Alpha Sigma Mu Fellow Award presented to Dr. Kathy Hayrynen

Dr. Kathy Hayrynen, FASM, the Director of research and development at Applied Process, Inc. – Technologies Division, has been selected as a recipient of an Alpha Sigma Mu Fellow Award for the class of 2015. She was presented with the award October 5, 2015 at the Materials Science & Technology Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Alpha Sigma Mu (AΣM) is the international professional and academic honor society for the field of materials science and engineering. Dr. Hayrynen was inducted into the society as an undergraduate at Michigan Technological University where she served as President of the founding Chapter.  More recently, she has served a member of the Board of Directors of Alpha Sigma Mu. 

The Greek letters AΣM stand for the Art and Science of Materials. Founded in 1932 by the faculty of the Metallurgical Engineering Department at Michigan Technological University, Alpha Sigma Mu has since expanded to include all materials science disciplines. AΣM is now on 40 campuses and is expanding both domestically and internationally. 

Congrats Dr. Kathy!

It's a jungle out there ... but, hey, the dollar is strong!

As 2015 winds down there is a consensus in them metalcasting industry regarding market conditions:

If you are making parts for railroad or light vehicle production, you are in pretty good shape.  If you are making parts for the agricultural equipment or mining equipment markets, you are struggling.

The first part of that statement could change wildly with the results of the 2016 elections.  Also, the Ag business is cyclical and has had some good years lately. The point is that there are ups and downs, and your humble blogger thinks it will be late 2016 before things pick up, at least in Ag. 

That could change if somehow the US dollar weakens … which would help domestic manufacturers until the overall market picks up ... which brings us to a neat article in the Wall Street Journal.  I hate linking to something that has a paywall, but this is important.  The article states:

Even as iron ore prices have collapsed, Brazilian giant Vale SA is building a $16 billion iron-ore operation that it touts as “the biggest project in our history and in international mining.”

How? Because its costs are collapsing as well.

From South America to Australia, plunging currencies in mineral-rich nations are helping some companies expand their mines—and contributing to a glut of production that has saturated markets and driven prices down.

The cost of producing many commodities is “dropping like a stone,” said Goldman Sachs’s head of commodities research, Jeff Currie, who describes it as a “negative feedback” loop. The dynamic helps explain why commodity busts can be so long-lived.

But for the world’s top miners, which operate mostly outside the U.S., currency declines have dulled the pain of lower commodity prices. Over the last year, the dollar has gained 58% against the Brazilian real, 22% against the South African rand, 21% against the Australian dollar and 16% against the Canadian dollar.

Companies receive U.S. dollars for the gold, iron ore and coal they dig up. But they pay wages, electricity and many other expenses in local currency.”

The numbers in that last paragraph are staggering.  Domestic manufactuers need to pay people in US dollars, and the dollar is very strong.  That makes it harder than normal to compete against offshore suppliers.

Let me explain … no, there is too much, let me sum up.  If you are not economically inclined, let’s limit this comparison to two identical casting suppliers.  One is domestic and the other is offshore.  Let’s say they share the business at a US-based OEM.  For the sake of the exercise, let’s remove all other differentiating characteristics (input costs, piece price, freight, delivery time, quality, etc.).  The article states that “Over the last year, the (US) dollar has gained …” against many other currencies (let’s say 20%).  That means the offshore supplier could slash price by 10% over a year before and still make an additional 10% profit on parts going to the US compared to a year before.  That’s great for offshore suppliers, but no so great for the US casting supplier.

Yes, Americans as consumers benefit from low prices and a strong dollar.  That said, there are consequences for this state of affairs.

October is National Apple Month!

Did you know that October is National Apple Month? According to the US Apple Association apples are grown in every state in the continental United States. Top-producing states include Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia.

Here at Applied Process we have some staff favorites including: Honeycrisp, Macintosh,Gala,and Granny Smith apples. Apples are delicious, whether consumed raw or baked into pies, cakes, and other desserts.

Since heat treating is our thing here at Applied Process we thought we would mention how apples react to temperature changes during processing (ahem, cooking). What exactly happens to an apple when you’re making applesauce, for example? Usually applesauce is made by cooking down apples in a bath of liquid; typically apple juice or apple cider. The heat does two things: it begins reducing the water from the added liquid and it breaks down the fiber and sugars in the apples which changes their texture from firm to soft, enabling the easy mashing of the fruit to make a delicious fall treat! Kind of like how we turn ductile iron from good to great with our austempering process!

So go out and enjoy some apples this weekend in whatever form is your favorite!

Does your machine have ADI Inside?

The most innovative equipment makers produce their machines with an eye toward optimizing component design.  That means parts with low cost, reduced weight, and a shortened supply chain.   That often means parts designed in ductile iron and Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI).  Equipment like this has ADI Inside

Our friend Chris in Iowa is having some work done at his home.  He writes, “They completed pouring of garage floor on my new house. I have been paying close attention to equipment with ADI and ductile castings.”  Officially, we can neither confirm nor deny that there are ductile iron and ADI parts in these photos.  But there are.

This is better than watching the Super Bowl. 

 Look out for the ADI Inside logo!  Check out



Foundry Practice on TV

Some pics that are better late than never

Last March I was watching English soccer (oh, yes … try it and you will like it).  A commercial came on for Ram Trucks.  There were some foundry workers shown in the commercial, which is not something you see every day.  

To be sure, our friends at Ram Trucks know a thing or two about ADI.  Even so I about had a stroke when I saw they guy add all of the inoculant at once at the five-second mark of the video. I will chalk it up to artistic license. You can watch the video here: .

I also found another more comprehensive version here:

I really liked this one because it showed nobake molds where the wash is being lit off.  That means they are alcohol-based washes.  This is awesome, and this is rarer these days than at one time.  Love it.

Columbus Day/ National Farmer's Day

Happy Columbus Day!

 Did you know that it is also National Farmer’s Day? This is a day to recognize and pay tribute to all the farmers today and throughout history. October is the perfect month to celebrate National Farmer’s Day as it is near the end of the harvest. Our farmers will be able to rest and enjoy the beautiful weather and the upcoming holidays at the end of the year.

 At Applied Process, Inc. agricultural equipment represents a significant portion of our business. Typical applications in the industry include hitches, control arms, ground-engaging parts, and wear-resistant components for harvesters.  A combine is an amazing piece of machinery, and it is inspiring to watch the harvest brought in this time of year.


Slowdown in Manufacturing and some good stuff, too

Slowdown in Manufacturing

This chart is from the Wall Street Journal from Saturday.   This chart needs no explanation.

AG looks flat

This excerpt is from page 64 of the September 2015 issue of Power Transmission Engineering magazine (link unavailable): the “whole farm sector is under the weather - and in North America that includes Deere, AGCO, and CNH – all of which cite excess inventory and lower used prices.  None see a rebound in 2016.  And neither do we.”

AP University last week

Last week AP hosted 31 attendees from across North America, and even a few from Europe, at the 8th session of AP University.  The class learned about designing metal components in ductile iron and austempered ductile iron (ADI).  AP University passed the 150th attendee threshold with this session.  Many thanks to those who served as guest presenters and those who made the trip. 

Purchasing Success and Photography

AP University Purchasing of Ferrous Heat Treatment Seminar

We held this class yesterday in Livonia and it was a big success.  Twenty-nine buyers and engineers attended and learned all about how to buy heat treatment services to get what they ordered at the best deal.  We will do it again in September 2016!

Look at this guy

If you work in metal manufacturing you will recognize these green pants.  That's no hipster trying to be clever ... that's a retired steelworker buying produce at the farmer's market in Bridgeville, PA.  Simply an outstanding fashion statement.

Another ADI bottle opener serving with honor

Ben from Indiana sends us this photo of his Hostile Duck ADI bottle opener.  For doing so he gets a free lunch on Applied Process. BTW, Ben has another austempered item in the photo ... I am 99% sure those familiar blue-handled pliers are austempered steel.  



This Blog is Back! August 10, 2015

Thank you for your patience.  This Blog is back and I hope you will find it beneficial!

Purchasing of Heat Treatment

Here is something you can really use.  I recently had the privilege to co-author an article for Great Technology Magazine.  The article (check it out here) is an effort to “provide the crucial questions you need to ask gear heat treaters” if you are a buyer.

Justin Lefevre of Joyworks Studio and Dr. Kathy Hayrynen of Applied Process did most of the heavy lifting.  I hope you like it!

More Purchasing of Heat Treatment

AP is hosting the second annual “AP UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON PURCHASING OF FERROUS HEAT TREATMENT” seminar on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, in Livonia.

This is not a class on the glory of austempering (although it is, indeed, glorious).  Rather, it is a non-commercial effort to train Purchasing professionals on how to get what they ordered and how to get the best deal for a variety of types of heat treatment.

AP has invited some very knowledgeable heat treat professionals to give presentations at the event.  It will cover these topics:

·         Heat Treat Fundamentals for the Non-Metallurgist (Dr. Kathy Hayrynen, Applied Process, Inc.)

·         Purchasing of Austempering and Marquenching (John Keough, Applied Process, Inc.)

·         Purchasing of Induction Hardening (Brian Jacobs, AjaxTOCCO Magnethermic)

·         Lunch and tour of AP

·         Purchasing of Quench & Temper, Carburizing, and Carbonitriding (Kelly Brummett, Operations Manager, Specialty Steel Treating, Inc.)

·         Purchasing Normalizing, Annealing, and Stress Relieving (Jim Mikoda, Bluewater Thermal Solutions)

There is no charge to attend.  Contact AP’s Cindy Duman at +1-734-464-8000 for more information.