red   ATEK Precision Castings Renamed as ATEK Metal Technologies
    ATEK Companies, Eden Prairie, Minn., has renamed ATEK Precision Castings as ATEK Metal Technologies, New Hampton, Iowa, reflecting its expertise in cast aluminium parts and assemblies.
“ATEK Metal Technologies has a well-earned reputation for delivering excellence through the use of advanced simulation modelling, tool design, leading-edge casting equipment and experienced foundry engineers,” said Mark Osmanski, CEO and president. “Our new name, brand identity and website will better communicate the broad range of technologies and capabilities we offer our customers.” As part of the rebranding initiative, ATEK Metal Technologies has a new tag line, “State of the art in the art of metal,”.
red   'Foundry Man' gets Maharashtra State Award for Green Awareness
Sheetal Ketkale (42), who is known as the 'foundry man', has won the state government's first prize for creating environment awareness by consistently experimenting with bamboo. Ketkale, who has a foundry in which 200 people work, has successfully planted bamboo on over 100 acres of land spread across Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts. When he started the work, hardly anyone supported the idea as people were unaware of the monetary and environmental benefits of bamboo.
The water resources department of the state government recently awarded his NGO Global Cooling Foundation (GCF) with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vanshree Puraskar for its experiments with bamboo, which is not a favourite among the farmers in Western Maharashtra. The award comprises Rs 1 lakh cash prize and a certificate for the NGO. "I am into engineering business and people expected me to continue with it. However, I read about the benefits of bamboo on the internet which attracted my attention. I started digging dip and found that though bamboo exists in Western Ghats, people are unaware of its business potential. Some parts in Konkan region are famous for it, but people in Western Maharashtra treated bamboo as useless," Ketkale said. He contacted experts from southern India, where bamboo is seen as a cash crop.
Later, he started using his own 10-acre land for planting bamboo. His efforts started gathering momentum around two years ago, when a handful of farmers approached him to help in planting bamboo at their fields. "Now, hundreds of people are taking part in the process and I am helping them to establish a chain from plantation to factory. I have started my own furniture factory by experimenting with bamboo, which will start operating in a month," Ketkale said. At present, people from several districts such as Pune, Solapur and Gadchiroli are making money using the information and plantation provided by GCF. "We provide complete solution to the farmers such as site selection for plantation, cultivation, sapling supply, after care, fertilizer, irrigation management, cutting, harvesting, marketing and transportation. This is helping the poor and middle-class people having small pieces of land to earn additional revenue. At the same time, the process is addressing environmental concerns as bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide," Ketkale added.
red   Ceramic Coatings Market to Reach US$1.7 Bn by 2018
    The US market for high performance ceramic coatings will grow at a CAGR of 6.6% to reach US$1.7 billion by 2018, up from US$1.2 billion in 2013, says a new report.
The availability of high-performance coatings has changed the internal specification patterns of certain industries such as cutting tool inserts, says the report, which has been newly updated.
The useful life of coated inserts is many times longer than the life of uncoated inserts. This, in turn, has reduced the cost of cutting tool inserts and at the same time increased productivity.
Similarly, use of ceramic coated components for aircraft turbine engines has resulted in construction of large aircraft.
Currently, auto enthusiasts are coating certain components to improve auto engine performance, while ceramic coatings have made it possible for certain large machine components to be repaired in situ.
High-Performance Ceramic Coatings: Markets and Technologies from BCC Research covers ceramic coatings delivered by thermal spray, physical vapour deposition (PVD), chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and other techniques, including spraying/dipping, sol gel, micro-oxidation, packed diffusion, ionic beam surface treatment and laser-assisted techniques.
red   Zimbabwe Tightens Copper Trading Regulations
    Home Affairs ministry secretary Melusi Machiya told the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security chaired by Zanu PF Mashonaland Central MP Damian Mumvuri that the government had reduced the number of licenced companies to five to ensure only credible companies were allowed to deal in copper. “We recently intercepted a truckload of copper from Zambia and we have reduced the number of copper licences because there is criminality involved,” said Machiya.
“People can steal copper and burn it and during the burning process they can come up with something different and difficult to trace and that is why we have taken those precautions,” he said. Machiya said copper had too many uses such as killing of insects and manufacturing of radiators and that was why people were interested in smuggling it.
“Companies like Zesa, TelOne and others who use copper have come up with off-cuts and we have said if there are too many off-cuts there is a problem and the process also requires licencing where reports are issued by the police, the Mines, Industry and Commerce ministries – to prove that the company is reputable and has not been involved in nefarious activities of smuggling of copper. Even if it is foundry, it must be registered with the appropriate ministry,” he said. He said other countries like South Africa also had very stringent regulations on copper where there were amount restrictions, adding that the issue of copper was an international problem and was susceptible to transnational smuggling crimes. “One would need authority to transform copper to anything else,” said Machiya.
red   Alcoa's $100-Million Expansion Plan for Aerospace Castings
    Alcoa has started construction on a $100-million expansion at its Alcoa Howmet investment casting operation in La Porte, Indiana, where it manufactures compressors and turbines for aerospace and industrial gas operations.
The 320,000-sq.ft. addition is intended to expand Alcoa's product range to include larger-dimension parts in nickel-based superalloys, as structural engine components for larger aircraft, including narrow- and wide-body commercial and military airplanes.
The plant's current range of products is supplied mainly to manufacturers of business and regional jets. Construction is expected to be complete by Q4 2015, and Alcoa noted it has already booked orders from customers that will support the anticipated capacity.
The new operations will increase Alcoa's capacity to supply engine parts for narrow-body aircraft, but also larger components than it now produces (up to 60% larger), which will encompass compression parts and airfoils for jet engines on wide-body jets.
Narrow-body commercial jets represent the highest volume product lines Airbus (e.g., A320) and Boeing (737), for which both OEMs are listing increasingly high volumes of orders and commitments, as new carriers emerge to serve rising demand in developing markets like China and India, and established airlines replace aging fleets and adopt newer designs capable of higher carrying capacity, longer range, greater fuel economy, and lower fuel emissions standards.
OEMs also report high demand for new wide-body aircraft, including the Airbus A350 and A380, and Boeing 747, 777, and 787 “Dreamliner”, reflecting many of the same market factors. “Aerospace growth is soaring and Alcoa is ramping up our downstream capabilities to capture that demand,” stated chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. “Applying our industry-leading expertise, this facility will deliver highly engineered parts our customers need to build some of the best selling engines and at high volumes.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Alcoa up to $4 million in conditional tax credits, indexed to the number of new jobs to be established by the expansion. Alcoa predicts the expansion will lead to 329 new jobs by 2019. Also, the city of La Porte approved tax incentives worth $7.1 million over a 10-year period for the new operation.
red   TSMC Solar Engages Ex-NREL CIGS Expert - Rommel Noufi
    TSMC Solar Ltd of Taichung, Taiwan, which was founded in May 2009 as a subsidiary of the world's biggest silicon wafer foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Inc (TSMC), has announced the engagement of Dr Rommel Noufi in a long-term consulting capacity, to augment its copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) R&D program. Noufi is a 33-year veteran of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he was principal scientist and led the team driving CIGS and CdTe (cadmium telluride) cell research. He has authored over 190 publications and has 8 patents. TSMC Solar's track record of R&D achievements include producing a TUV-SUD-verified 15.7%-efficient CIGS PV module using production equipment on its production line in mid-2013. The firm is currently expanding its annual capacity from 40MW to reach 120MW in fourth-quarter 2014. “Noufi played a key role in the development of CIGS as a leading photovoltaic material,” comments TSMC Solar's president Ying-Chen Chao. “The addition of his deep CIGS experience to our R&D effort puts us on solid footing to maintain our rapid improvement of module efficiency over the next several years,” he adds.
Noufi sees great potential for CIGS efficiency improvements. “CIGS efficiencies in the lab have reached 20.9%, with a clear path to achieving 23%,” he notes. “With its strong R&D, manufacturing and equipment engineering skill set, TSMC Solar is uniquely equipped to develop this potential and bring it into production.
red   AMAG Orders Largest Ecomelt Melting Furnace
    AMAG from Braunau, Austria, has placed an order with Hertwich Engineering, for the supply of an Ecomelt PS-250 melting furnace and a casting furnace. The furnaces will be installed at AMAG, Ranshofen works. The Ecomelt PS-250 is the largest aluminum melting furnace with preheating shaft built by Hertwich to date. The capacity of the furnace plant is roughly 76,000 tons per year. The billets are generated by a CCM casting machine (Continuous Casting Machine) which was supplied by SMS Concast. Thanks to the proven technology, Hertwich Ecomelt furnaces achieve a particularly low energy consumption and low metal losses. The specific energy consumption of the PS-250 is roughly 550 kWH per tonne at a melting capacity of up to 230 tons per day. The casting furnace has a maximum capacity of 120 tons. With its preheating shaft, the PS-250 melting furnace is capable of also melting scraps with organic impurities, using the inherent energy from the contaminants for preheating charged material and for heating the furnace.
red   Shiloh Industries Agrees to Acquire Finnveden Metal Structures
    Shiloh Industries Inc. said it has agreed to acquire Finnveden Metal Structures of Sweden in a deal that adds a European foothold and expands Shiloh's customer base. The acquisition, valued at about $56.6 million, is expected to close at the end of June. Shiloh said the Swedish company "represents nearly $180 million in annual sales revenue" and has about 800 employees. Shiloh, a supplier of lightweighting, noise and vibration products for automotive, commercial vehicle and other industrial markets, said the acquisition expands it capabilities with the addition of stamping and magnesium die casting, "a key growth segment and technology to address the lightweighting needs of automakers."
Ramzi Hermiz, president and CEO of Shiloh, said in a statement, "We are continually evaluating the lightweighting needs of the industry, identifying new technologies that address those needs, and integrating them into Shiloh's lightweighting portfolio." The acquisition adds to Shiloh stamping and magnesium die casting facilities in Poland and stamping operations in Sweden. The new additions "are a perfect complement to the company's existing operations throughout the U.S. and Mexico," according to a Shiloh news release. "Many of our customers are looking for suppliers who can support them globally, and given our current customer base, Europe is a significant market for Shiloh," said Brad Tolley, vice president of strategy and market development at Shiloh, in a statement. "As we looked to expand into Europe, what we found with (Finnveden Metal Structures) was a seasoned management team with strong leadership which is critical for future growth." Separately, Shiloh reported sales of $209 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2014, up 14.7% from $182.1 million last year. Quarterly net income rose to $8.1 million, or 47 cents per share, from $7.2 million, or 43 cents per share, in the like period a year ago.
red   High-performance Filtration from Ask Chemicals
    The use of efficient filter systems to remove contaminants and reduce turbulence plays a defining role in the quality of castings. The manufacturer of foundry aids ASK Chemicals provides a comprehensive filter product range for this reason. The specialist company from Hilden supplies highly efficient foam ceramic filters for steel and iron foundries. These filters are manufactured from a very wide range of ceramic materials such as pure zirconia, aluminum oxide – also carbon-bonded – silicon carbide and other special materials. The UDICELL™ and EXACTFLO™ filter systems support quality issues such as high metal purity as well as economic objectives through a reduction in additional work and a low rejection rate. In particular, the fully sintered UDICELL™ foam ceramic filters, produced from partially stabilized zirconium oxide (PSZ) are the first choice for use in steel and iron foundries. Thanks to their chemical, thermal and mechanical robustness, UDICELL™ filters have a very high load capacity and enhance efficiency during the production of steel castings and medium to large iron castings as well as in investment casting.
Attuned to customer-specific requirements, ASK Chemicals develops and produces tailored filters with special surfaces and seals. This ranges from the smallest designs for investment casting right up to top solutions for cast parts in the multi-digit tonnage range.
Foam ceramic filters are also used in other areas of industry, e.g. as kiln furniture for sinter furnaces, flameless burners or for filtering flue gas. ASK Chemicals also serves these areas of application with its highly efficient systems.
red   Audi's New Foundry Hits the Target
    Amid a spate of new capacity and capability, automakers and their suppliers are responding to demand and meeting their own objectives. There are many reasons that automakers add metalcasting capacity, but all of these generally amount to two necessities: the producers require more casting volume and better casting quality to meet changing demand. Each of these is on display among the many projects recently completed or still in progress for automotive foundries. Automakers were among the hardest hit by the global recession of 2008, and their casting operations were not spared in the downsizing that followed. But since the start of the economic recovery, automakers have been investing generously in new plants, new equipment, and new capabilities. For example, Teksid Group added production of compacted graphite iron cylinder heads at its foundry in Monclova, Mexico, putting it in position to supply CGI parts just as that lightweight alternative takes a new prominence in gas engine programs. Teksid is understood to be adding CGI at its Brazilian foundry, too.
In the North American auto industry, General Motors included its foundries in Saginaw, MI, Defiance, OH, and Bedford, IN, in the series of capital programs that eventually totaled more than $2 billion, to install production capabilities for its more fuel-efficient Ecotec engines. GM is also expanding its powertrain operations Mexico, including new melting and pouring capacity. Chrysler Group LLC initiated a $374-million program last spring at the Kokomo, IN, aluminum diecasting operation and the adjacent powertrain plants. Another $162 million was targeted to buy and retool a third transmission plant in Tipton, Ind. Transmissions were the point of Honda's $50-million expansion of aluminum melting and high-pressure diecasting capacity at Russells Point, OH. It initiated a third transmission assembly line nearby, and the new casting capacity will supply that program. The domestic metalcasting industry also has seen some considerable capital investment by automotive Tier suppliers: Magna International acquired an idle plant in Holland, MI, and remodeled it to produce high-pressure diecastings at a reported cost over $160 million. But, among the world's automakers the boldest investment recently was made by Audi AG, which took the 'clean slate' approach to addressing new demand. The luxury automaker has been increasing its global footprint in pace with its rising output, but operations at its main assembly plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, were not optimal for the production capacity that Audi intended. Thus, in 2012 the plan was put forward to build a new production center for diecast aluminum structural parts and hot-and cold-formed steel panels, at a greenfield site.
This is a compilation of news from Various dailies, magazines, Trade publications and press releases.