Since January is the month we try to focus on new technologies and products impacting the thermal-processing industry, let’s take a look at some recent news items that have come across my desk (or rather appeared in my inbox).

  • United States Steel Corp., Norfolk Southern Corp. and The Greenbrier Companies Inc. jointly announced a new steel gondola railcar. Using a formula for high-strength, lighter-weight steel developed by U.S. Steel, each gondola’s unloaded weight is reduced by up to 15,000 pounds. According to the companies, the new steel is twice as strong as traditional steel used in the railcar manufacturing process, potentially extending the useful life of each gondola to 50 years. The new gondola is al-so more energy-efficient, both during production and in use. The steel fabrication process requires less time, leading to improved energy efficiency due to less material being used. The lower weight decreases the fuel needed by locomotives hauling the railcars, reducing energy usage and lowering emissions. In addition, the high-strength steel requires less structural reinforcement, simplifying the manufacturing process and allowing more total cargo space in each railcar.
  • EOS developed a new alloy, EOS Aluminium Al2139 AM, that is engineered specifically for additive manufacturing (AM). In its heat-treated state, Al2139 AM achieves a yield and tensile strength around 500 MPa, which EOS says is the highest strength for an AM aluminum alloy. Due to its fast and simple single-step heat-treatment procedure, companies can save up to 88% in active heat-treatment time, meaning parts can be manufactured faster. The material also has high strength at elevated temperatures up to 392°F (200°C) and good corrosion resistance. The increased strength properties give users an opportunity to significantly reduce the weight of manufactured parts without compromising on strength.
  • Two German companies – PEER Energy GmbH and Schwing Technologies GmbH – are cooperating on developing and marketing fluidized-bed technology for the heat treatment of metal components. The partnership will focus on combining quenching processes with fluidized-bed technology. The goal is faster and more uniform heating and cooling processes for metal parts while conserving resources and reducing unit costs.
  • Three companies developed what they say is the world’s first hydrogen combustion-type continuous combustion furnace for making lithium-ion battery (LiB) electrode materials. The furnace achieved zero carbon emission by adapting a special ceramic radiant-tube burner. The furnace, Nero, was created using Noritake Co.’s firing furnace technology and Tokyo Gas Co. and Tokyo Gas Engineering Solutions Corp.’s hydrogen combustion technology. Nero performs stable heat treatment using hydrogen as fuel at the temperatures of 1832°F (1000°C) or higher.
  • Aurubis AG and SMS group will build a multi-metal recycling plant in Augusta, Ga. Construction will start in mid-2022. Upon commissioning, which is scheduled for the first half of 2024, the plant will process about 90,000 tons of complex recycling materials annually. SMS group is delivering the technology for the top-blown rotary converter (TBRC), which processes complex recycling materials to recover copper, nickel, tin, zinc, precious metals and platinum group metals.
  • Sintavia LLC developed proprietary printing technology for GRCop-42, the preferred copper alloy used by NASA and private space-flight companies for rocket thrust chamber assemblies. The technology, which is a combination of a proprietary parameter set and post-processing heat treatment, results in GRCop-42 components with minimum density of 99.94%, minimum tensile strength of 28.3 ksi, minimum ultimate yield strength of 52.7 ksi and minimum elongation of 32.4%.
  • A team of engineers, material scientists and manufacturing experts developed a new patent-pending process for binder-jet additive manufacturing (AM) and sintering of aluminum. The project, co-funded by the ExOne Company of North Huntingdon, Pa., and Ford Motor Company, reportedly results in components with properties comparable to those found in die casting. While other AM aluminum al-loys have been laser manufactured, the new process is reported to offer greater speed and is expected to increase Ford’s efficiency.


Automated FIFO rotary-furnace line
Automated FIFO rotary-furnace line
Automated FIFO rotary-furnace line
Automated FIFO rotary-furnace line
Automated FIFO rotary-furnace line


These are just a few stories that caught my eye in recent months. If I missed something, or if you have a new technology or product you would like to share with us, please contact me at


Our January issue also highlights some new technological advancements you might want to check out.

  • Leomi Instruments of India contributed an article that discusses a new development in mass flow sensors for industrial gas furnaces.
  • As we are all aware, artificial intelligence is a technology that is here to stay, but just how is it trans-forming metal-processing industries? Read January’s feature from Diran Apelian of the Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC) to find out.
  • Another technology making its mark, especially in the post-COVID world we live in, is remote diagnostics. John Holmes of Ultraseal International details how Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving many significant manufacturing improvements, particularly in the die-casting industry.


Enjoy the issue, and have a happy new year!


Bill Mayer


Phone: 248-833-7388