In 2003, for example, Allegheny Technologies Inc. committed 12 percent of its $1.9 billion in annual sales to the automotive market. The percentage dropped to nine in 2008, as total overall sales boomed to $5.6 billion. ATI's three most important markets are aerospace and defense at 28 percent, up from 23 percent; chemical process industries, 23 percent, up from 11; and electricity generation at 16 percent, up from 11. Emphasis is on differentiated specialty products made of titanium, steel and other metals. "ATI is more resilient to economic downturns than at any time in the past," says L. Patrick Hassey, chief executive officer of ATI, which is based in Pittsburgh. What recession? Allegheny Technologies Inc. is building a new advanced specialty metals hot rolling and processing mill in Brackenridge, PA, pending local approvals. "Our flat-rolled products segment has been repositioned over the last several years with an improved cost structure and product mix and a diversified global market focus," says CEO L. Patrick Hassey. According to ATI, the mill will be the "most powerful in the world" for production of nickel-based and specialty alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, zirconium alloys and other specialty flat-rolled products. Bands will be rolled up to 78.62 inches or 2m wide. The mill will supply products for a variety of end products, including Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for the U.S. Dept. of Defense.
A stainless alternative
EnduraMet® 32 Stainless is a new grade of high-quality, low-nickel reinforcing bar positioned as a lower-cost alternative to stainless alloy 2205 and AISI 316LN. EnduraMet® 32 Stainless can be considered for bridge decks and parapets, barrier and retaining walls, anchoring systems, chemical plant infrastructure, coastal piers and wharves, pilings, dowel bars, welded-wire mesh and tie wire, and many other applications where excellent corrosion resistance and superior strength are required. When imbedded in concrete, the new rebar alloy has corrosion resistance and strength comparable to that of the well-known premium quality materials. The new product is made by Talley Metals, a subsidiary of Carpenter Technology Corp. of Wyomissing, PA.
Lightweight solar frames Hydro Aluminum's Extrusion is supplying custom products for use in the trough frames to the Palma del Rio II solar power plant, located in southern Spain, and the Majadas plant in Extremadura, east of Madrid. Palma del Rio II will utilize 9,153 frames, while the Majadas construction will use 8,700. Hydro will ship nearly 15 million lb of aluminum for the two projects during a 10-month period. Both facilities are being built by Acciona, a Spanish energy company. Extruded aluminum frames provide rigidity, light weight, durability and tight tolerance. Hydro's will be produced in the company's Phoenix plant, fabricated at its Guaymas, Mexico facility and assembled on site in Spain. Each frame is about 26 ft long and 12 ft high, holding parabolic mirrors that work with a computer-controlled system to track the sun. The mirrors focus the sun's rays on a tube filled with heat-transfer fluid. The heated liquid generates steam, driving a turbine that creates electricity.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.