacity increases we have now worked our backlogs back down to historical levels. In fact, we caught up so quickly that we happily surprised some of our customers who had dialed in extended turn times. It’s good to see some concrete around the bins again!
Just this week an OEM truck manufacturer gave AP Westshore the second highest quality audit score ever and the highest score ever awarded to a heat treater. The auditor was effusive in his praise. Well earned, Oshkosh. Our customers know that for the highest quality Austempering services available anywhere the AP companies are the benchmark.
An international producer of critical pressure vessels is successfully testing ADI components. A major tier supplier of heavy truck suspension components is forecasting a 30% increase in orders for critical ADI structural components that replaced expensive, heavy, steel forgings. A major bearing manufacturer just cut AP Livonia the largest single purchase order ever. Railcar production, and production of the critical ADI components on them, is skyrocketing. New ag, mining and turf care consumables are being converted to ADI and CADI™ weekly. US light vehicle production is climbing and Austempered iron and steel components are included in their suspensions, engines and transmissions.
The Monster Parts™ Division is soon to be commissioned and we’ve already lined up major OEM’s and tier suppliers with components as large as 7 tons and two meters in diameter. With our new Monster Parts™ capability we will be opening markets up to ADI and Austempered and Carbo-Austempered™ steel that heretofore were the sole domain of pearlitic and martensitic steel forgings, castings and weldments.
On a lighter note, just today, truck traffic into AP Westshore was blocked by a disabled truck. Ironically, a cast aluminum wheel hub on the trailer had failed, shearing off the bolts and locking up the axle. John Wagner and the APW crew were quick to point out to the driver that if he had been equipped with a lightweight, Walther EMC Duralight® ADI hub the failure would never have occurred.
We’re here. We’re energized. We’re doing our jobs, making stuff in the USA……. and no amount of headwinds from Washington are going to stop us now.
Happy 2012! Applied Process is ringing in the new year in a big way. We raised our glasses and toasted a record 2011 and up and down the manufacturing landscape 2012 looks even better. For all this we are very grateful…..but we’re not sitting still. We’ve expanded capacity steadily over the last 18 months and are anxiously awaiting the commissioning of our Monster Parts™ Division.
The Monster Parts™ furnace equipment was arriving at Oshkosh this week and, lo and behold, the first truck led with a Hostile Duck hood ornament. Coincidence? I think NOT! After all, we are the HOME of Hostile Duck Iron™.
And what is that, literally, streaking across the Wisconsin sky? It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s SUPER TANK capable of holding 200 tons of molten salt in a single charge! (Soon you’ll be able to view the adventure of the Monster Parts™ line on YouTube…..stay tuned). The Monster Parts™ furnace line will be commissioned in a few months and will be capable of running gross loads of up to 10 tons…..or skads of rangey parts up to 250 cubic feet per load. When we say it’s a MONSTER, we mean it……and the MONSTER is coming soon.
We’re also pleased to announce (effective 31 December 2011) the sale of our AP Suzhou (China) facility to our minority partners David Chang and Andy Chen. The Suzhou facility will be re-branded “Suzhou ADI” and, with its sister plant, Jilin ADI, will operate under technical license to Applied Process Inc.. We’re growing the pie east and west!
Dr. Kathy and the R&D crew, Vasko Popovski and the sales team and the Plant Manager Steves (Sumner, Metz and Gladieux) are working on lots of great new cost and energy saving conversions. Since “lightweighting” is the new buzzword in the transportation industries we’re taking the lead, helping to develop cost effective, lightweight components in ADI, LADI, Austempered and Carbo-Austempered™ steel.
We read the paper and listen to the talking heads on the news and we sometimes forget to look around us and see what’s really happening. Some say “we don’t make anything here any more”. They are misinformed. We manufacture more stuff in the USA than any other country…….and it’s not even close. Right now if you are in a US business involved in agriculture, mining/energy or manufacturing, times are pretty good……and getting better. New, clever, equipment designs are increasing productivity on farms and in factories and making US made goods more competitive in foreign markets. Those wealth-producing segments of the economy (ag, mining/energy and manufacturing) are the source of the nation’s wealth…….and they are rising even against strong tax and regulatory head winds. What we do….Austempering…..is a process step in those segments.
Our mission is to “Grow the Pie”. So the next time somebody asks me what I do for a living I could give them my elevator speech; “I’m in the heat treating business. I specialize in the Austempering process. I get paid to heat treat people’s parts. But what I really do for a living is help customers convert components from one material process combination to a better, faster, cheaper one”. Or it might just be easier to say; “I’m in manufacturing. Creating wealth right here in the USA…..care to join me?”. Now if the politicians would just get out of our way…..