Sheffield Forgemasters placed an order with Andritz for the supply of seven industrial furnaces for the company’s proposed 13,000-metric-ton forging line. Austria-based Andritz will design, build and deliver four heat-treatment furnaces and three forging furnaces. The furnaces, with up to 1,000 metric tons of capacity, will feature rail-mounted car bottoms that can roll in and out for the loading of ultra-large components. They will also include dual-fuel burners that can switch to hydrogen if the technology to move away from natural gas becomes viable. The largest furnace will measure 60.5 feet long x 31 feet wide x 26.5 feet tall.
General Motors Co. plans to invest more than $1 billion in two of its Flint, Mich., manufacturing sites – Flint Assembly and Flint Metal Center – to prepare them for production of the next-generation internal combustion engine (ICE) heavy-duty trucks. This investment will enable the company to strengthen its full-size truck business and bolsters its U.S. manufacturing operations. GM has announced more than $1.7 billion in investments for Flint-area operations in 2023.
SECO/VACUUM, a SECO/WARWICK Group company, received an order for a second 2-bar vacuum heat-treating furnace from a developer of power generation systems. The single-chamber, high-pressure-quench vacuum furnace offers additional capacity for the company’s heat-treating processes, including high-vacuum sintering and annealing. The Vector is designed to achieve the deep vacuum levels needed for the company’s highly specialized applications. It is equipped with an all-metal hot zone, high-vacuum diffusion pump and uses argon for its process gas.
Retech, a SECO/WARWICK Group company, is expanding into a new 70,000-square-foot building that includes 65,000 square feet of high-roof industrial space. The supplier of vacuum metallurgical equipment relocated most of its operations to Buffalo, N.Y., five years ago as part of parent company SECO/WARWICK Group’s long-term planning. The company will now take over a second space that is over 60% larger than its current building, which it will continue to occupy. The new building will house fabrication, welding and other manufacturing machinery. The current building will continue to house R&D operations and factory-acceptance testing operations. Retech expects to eventually hire 30-60 new staff at all levels, including entry-level, experienced trade technicians and engineers.
Nucor Corp. signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to capture, transport and store carbon from the company’s direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Convent, La. ExxonMobil will capture up to 800,000 metric tons per year of CO2 from the DRI plant and store it at an ExxonMobil-owned facility in Louisiana. The project is expected to start up in 2026 and supports Louisiana’s objective of reaching net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution (LGES) will invest over $4.3 billion to establish an EV battery-cell manufacturing joint venture in Savannah, Ga. The companies will each hold a 50% stake in the JV. The annual production capacity is at 30 GWh, which is able to support the production of 300,000 units of EVs annually. The facility will be located adjacent to Hyundai Motor Group’s Metaplant America, which is currently under construction. Starting construction in the second half of 2023, the joint venture plans to start battery production at the end of 2025 at the earliest.
Sweden’s VBN Components, which manufactures extremely wear-resistant materials, installed a new heat-treatment machine to improve production and significantly shorten delivery times. The URQ-HIP (uniform rapid quenching-hot isostatic pressing), which offers both heat treatment and rapid quenching, will allow the company to manufacture pore-free materials and develop alloys with higher hardness and toughness. In addition to the direct minimization of unnecessary heating, the machine has been equipped with a recycling system for the process gas, which reduces its environmental impact.
Andritz received an order from Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co. for the supply of two continuous heat-treatment lines and one continuous process-treatment line to produce aluminum and aluminum alloy sheets for the automotive and aerospace industries at its mill in Longkou, Shandong. Andritz’s scope of supply includes engineering, equipment, supervision of erection and commissioning of the complete lines (including electrical and automation equipment). Start-up will take place in 2025.
Stratasys Ltd., a manufacturer of industrial 3D printers, and Desktop Metal Inc. entered into a definitive agreement whereby the companies will combine in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.8 billion. The transaction unites the polymer strengths of Stratasys with the complementary industrial mass-production leadership of Desktop Metal’s brands, creating an additive-manufacturing company that is expected to be well-positioned to serve the evolving needs of customers in manufacturing.
Lindberg/MPH built and shipped an electrically heated, full muffle, mesh-belt conveyor furnace that will be used for treating pressed powdered material. The furnace is designed for applications with a maximum process temperature of 1832°F (1000°C) that utilize a nitrogen or clean, dry filtered-air process atmosphere. The unit is configured with nine temperature control zones and includes a water-cooling section. The conveyor system features a 14-inch-wide mesh belt with belt stop alarm to provide an audible and visual indication in case of a conveyor stoppage.