Demand for Austempering Remains at Record Levels

Our Mission is to Grow the Pie for Austempering……and BOY is the pie growing!  Demand for Austempering remains at record levels.  Producers up and down the supply chain are straining their capacity, resulting in a flattening out of US manufacturing growth.  With certain parts of the economy still in recession, manufacturers have been slow to pull the trigger on capacity-expanding capital expenditures.  Orders in the capital equipment business have now increased, but the entire US manufacturing industry is the bottleneck right now……Applied Process Inc. included.  It will take several months to right-size capacities with demand but accelerating growth in US manufacturing is expected in 2012.


In a longer-term view, SAE Off-Highway Engineering magazine reported on recent comments by John Deere’s Chairman and CEO, Samuel Allen.  Mr. Allen stated that, “A steadily growing population will result in at least 30% more people to feed, shelter and clothe in the next 40 years.  This must be done with basically the same amount of land, water and other inputs such as fertilizer”.  Just think of that….a 30% increase in per-acre productivity.  Mr. Allen further stated that, “Largely as a result of productivity advances, the typical US farmer today feeds over 150 people; six times more than in 1960”.  In the 1930’s approximately 40% of the US population was directly employed in the production of our food.  Today, less than 2% of the US population is feeding the US and exporting food worldwide.  So dramatic productivity increases are not new to US farmers and ranchers.


John Deere is the leader in the US agricultural equipment industry.  The Agricultural equipment industry, worldwide, will play a central part in future productivity gains in food production.  But whether the equipment is green, red, yellow or blue; Austempered Steel, Carbo-Austemperedsm Steel, Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), Carbidic Austempered Ductile Iron (CADIsm), Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) and Locally Austempered Ductile Iron (LADIsm) processed by the Applied Process companies and our affiliates will be getting the job done.

Manufacturing Surge Evident at GIFA: More Growth in Store for Austempering

The quadrennial metal casting exhibition, GIFA, was held in Dusseldorf, Germany June 21 through July 2.  Coincident shows included NEWCAST, THERMPROCESS and METEC.  This massive show covered 12 convention halls with 900 exhibitors (54 from North America) and 53,000 visitors from all over the world.  The European technical organization CIATF sponsored 54 technical papers.  Applied Process Inc. and its affiliates ADI Treatments, ADI Engineering, HighTemp, AP Suzhou and Jilin ADI sponsored a booth in the NEWCAST pavilion.  Hundreds of visitors stopped by our stand to discuss potential applications of Austempering, with specific interest in ADI and CADI.  (They’re discovering that Ausferrite is AWESOME).

The worldwide mood in metal casting and related manufacturing is one of cautious optimism.  European markets have recovered to over 80% of their pre-recession business levels, the US and India are experiencing best ever business levels.  Australian manufacturing is suffering.  Chinese manufacturing has recovered fully in sales levels but is being hit with a high currency valuation, high energy prices and double-digit wage inflation.

We were pleased to announce at NEWCAST the upcoming commissioning of the production Austempering line at Hightemp’s Pune facility.  Pune is the automotive manufacturing capital of India and scores of Indian visitors to our booth expressed unvarnished optimism for the near-term growth of manufacturing in India.

ADI Treatments (UK) hinted at the commissioning of their planned German sister operation, ADI Technik, perhaps in 2012.  This would put leading edge Austempering technology in the heart of Europe where demand remains strong for high-tech conversions to ADI from steel and aluminum castings, weldments and forgings.  

The feedback from Washington this week was grim, with very few new jobs being created (overall) and national unemployment rising to 9.2%.  In contrast, since the recession, US manufacturers have added hundreds of thousands of jobs and all the feedback from North American manufacturers points to growth at least through the middle of 2013.  That’s good news for Austempering, which is already breaking new records.  We are fulfilling our mission to “Grow the Pie” for Austempering…..and we’ll continue to do so.

On another note: Hat’s off to our Australian friends for another fantastic Aussie Boat adventure on the Rhine River near Dusseldorf’s Alt Stadt (Old City).  They sure know how to work and play hard.  They are now even more familiar with Hostile Duck Iron and our website.  Several Australian foundries have, in fact, joined the US-based Ductile Iron Society ( ).  They include: Graham Campbell Ferrum (parent company of ADI Engineering), Intercast & Forge and Trigg Brothers Foundry.

News FLASH: BAINITE is all the rage

It’s in the technical press wall-to-wall.  It even made the Wall Street Journal.  FLASH BAINITE is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  A Mr. Cola, from Washington, Michigan has discovered that Bainite has excellent properties.  (We’ve been telling you that since about 1962).  As it turns out, Mr. Cola has either patented, or is applying for patent on methods to produce a mixed-Bainitic microstructure in a quick, continuous process.  The results, examined and reported on, by experts from THE Ohio State University (we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) showed that steel with a predominantly Bainitic microstructure had higher strength and better ductility than conventionally processed steels.  Sound familiar?  (Visit us on LinkedIn at “Bainite is Better” for real-world examples).  The implication is that if one could produce Bainitic sheet steel it would be stronger and have better formability than either pearlitic or Martensitic steel sheet.  I’ll bet it does.  Mr. Cola also claims that Flash Bainite is also very weldable.  Perhaps, but we’re not certain the patent covers the suspension of the laws of thermodynamics…….and the resultant heat affected zone. 

Go get ‘em Mr. Cola.  We will watch with interest as you commercialize your Austempering Flash Bainite process (as we’ve been at it for almost five decades)…….and if you need moral support you’ll find us at .  We would like to know who your PR people are…..MAN, they’re good!

Growing the Pie....and then some.

At Applied Process we’re all about Austempering.  In fact, our mission is to “Grow the Pie” and we appear to be succeeding.  Here in the US, while those working in construction and government are still seeing the worst of times, many of us in manufacturing are currently enjoying the best of times.  Times may be too good.  Up and down the manufacturing supply chain everybody is adding shifts, adding machines and STILL falling behind current demand.  The demand for Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), Carbidic ADI (CADI), Austempered Steel, Carbo-Austempered™ Steel and even Austempered Gray Iron (AGI) has accelerated right past the pre-recession level.  Manufacturers in nearly every segment are finding demand that is outstripping capacities.  Right now agriculture and manufacturing are carrying the US economy.  Let’s hope for a good dose of political gridlock so our elected officials can’t jump in and “fix things”.


I sometimes hear people complaining about today’s work ethic.  When I look at our workers at Applied Process I see people who are kicking butt and taking names 24-7….and I’m really proud of them.  I wouldn’t trade them for a million bucks and 10 first-round draft picks.  At Applied Process we are passionate people providing innovative Austempering solutions.


This past week I had the good fortune to visit P.F. Markey in Saginaw, Michigan ( ), a supplier of industrial tools, inserts and machining supplies.  Jim Terry and the crew at P.F.Markey have a unique business proposition.  They guarantee you that you will save 10-20% on tools if you install their tool vending machines.  No crib. No crib attendant. Complete traceability and custom reporting.  Awesome.


One of life’s truths: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Wayne Gretzky.


Just a thought: if life expectancy in the US is increasing by one year per decade and we have a pending demographic and economic train wreck with our social programs, why don’t we just raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security by one month per year….forever.  No change in contribution, no change in benefits, problem solved…….or is that too simple?

Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI)- Breaking News

In our workaday lives at the Applied Process family of companies we get paid to Austemper heat treat people’s steel and ductile iron parts.  What we really do for a living is to work with customers to replace one material/process combination with a better-faster-cheaper one.  The material we’re most proud of is Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI).  ADI is just good metal.  So when we break someone’s testing machine with a new ADI application its smiles and high-fives all over the office.


Just recently a major, international automotive manufacturing company was testing ADI against an incumbent steel forging for a critical suspension component.  The forging survived an average of 300,000 cycles on a certain fatigue rig… that became the bogie to beat.  They put the ADI component on and gave up at 1.1 million cycles.  So, they raised the load and broke the testing machine.  (Cha Ching!).  The solution?  ADI replacement parts for the testing rig!  Problem solved.  Hostile Duck Iron wins again!


Interesting quotation by Bob Prosen; “Great companies change before they have to”.


If you are LinkedIn, consider joining our group “ADI Mongers”.  For all that’s new in Austempered Ductile Iron.

ADI- A Green Alternative

This Thursday, 21 April 2011, I have the honor to speak to the Detroit-Windsor Chapter of the American Foundry Society ( ).  The topic of my presentation is, “ADI- A Green Alternative”.  Did you know that nearly 25% of a vehicle’s life-cycle energy is embodied in its manufacture?  When you then consider battery and battery/hybrid vehicles the life cycle energy contained in the vehicle’s manufacture can rise to nearly 50%.  Austempered Ductile Iron is a low energy material that can cost effectively replace aluminum and steel weldments, castings and forgings.  Following the lead of the Architectural community I investigated the concept of “embodied energy”; the energy contained in a component from mining it, forming it, machining it and finishing it; through recycling…..all inclusive.  The results showed a clear correlation between the embodied energy in a component and its price.  Going further, one can calculate the embodied energy necessary to produce the components out of different material/process combinations to achieve the same mechanical results.  In this presentation I will use case studies to demonstrate the concept of embodied energy and to compare Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) to other, competing technologies.  Join me at Vladimir’s for some good food, good friends and an ADI talk……what could be better?

Growing the Pie- The 115th AFS Casting Congress

The Applied Process team is just back from the 115th American Foundry Society Casting Congress in Schaumburg, Illinois and it was a good one.  Everybody is bouncing back nicely from the Great Recession and demand for castings is rising smartly.  Demand for Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) is no exception.  Visitors stopped by the AP booth and shared their experiences (and Dr. Kathy's home-made cookies).

Numerous attendees were actively looking for equipment to increase the throughput and productivity of their metal casting plants.  At the Hoyt Memorial Lecture, Denny Dotson, of Dotson Iron Castings ( ) raised the curtain a bit on Saugus 2, a collaborative "foundry in a box" that is slated to be the first greenfield cast iron foundry in the US since 1974.......principal customer, location and collaborators to be announced…..but he claims they’ll be “pouring iron in 2013”.

Kathy Hayrynen chaired panels and presented on the AFS Cast Iron Committee's activities while I presented the paper "ADI- A Green Alternative" in both design and marketing sessions.  Vasko, Justin and Henry visited with customers both existing and potential.

Discussions abounded about conversions from steel and aluminum castings, weldments and forgings to ADI……and we’re up to the challenge.  I don't know yet what the final attendance was but the papers were well attended, the show traffic was steady and the mood was positive.  It’s great to see our metal casting industry smiling again.

A Hub of ADI Activity

Every once in a while you get the opportunity to work collaboratively with a company in a way that stimulates both concerns to grow.  Call it synergy or what you like.  One of those companies for me is Walther EMC where Chris Walther and Phil Fensel have built a company on sound engineering and a straight forward business plan; to build wheel-ends and associated components for heavy vehicles.  Their cornerstone product, Austempered Ductile Iron Dura-Light® Hubs replace premium aluminum hubs at equal weight.  (Huh? Iron hubs can replace aluminum at equal weight?).  But, SURPRISE, this little company, tucked on a hillside in Franklin, Ohio USA is not what it would appear.  Inside robots load and unload components in automated machining cells.  Satellite stations have various new products under development.  If you think what they make now is cool.  You ain’t seen nothin yet. .

Welcome to the AP Blog!

Here in the 21st century it's not good enough to just be good at Austempering.  We need to be able to communicate at the speed of light (well, the speed of sound, anyway).  So this blog site will allow me to share with our employees, our customers and the rest of the e-community things that affect our business, our markets, our country and the world.

At Applied Process we generally go with what we know: Austempering.  We are passionate people providing innovative Austempering solutions that make iron and steel tougher, stronger, lighter, quieter and more wear resistant.  We don't do any of that in a vaccuum (metaphorically speaking) and our business is affected by the things we hear and read about every day.  Within this blog I'll try to provide creative insight on things as I observe them.  It might be business.  It might be technology.  Or it might just be something that I think needs to be said.  I hope you'll enjoy it.

You can also check up on the crew by visiting our Facebook sites: "Austempering" and "Austempered Ductile Iron" or our LinkedIn sites: "ADI Mongers" or Bainite is Better" or our websites:,,

After all we are the HOME of Hostile Duck Iron.

John R. (Chip) Keough, PE, FASM