Oak Ridge Laboratory Partnership
QC Forging and Oak Ridge Lab Partnership Results in Increased Production for 2012
Cincinnati-based metal components supplier Queen City Forging has recently announced increased part production after a research partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory created major efficiencies for the aluminum forging process. This process innovation has resulted in a production increase to nearly 300,000 aluminum turbocharger impellers by the end of 2012 that meet the strict requirements of the automotive industry.
This opens the door for the automotive industry to replace titanium impellers with the more cost-effective aluminum impellers developed from a rapid Infrared heating process which far outperforms traditional forging methods.
“Through our partnership with Queen City Forging, we discovered with a rapid heating technology, we could get grain refinement and thus increase properties that would enable utilization of aluminum for a turbocharger application for diesel engines,” says Craig Blue, PhD, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Office & Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who lead the research with the metal components supplier.
This patented process reduced average heating time from two hours in a convection oven to just 15-20 minutes in an Infrared oven. The new forging method has also proven to quadruple productivity while consuming one-third less energy than traditional methods. Maintenance on the Infrared ovens also has advantages over conventional ovens – usually resulting in only hours instead of days of downtime.
“We couldn’t believe it,” says Rob Mayer, President, Queen City Forging. “The electric Infrared aluminum forging process was far superior to what we got with the conventional gas fired convection ovens. Our products have proven to be faster, cheaper and better.”
This tremendous increase means big business for the metal components supplier. Not only has the company built and installed a second Infrared conveyer oven, but they have expanded production from several thousand to several hundred thousand impellers annually.
Both Oak Ridge and Queen City Forging received an R&D 100 Award for their revolutionary work in Infrared heating. The metal components supplier was also honored with an Edison Award from the state of Ohio for the developments in forging technology.
“The partnership with Oak Ridge was critical to our success,” says Mayer. “Our research findings have gained quick acceptance in the marketplace, and we hope to partner on future innovations.”
Picture: One of two Infrared aluminum forging ovens built and installed at Queen City Forging Company (Cincinnati, OH) as part of a successful research partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The ovens result in significant production efficiencies and less waste.