Tag Archives: Hostile Duck Iron(tm)

The Stuff Matters- AP University

In the Austempering business we are constantly amazed how limited the engineering community’s general knowledge of material/process selection really is.  Often, engineers make material selection based on the incumbent products or the guy with the most voluminous editorial or advertising material.  Or they can be pushed to lower density materials believing what they’ve heard, that low density = lightweight = green.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Stuff Matters.  I can’t blame the engineers.  Everybody’s being asked to do more with less and every engineer is expected to know everything about everything and they just can’t.

So we found it mildly amusing when Ford announced a few months back (Automotive News August 2012) that they intend to reduce the mass of the US’ #1 selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, by 750 lb. (340kg).  The mass reduction will be accomplished by converting steel and iron components to aluminum in:

-The cargo box

-The tailgate

-The hood

-The chassis

-The suspension.

The mass reduction is expected to 1) increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle by 8% and, 2) increase the cost of the vehicle by $3,000.  Hmmmm.  If one drives their F-150 10,000 miles (16,130 km) per year and gasoline sells for $3.50/gallon, this modification will pay for itself in 10 years.  In other words, it will be like buying $3,000 worth of gasoline IN ADVANCE.  (That energy is embodied in the aluminum that is substituted for ferrous alloys that require much less energy to extract from the earth).  It sounds green……a lighter vehicle, 8% better “fuel efficiency”…..but is it, really?  You decide.

To help engineers and buyers make better material/process decisions, Applied Process Inc. recently held its inaugural “AP University” in Livonia and Ann Arbor, Michigan.  31 attendees representing 16 companies participated in a 3-day seminar focusing on engineering conversions.  They learned how to design a casting, the metallurgy of ductile iron and Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), solidification and 3-D modeling, machining and all aspects of converting steel and aluminum castings, forgings and weldments to ductile iron and ADI castings.  For the capstone events the attendees toured Applied Process’ Livonia facility and participated in mold making and a ductile iron pour at Joyworks Studio in Ann Arbor…..each taking home a rather snazzy looking Hostile Duck Iron, wall-mount bottle opener.

The AP University attendees asked great questions and learned much.  One attendee, an engineer with a purchasing function, working for a Tier One supplier summed it up the best: “There were things that I did not think would be (candidates) for the Austempering process…..so I would not have considered it before.  Moving forward, I can apply this knowledge to more new applications”.  THAT is the point of AP University.  Oh, by the way, one of the AP University attendees was a Ford engineer.  We hope he’s working on the F-150.

AP University could not have happened without the hard  work of Vasko Popovski, Kathy Hayrynen, Justin Lefevre, Henry Frear, Chad Kelsey, Ryan Breneman, Cindy Duman and the teams at Applied Process, AP Tech, Magmasoft and Communica.  Thanks to the lot of ya. We’re growin’ the pie here at Applied Process.

Applied Process Inc. is Ringing in the New Year

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…..