We have returned to the U.S. after eight (or so) years of working internationally in the U.K., Europe, India, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. The work has been both exciting and extremely interesting, focusing on the following subjects:
- Project management
- Heat-treatment training and education (including the production of training videos)
- Consulting and training on induction heat treatment
- Forging and heat-treatment industry in Europe and Russia
- Defense projects
- Material selection and heat treatment
- Aluminum extrusion
- Aviation related to aluminum, material selection and heat treatment
I will also add that it has been a very challenging time with the many projects that were dealt with. I am now back in the U.S. and restarting our services once again. I would like to report to readers of Industrial Heating some of the projects I have been involved in. I trust that readers will find interest in similar situations in the U.S.
The Russian Project
The company is a leading forging and heat-treatment operation. The initial requirement was to establish the purchase of a run-down forging operation. The heat-treatment furnaces were of a continuous design with rollers for work transportation through the furnace. They were in a very poor state of maintenance.
The heat-treatment furnaces were gas-fired with recuperative burners, which were in an extremely poor condition and not operating successfully. The furnace hearth beneath the rollers was deep in forge scale due to atmosphere control. The continuous furnaces were fitted with a vestibule at both entry and discharge ends, complete with chain guards. Many of the hanging chains were missing and seen under the rollers of the transportation system.
Furnace maintenance is as essential as the maintenance of an automobile if quality heat treatment is to be accomplished on a continuous basis. In numerous cases that I have been involved in, furnace maintenance is very often at the bottom of the industrial equipment maintenance program, with the cry, “We cannot afford the downtime!” Yet not too many companies are operating Saturday nights or even Sunday nights!
If furnace maintenance is not carried out on a frequent and regular basis, the return on investment will diminish at an alarming rate, as well as a lack of quality and consistency of the heat-treated metallurgy. If the furnaces are not kept operational, then not one single component can be shipped from the company due to inconsistent and poor metallurgy. Please remember: “Good heat-treatment practice will make the component; bad heat treatment can break the component during service.”
My next blog will further discuss the main functional forging operation and its condition as well as the heat-treatment quality of H13 hot forging dies.