Fall 2005 Issue 5
In This Issue
Metals and Money
Metal Tech: Cryo-Quenching of Steel Revisited
APCOS™ Technology Cuts Sulfur for a Perfect Enamel Finish
1 + 1 = 140
Ask the Expert
Where to Find Us
Meet This Quarter's Metal Head: Thomas Mebrahtu
Useful Web Links
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
—Vincent Van Gogh
You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at
For accurate forecasting and planning, it helps to understand the movement of key industry indices. The following graphs compiled by Air Products' economists illustrate three-year trends for utility and metals pricing as well as industrial production. We'll continue to keep you updated once a quarter.
Industrial Production Indexes
Utility Pricing Metrics
Key Metals Prices
Do cryogenic treatments of steel really increase wear resistance and toughness? To help put the debate to rest, Zbigniew Zurecki, Air Products Research Associate, recently evaluated various heat-treatment schedules, including a cryo-quenching step for processing of transformation-hardenable steels. Zurecki sought to determine if cryogenic treatments of tool steel increase wear resistance and toughness through the interplay of three effects: completing martensitic transformation (elimination of retained austenite); promoting precipitation of fine, nano-sized carbides; and imparting compressive, residual skin stresses.
The work confirmed precipitation of what turned out to be low-alloyed carbides at cryogenic temperatures with extended holding time. The feasibility of such a "cryogenic aging" has been the subject of a lively debate in the metallurgical community during the recent years.
Lower the sulfur to improve the surface finish. It had been an elusive goal for Aga-Rayburn's iron foundry in Coalbrookdale, England. The foundry's output, used mostly in kitchen ranges, usually underwent an expensive vitreous enameling process. Impurities arising from the presence of sulfur could spoil the costly finish.
By converting to Air Products' APCOS™ technology for firing cupolas with oxygen and natural gas, Aga-Rayburn has lowered sulfur levels below its 0.14% target. Coke consumption has fallen by 38%. Additions of pig iron and manganese have been eliminated, reaping further cost savings. The improved surface finish that results from having lower sulfur has even eliminated the need for the castings to be annealed before the vitreous enamel is applied.
After a combined 140 years in the global metals industry, Air Products and Surface Combustion have seen it all. And we'd like to share that knowledge and insight with you to help you reduce operating costs and enhance the quality and competitiveness of your products.
As a result of the marketing agreement between our companies, today we're in a position to deliver an integrated, complementary portfolio of offerings covering a variety of industrial gases, services, technologies, atmosphere generating equipment and process-related know-how.
Since 1915, Surface Combustion has been a leading manufacturer of thermal systems equipment used in metals processing and heat treating, with over 250,000 thermal systems installed worldwide in all areas of the metalworking industry. Meanwhile, Air Products has supplied industrial gases to customers who use this equipment through its PURIFIRE® atmosphere systems for more than 50 years.
That's over 14 decades of combined experience, ready for you to tap.
"The bottom line is that a joint marketing approach allows both companies to better serve our mutual customers," says Meri Lazar, metals market manager at Air Products, which supplies nearly 35% of the worldwide market of industrial gases used in the metals processing industries. "We look at our customers' operations from their perspective and strive to offer a broad range of solutions and technologies to satisfy their needs."
"Many times our customers require a combination of
industrial gas and generated atmospheres for their specific metallurgical
application or for economic reasons. This relationship allows Surface
Combustion to offer the best approach, taking these factors into account,"
Several customers have already benefited from our work together. We can help you determine the best supply option for your unique atmosphere needs, whether it's industrial gas based or generated gases. Let us help you improve your bottom line. For an assessment of your operation, give us a call at 800-654-4567, code 337.
What causes stainless steel to turn green in a continuous belt furnace?
For a complete evaluation and audit of your process, give us a call at 800-654-4567, code 337. Also learn whether you're following best practices in atmosphere supply and other operational areas by assessing your process at www.metalsassessment.com.
Send us your question.
Each quarter, we'll select the most challenging question to
win a $100 gift certificate. Congratulations to
Our representatives will be at the following trade shows. We hope to see you there to discuss your metals processing needs.
Thomas Mebrahtu is a resident of the world, having lived in India, Cameroon, Eritrea and four separate places in the United States. His global experience and extensive academic background make him an ideal fit as Air Products' Global Center of Excellence Lead–Metals Processing and Atmospheres. Mebrahtu uses his 15 years of specialized industry expertise to develop high-value, proprietary offerings for global industrial gas applications in the metals treatment industry. Mebrahtu and his team of metallurgists, materials scientists, and heat treating and machining experts work closely with their marketing and commercial colleagues to develop technology-based solutions to help customers succeed.
Mebrahtu holds a Ph.D. in chemistry–surface science from Texas A&M University and an executive master's in management of technology from the University of Pennsylvania. He has conducted post-doctoral research in surface chemistry and reactivity of binary and ternary alloys. He is also a member of ASM International, Materials Research Society, AVS Science and Technology Society, and American Chemical Society.
Mebrahtu has been published over two dozen times in technical journals to date and holds two patents. He has shared his extensive knowledge and passion for the industry at 19 conference presentations. All of this adds up to one incredibly knowledgeable guy ready to give customers a competitive advantage.
Surface and Materials Science isn't the only thing Mebrahtu is passionate about. He resides in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, but considers Asmara, Eritrea his hometown. An African immigrant, Mebrahtu is an active member of the African and Eritrean-American immigrant communities in the Greater Philadelphia area as well as an advisor for Reel Voices, Inc., an organization that promotes the use of the creative arts to express and document the African cultural experience.
You can request more information or any of the documents referenced
in this issue by calling us at