EMTEC Award

EMTEC AwardQueen City Forging applies rapid InfraRed heating to aluminum forgings with enhanced physical properties: improved fatigue life, fine grain aluminum metallurgy, and increased forging hardness. Queen City Forging uses IR heating technology to reduce energy consumption and lower costs for aluminum hot forging.

Queen City Forging uses custom forging: impression die forging, closed die forging, upset forging, drop forging, press forging, and hammer forging to produce metal component parts for original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

The Edison Materials Technology Center has awarded a funding grant for this research project in August 2004.

Queen City Forging's research project wins R&D's 100 award and funding from EMTEC

Queen City Forgings research project, Development of the Hybrid Rapid Infrared Superheating Furnace for the Treatment of Aluminum Alloys, has been awarded $100,000 funding grant by The Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC) through their Core Technology Program. QC Forge is team leader of the project in collaboration with Ohio University, Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and The Forging Industry Association. This award to fund ongoing research follows the recent 2004 R&D 100 Award, in which Rapid Infrared processing of aluminum forgings has been recognized as one of the top 100 new technologies of 2004 by R&D Magazine in recognition of the years most significant technological innovations in research and development for industry.

The R&D 100 award was given for Advanced Heating System for High-Performance Aluminum Hot Forging. This system was developed by Howard Mayer of Queen City Forging Company, in association with the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Forging Industry Association of Cleveland, Bostons Northeastern University, and Infrared Heating Technologies of Oak Ridge.

This project fits EMTEC Goals in that it utilizes a combined effort of industry, academia, and government resources to develop a new manufacturing method advancing technologies and processes. According to the Ohio Department of Development, the aluminum industry in Ohio employs more than 6,000 individuals, pays $218 million in annual wages and produces $2.3 billion in shipments. Ohio ranks fourth among the states in the size of its industrial base. Ohio is a focus for aluminum smelting and the production of aluminum engineered castings, extrusions and forgings that are vital to the nation's economic and security interests. The transportation industries, supplied by products of the aluminum industry, further comprise a significant segment of the manufacturing base in the State.

The total potential return on this investment will certainly be hundreds of millions of dollars, at minimum, for Ohio industries, once investments in new technologies are made and these new processes brought on line. Energy and process savings alone will justify an investment in the new rapid heating technology, promising reductions of 75-80% in energy. QC Forge intends to have production equipment ready to offer processing of aluminum forgings on a commercial basis after the end of the project.

The project will involve research into the heat treatment of aluminum forgings, using Rapid Infrared Heating technology, to demonstrate the potential for improved metallurgy, reduced energy requirements, and cost savings, in the manufacture of aluminum products. The goal will be to demonstrate the capabilities of Rapid IR processing and plan commercialization efforts based on research outcomes.

The EMTEC award will be used to fund research efforts at OU and ORNL over the next 16 months. In-kind financial contributions to the project will be made by QC Forge, and Ohio University. Funding of the construction of a Rapid IR Superheating Solutionizing furnace will be a significant portion of the industry in-kind contribution to this project by QC Forge.

Forgings will be produced in QC Forge facilities with ORNL and OU personnel participating to assist and monitor operations. Both QC Forge and ORNL will undertake heat-treatment of forgings based on their differing equipment capabilities, with other team members assisting and monitoring operations.

QC Forge is a member of the FIA and is a partner with OU in the FIAs Magnet School Program. This program enhances opportunities for cooperative efforts in education and research by encouraging partnerships between forging companies and universities. QC Forge and OU, with FIA support, presented the project to EMTEC in a competitive review, held in April 2004. Grant Awards were announced in August 2004.

The projects Phase 1 goal is to demonstrate improved quality, reduction of energy costs, and shortened lead times in the production of a wide variety of heat treatable aluminum alloy forgings. With construction of the first Rapid IR furnace for the solution treatment of aluminum alloys, we intend to initiate commercialization of this new rapid heating technology.

In Phase 2, more extensive work toward commercialization is contemplated, extending research to other grades of aluminum alloys as well as initial research into process applicability to titanium alloys. Team members believe the results obtained thus far in aluminum, to be extended and confirmed in the work proposed are applicable to the production of fine grained titanium alloys. Research confirming this idea is the intended goal of a Phase 2 proposal.
 

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