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Editorial

Test & validate

By Gretchen Salois

November 2017 - “In peace, prepare for war” is an Army slogan practiced by all military branches. In this month’s cover story, “At the ready”, FFJournal canvasses the advancements for use of superalloys, additive technologies and efforts to educate and train fabricators working on everything from ship hulls to tank armor.

Preparing for the worst means highlighting the work of those spearheading breakthrough advancements in both metallurgical research and fabrication.

When it comes to defense, every technique and material used is vetted through multiple stations and it can take years to confirm the use of a new metal alloy or processing approach.

“Defense and aerospace tend to be archaic designs at times,” says Faustson Tool Corp. Vice President Heidi Hostetter. “We think of it as cutting edge but you can’t just change specifications on parts and move on to the next thing. It’s a long process from design to production and once you have locked in the processes to produce these parts, you have flow down requirements that need to honored throughout the life of the part.”

Such long processes entail many stages of testing and certification before being used to arm and protect soldiers, confirms Alfred Grein, executive director for the Center for Systems Integration at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research and Development and Engineering Center. “Introducing any new alloys into our systems would first be vetted through a series of laboratory and physical testing for validation,” he assures, noting that the military is currently reviewing how fabrication techniques like friction stir welding can be used to lightweight its systems without compromising protection. This fabrication technique has been around for a few years, but has yet to become a standard procedure.

Materials scientists at NASA are working to break down metal alloys elementally and can now examine superalloys at the atomic level. “We have computing power and databases at our disposal … that we didn’t have before,” says Timothy Smith, a materials research engineer at NASA.

Meanwhile, the use of superalloys in more applications is contingent on available supply—that’s where NioCorp’s proposed Elk Creek, Nebraska, mine and processing facility comes in. Use of superalloys like scandium and niobium to strength armor and reduce corrosion is limited due to lack of domestic supply, says CEO and President Mark A. Smith.

At specialty alloys producer Carpenter Technology Corp., Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Brian Malloy believes production of high-strength alloys will continue due to their superior fracture toughness and improved corrosion resistance. Carpenter is also working with the supply chain to develop “next-generation materials that are easier to process.”

The Department of Defense continues to receive revamped weapons and vehicles such as Lockheed Martin’s JASSM-ER missile and General Dynamics’ Abrams M1A2 tanks. To keep Navy ships at the ready, Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS Exoskeleton lightens the load for shipfitters who repair and recondition vessels before they sail again.

NASA’s Smith says, “It’s an exciting time to be a material scientist.” That could also be said of those toiling away in the metallurgical and fabrication realms as industry innovation makes its way toward reinforcing and strengthening our troops and weapons systems. FFJ

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


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