Metlab Sponsorship of the Penn Electric Racing Team – Season Wrap-Up

Metlab assisted the University of Pennsylvania  Electric Racing Team by heat treating one of their critical drive train components. Metlab also sponsors the Penn Electric Car Racing Team by providing heat treating and metallurgical consulting services. The team provided an update and overview of the season and is celebrating a successful program:
The Formula SAE Electric programs, the season ends in Lincoln, Nebraska at the annual FSAE Electric competition. This summer marked the 2nd year that our team, Penn Electric Racing attended the competition – still a very short time compared to many of the programs that are now marking their 20th+ year at the competition.
Last year, with our team’s first ever Formula SAE Electric vehicle – REV0, we earned a 7th place in the field of 20 electric vehicles. A placing we all we satisfied with given our standing as a first year car in the competition. We walked away having a number of aspects of the vehicle to improve before next season.

Throughout this past 2014-2015 season, we made the team-wide decision to design, manufacture, and test a brand new Formula SAE car from the ground up. We called it REV1 – our team’s second vehicle.

From the start of the season back in the fall of 2014, one of our foremost goals was the expansion of our team. Growing from our team of 10 students in our 2013-2014 season, we ended the 2014-15 season with 30 students. This expanded group gave us the ability to take on slew of new challenges from our vehicles initial design to its final testing. We took our initial vehicle’s design and evolved many of its most critical aspects – including its drivetrain, battery pack, chassis, and custom electronics.

At this year’s competition, the attention to detail on the safety systems and vehicle electronics allowed us to immediately separate ourselves from the field of 20 Formula SAE Electric vehicles by being the first electric team to pass both the Mechanical and Electrical tech inspections. We ultimately placed in 1st in 7 of the 8 dynamic and static events. Our dynamic performance on the track even placed us right amongst the times of some of the top placing gasoline Formula SAE teams. This earned us the 1st place overall award in the 2014-15 Formula SAE Electric Competition!

First and foremost, we would all like you to join in on this immense satisfaction that we’ve felt since winning the competition. To every Formula SAE team, sponsors are often the separating factor between a successful and unsuccessful season. Your help this season helped to prove why that is true. We truly appreciate your support this year in helping to bring home our school’s first ever Formula SAE victory.

We hope that with your continued support next season, this will simply mark our team’s first, with many more to come.

Metlab has a policy of providing heat treat and surface finishing services to various universities and colleges at no cost. Other projects have included the stress relieving of racing car frames for a race car prepared by Drexel University as well as heat treating aluminum rocket tanks for Boston University. It also, from time to time, hires interns and Co-Op students from local Universities, providing them with on-the-job practical experience to help further their professional education.

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Mark Podob to Receive ASM Philadelphia (Liberty Bell) Chapter William Hunt Eisenman Award

Mark Podob, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, and co-owner of Metlab in Wyndmoor, PA, has been selected by the ASM Philadelphia (Liberty Bell) Chapter as the 2015 recipient of the William Hunt Eisenman Award.


Mark Podob

This prestigious award is given each year by the Chapter in recognition of dedicated service to the Society, foresight, dynamic management, leadership, and promotion of the metals industry and metallurgical education.

Previous award winners have included industry giants such as Tinius Olsen II, former president and grandson of the founder of the mechanical testing company, Allan Ray Putnam, long time president of ASM, Quentin D. Merkham, former President of Ajax Electric Furnace Company, Ed. J. Dulis, retired President of Crucible Steel Research Center, George Bodeen, past president of Lindberg Heat Treating, John W. Rex, Bill and Roger Jones, founders and Presidents of Philadelphia based heat treat companies, Horace and Conrad Knerr, founder and past Presidents of Metlab, and James G. Conybear, Director of Operations and co-owner of Metlab.


Mark Podob is currently Vice President and co-owner of Metlab, a sustaining member of the ASM Liberty Bell Chapter and one of the largest heat treating companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region. A member of ASM since 1967, he will present a lecture entitled “A Unique Career in Heat Treating and Surface Finishing – Finding Exceptional Solutions to Heat Treating Projects.”

Metlab, which was established in downtown Philadelphia in 1928, is among the oldest continuing operating commercial heat treatment companies in the United States. The company was acquired from the founding family in 1998 by Mark Podob and James G. Conybear (FASM). Employing 18 people at the time of the acquisition and faced with significant financial and operational challenges, the company today has a staff of over 40 and has seen tremendous growth in customer base, markets served, sales volume and profitability. Spurred by the acquisition of two additional companies, John V. Potero in 2001 and Black Ox, in 2004 Metlab offers the broadest array of thermal and surface treatments in the area, and services an international marketplace.

Carburizing large gears in Metlab’s facility

While Metlab focused on heat treating large parts, Potero’s area of expertise in heat treating small parts and black oxide treatment. Potero also offered pick-up and delivery in its own vehicles. Black Ox was able to bring a customer base of over 1,000 companies and offered black oxide coating on ferrous, non-ferrous and brass machined parts and passivation in accordance with military specifications. These acquisitions plus product focus by Metlab, resulted in the success and growth of the newly, merged companies.


Example of Black Oxide on small parts

With a BE and MS in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from New York University, School of Engineering, in the Bronx, NY, Mark has held positions in the metals and materials field throughout his career, including metallurgist, technical director, product manager, sales manager and ultimately company owner.

Some of the more interesting components heat treated by Metlab have included gears as large as 10 feet in diameter weighing more than 40,000 pounds, 3.0 to 4.0 meter windmill bearing rings, tank turret races, down hole oil drilling components, and complex machined parts requiring just in time processing of large quantities of parts.


Main propulsion gear for submarine/destroyer nitrided by Metlab

Mark will share highlights from his career, tracing his path as an entry level metallurgist with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, Connecticut, to ultimately the owner of Metlab, and discuss some of the more unique heat treating and manufacturing projects that Metlab has worked on during his tenure with the company.

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Black Oxide – Process and Applications

Metlab offers black oxide coating service. This service is in addition to its current array of heat treating services.

Black oxide, which can be applied to a broad range of products, is classified as a conversion coating. It can be applied to ferrous materials as well as stainless steel, copper, copper based alloys, zinc, and sealed powder metal. It can also be used to blacken silver solder.

Black oxide imparts a deep, black, lustrous appearance to the parts being coated, and replicates the surface finish of the part. Although black oxide provides mild corrosion protection to the treated parts, it is primarily used because of its aesthetic properties.

When black oxide is applied to most materials, a top layer of oil, which is generally dry to the touch, wax or lacquer, is applied to enhance the corrosion properties. A further advantage black oxide has over other coatings, is that as a conversion coating, there is minimal buildup, which can generally be measured in microns.

Black oxide can be applied through either a hot process or a cold process. Metlab only performs the hot process as it is more cost effective, provides superior coverage over the cold process and offers enhanced corrosion protection.

Automated black oxide line. Parts move from tank to tank automatically using a robotic handler. (Photograph is courtesy of Hubbard Hall)

The process starts by fixturing the parts. Fixturing consists of hanging individual pieces from a wire, placing parts in baskets, or putting them in a tumbler, depending on part geometry. For example, large unwieldy parts are hung individually; machined parts, which could become damaged from excessive handling, are placed in baskets, and small parts like nuts, bolts and washers are generally tumbled.

Chain driven motorized tumbler for holding small machined parts like fasteners to be blackened.

The fixtured parts are first cleaned by submersion in an alkaline bath, and then rinsed in clean water.  If necessary, parts are moved to an acid bath, and then rinsed again in clean water. For blackening ferrous pieces, parts are placed in a bath of proprietary blackening solution. The blackening solution, which contains sodium hydroxide, nitrates and nitrites, converts the surface of the material into magnetite (Fe3O4). Hot black oxide for stainless steel parts consists of the same steps, except for the proprietary blackening bath.

Because stainless steels have a tightly adhered oxide layer, it is critical to break through this layer in order to ensure that the surface consists of free iron for conversion. Although breaking the layer can be done chemically, it is generally done through the use of glass bead blasting or sandblasting because those two methods are more efficient. Oil is typically applied to the blackened surface to impart a high degree of luster, unless a matte finish is desired, as in the case of medical instruments.

However, regardless of the material being blackened, all of the cleaning and rinsing is done in warm baths, up to 160°F, and the blackening at 265°F to 285°F.

The final step in the process is applying oil to the heated parts. This oil, which is generally evaporative and dry to the touch, seals the black finish by “sinking” into the applied porous layer of the black oxide. It is the oil that provides the corrosion protection the work-piece.

Assortment of jaws, black oxide finished and oiled ready for assembly.

The end result – Cable cutters with black oxide finish on the jaws for enhanced aesthetics as well as improved corrosion protection

(Photo courtesy of Electroline Inc.)

The black oxide process has many advantages over other processes. These include:

  • Economics – Black oxide is far less expensive than painting, electroplating or powder coating.
  • Productivity – blackening can be done to large batches of parts by tumbling or fixturing, making it ideal for processing small parts.
  • Size Change – There are no significant dimensional changes to a black oxide part. The layer thickness depth can be measured approximately one micron.
  • Specifications – Black oxide conforms to several different military specifications, including MIL-DTL-13924, as well AMS 2485, ASTM D769, and ISO 11408.

Black oxide finishing is used for a variety of industrial applications in widespread industries. Some examples include:

  • Retail: Store displays and fixtures.
  • Automotive: Cans for oil filters, numerous under the hood fasteners
  • Electrical: Wire strippers and cutters
  • Home / Garden: Tree toppers – jaws and clipping tools
  • Gearing: Small gears for tiny timers and electrical switches
  • Firearms: Gun components, shotgun shell magazines
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Metlab Receives Two Contracts to Heat Treat Tank Components

Metlab has received two contracts from defense contractors to heat treat tank components. The contract is part of an ongoing multi-year program supported in part by US funding. Metlab was selected for this program due to its unique heat treating capabilities for processing large components.

The first contract was received from an Israeli defense company to nitride turret gear races. These gears, with teeth on one side that mesh with smaller gears, and a bearing race on the other allow the tank turret to rotate 360°. The gear race is made from a European steel similar to Nitralloy 135M. Each gear race is over 8′ in diameter. The parts are masked with to allow certain non-working areas of the gear races to be machined after heat treatment. Parts are heat treated in one of two of Metlab large furnaces, the largest measuring 15′ in diameter by 12′ deep, and 20 or more rings can be accommodated in a single 120 hour cycle.

Merkava IV main battle tank used by the IDF forces in Israel. The Merkava tank has been in production since 1979 with the fourth generation model manufactured since 2004.

Load of tank turret gear races after completion of the nitriding cycle shown ready for removal from Metlab’s large diameter pit furnace. Flaky material on the outside and top surfaces of the gear races is stop off paint used to keep these surfaces soft.

On the current tank turret gear race program, Metlab has heat treated over 1,200 parts. Nitriding was selected as the preferred process over flame hardening, due to its ability to produce consistent, accurate hardening results with no component distortion. Since the change from flame hardening to nitriding, there have been no field failures of any of the components heat treated by Metlab.

The furnaces used for nitriding the tank turret gear races were originally designed and manufactured to nitride ship and submarine gears for the U. S. Navy. Typical drive gears measure over 10′ in diameter by 10′ tall, and weigh in excess of 12,000 pounds each. Over 50 of these gears were nitrided on the original project.

Typical main propulsion drive gear for a submarine/destroyer nitrided by Metlab, shown at the end of the heat treatment cycle, ready for removal. Post heat treatment processes include inspection to ensure that hardness and case depth requirements have been met as well as sandblast cleaning to remove stop off paint from all protected surfaces.

The most recent contract received by Metlab is from a domestic supplier for heat treating tank track connecting pins for the same Israeli defense company. Parts are manufactured from 4140 steel hex bar and measure about 3/4″ in diameter by 14 3/4″ long. The parts connect the individual tank segments together forming a continuous loop which rides on the sprockets. They are heat treated to a hardness of HRC 30 – 36 and must be held straight within 0.015″ over the complete length of the bar.

The contract is for over 150,000 connecting pins; Metlab delivered about half of that quantity in 2014, and the balance is due within the first half of 2015. In addition to the above two contracts, other parts processed for tanks include the induction hardened tank sprockets, road wheels and idler drive gears.

Finished track connecting pin heat treated by Metlab showing threads and plating in place.

Tank tracks in place engaged with sprocket and road wheel. Each track segment is connected to the adjacent track segment using a connecting pin heat treated by Metlab.

Metlab has for many years processed numerous other military products including induction hardened tank sprockets, road wheels and idler drive gears, and has been a significant part of the military support effort.

 

 

 

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New Vacuum Furnace Added For Large Part Projects

As Metlab continues to grow the company is adding more capacity and fleet services to accommodate customers. Recently the company added a 26 foot Box Truck that can haul up to 26,000 GVW.  This is in addition to several other trucks and vans that allows the servicing of routes throughout an area within a 100 mile radius of the heat treat facility as well as parts of Maryland and New Jersey for pickups and deliveries. The new box truck is also a strategic addition to the company to compliment the amount of projects for Metlab’s new Vacuum Furnace installation.

The new VFS – HL34 furnace was added in August to accommodate the demand for heat treating stainless and tool steels and high temp nickel based alloys. This vacuum furnace compliments an existing smaller furnace and has a work zone approximately 24″ wide x 48″ deep x 24″ high.

The increased capacities allows for processing new materials and a wide range of part sizes.
• Tools and dies
• Stainless Steel Tubing
• Aerospace jet engine parts
• Medical parts
Currently Metlab is running three shifts on the new vacuum furnace.

Metlab offers vacuum heat treating of stainless steel, nickel base super alloys, tool and die steels, as well as parts made from other materials like titanium and copper based alloys. The equipment used by Metlab has an all metal (molybdenum) hot zone in a stainless steel water cooled chamber, high vacuum diffusion pump system, current proportioned power supply for controlled heating, state of the art microprocessor controls to allow for automatic temperature and vacuum control, and repeatability. The furnace is rated for a maximum 2400°F operation, at a vacuum level of 10-5 Torr. Applications for the furnace include bright annealing and hardening of tool and die steel molds and dies, heat treating stainless steel medical instruments and implants like hips and knees, age or precipitation hardening of 17-4 PH, 15-5 PH or 13-8 Mo Stainless Steels, and other processes where clean, scale and decarb free surfaces are required.
Benefits
• Nominal surface oxidation or discoloration
• Minimal part distortion
• No post cleaning operations
• Near finished, machined shape prior to treatment
Vacuum Furnace Applications:
• Hardening
• Annealing
• Normalizing
• Solution Treating up to 2400°F

The vacuum furnace operator and Metlab’s electrical engineer have been to Ipsen University training in Rockford, Illinois for operations and maintenance training. Ipsen U is a practical course for building and refreshing knowledge of vacuum thermal processing equipment specifically the VFS furnace that Metlab just acquired.

 


Ipsen U addresses all levels of experience and is geared specifically for the two Metlab employees who attended.  They were encouraged to ask questions about their furnaces and applications, and some of the maintenance and technical issues that they encountered on equipment startup. The class they attended followed a format that allowed them to interact with several Ipsen maintenance and technical experts and have their specific questions answered as well as hands-on operation of similar furnaces and maintenance procedures.

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Penn Electric Racing: Heat Treating the Drive Train Spindle

This past spring, Metlab assisted Penn Electric Racing by heat treating one of their critical drive train components. Penn Electric Racing is part of a colligate international competition; similar to an Indy stock car race where the teams must design and build a car from the ground up. The design and build must be completed in nine months in order to enter the competition. Metlab sponsors the University of Pennsylvania’s racing team each year and provides free heat treating and also manufacturing consulting services to the team by connecting them with various material and machining suppliers. The racing team prominently features a Metlab sticker showing their support on the car.


Students on the team design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style race cars. Restrictions are placed on the car frame and engine so the students’ knowledge, creativity, and imagination are tested. Four cycle engines up to 610 cc can be turbocharged or supercharged, or up to 85 kW of electric motors add a new dimension to the challenge of engine design. The vehicles are judged in three different categories: static inspection and engineering design, solo performance trials, and high-performance track endurance.
“This is the first time we had a running car for the Electric SAE competition” comments Tommy Sutton of the Penn Electric Racing Team. “However, it was not able to race due to technical inspection issues. Instead we ran the car on an open track. For next year, we hope to optimize the car for performance and safety so that it will be able to pass inspection, compete, and place highly among the field.”

Other members of the team include team captain Adam Farabaugh, Manfred Reiche, John Doyle, Foster Collins, Parth Patel, and Aedhan Loomis, among others. Out of twenty teams that entered the 2014 Lincoln FSAE Electric competition, only three passed the stringent regulations for the competition.

The race events include:
• Auto Cross
• Endurance Race
• Skip Pad
• Acceleration

“Our goal was to design the drive train such that the rear spindles could bear both braking force as well as the motor torque” Sutton elaborates. “We wanted to have the brake rotor integrated into this system. The design and implementation became a very complicated task. The spindle was internally manufactured by the team and brought to Metlab for heat treatment. The design parameters called for a final hardness of HRC 40 – 42. The parts came out well with minimal distortion, hence very little post-machining required. Consequently the installation of the spindles went well.”

Metlab has a policy of providing heat treat and surface finishing services to various universities and colleges at no cost. Other projects have included the stress relieving of racing car frames for a race car prepared by Drexel University as well as heat treating aluminum rocket tanks for Boston University. It also, from time to time, hires interns and Co-Op students from local Universities, providing them with on-the-job practical experience to help further their professional education.


Sutton summarizes, “I just wanted to express everyone’s thanks for Metlab’s sponsorship of our team this year. It was an enormous success for us with our first Formula SAE Electric car, and a tremendous learning opportunity for us to expand upon for next year. We are all confident that our car next year will be able to place at the top of the podium given our current platform we have established this year. The spindles worked excellently for us! The heat treating was pivotal for their success.”

 

Posted in Heat Treating, Heat Treating Camshafts, Heat Treating Drive Train Spindle, Heat Treating Leaf Springs, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heat Treating Small Parts

Metlab Heat Treating is able to process a wide variety of parts in small sizes. The company is well known for large part heat treating; however the company maintains a long history of small parts applications.

Watch the Small Parts Video to see more examples and capabilities:

Here are some Small Part examples along with the treatment process:

Low Carbon Steel Pins – Case Hardened

8620 Steel Bushings for Carburizing

420 Stainless Steel Bolts for Vacuum Heat Treating

Stainless Steel T’s, Solution Treat and Age Harden

Stainless Steel Fittings

Steel Files: Heat Treated and Black Oxide Finished

Automatic Timer Small Gears: Hardened & Tempered

4340 Clutch Hubs: Heat Treated & Black Oxide

Grey Cast Iron Slips: Induction Hardened to HRC 50

Crane Wheels: Flame Hardened To Toughen Rims

 

Posted in Black Oxide, carburizing, Flame Hardening, Heat Treaint Small Parts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outsourcing Your Heat Treating Processes

One of Metlab’s customers in the South shut down their heat treat equipment for major repairs. The furnaces are expected be down for about four weeks. Their product is gears and pinions, ranging from ¼ pound to about 50 pounds in weight, physical size about 2” in diameter to 60” in diameter, 1” to 24” thick. They also make pinion shafts, and their customers are industrial manufacturers of motors, transmissions, hand tools and a general cross section of power transmission equipment.


When not in a shutdown mode, this manufacturer offloads their over-capacity to Metlab as well as their large size gears which they cannot process themselves, particularly nitriding and carburizing and hardening of large power transmission gears. During their shut down, they off load their entire production to Metlab because of our furnace capacity, flexibility, quality and ability to process multiple batches quickly.

Metlab essentially serves as their in-house heat treat source. While many customers think of Metlab as a large gear heat treat company, this is not the only area of expertise as evidenced by the ability to step in and assume this role for customers who require smaller part processing.
During this shut-down period, Metlab is expected to heat treat about 4,000 pounds of product a week for this customer, processing 4320, 8620, 9310 carburizing grades of gears and pinions with requirements for shallow effective case depths ranging from 0.010 – 0.020” to deeper case depths up to 0.100 – 0.125” case depths.


Some of these gears and pinions require masking to prevent areas which require post-heat treatment machining from becoming hardened as well as cryogenic processing and multiple tempering as part of their process. In addition, a portion of the product processed will be straight hardening and tempering of 4140 and 4340 gearing.

To expedite the heat treating process Metlab receives the purchase orders and packing slips from the customer as soon as the parts are in the customer’s loading dock, allowing for the detailed process specification and shop travelers to be prepared ahead of time, so that the parts are married up with the receiving paperwork when they arrive.

This allows the work to be scheduled well in advance accommodating the just-in-time work flow required to keep the production flow going. Likewise, shipping documentation, including packing slips and certifications for case depth, hardness and microstructure are e-mailed to the customer’s receiving and quality control department so parts are received in advance, minimizing waiting time for paperwork to catch up to the appropriate personnel.

This customer is located about 750 miles away from Metlab, making it a one day point for shipping, and as the cost of freight is minimal, the economics are strongly in favor of outsourcing the heat treating.

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New Truck Fleet and Expanded Service Areas

Metlab, a leader in the supply of heat-treating and surface treatment services, based in Philadelphia, announces the acquisition of a fleet of new vehicles and expanded pick-up and delivery service.

Metlab currently operates:

•    26’ box truck, which is 25,000 GVW
•    24’ box truck
•    Access to stake body truck

The company has invested in new vehicles to provide extensive, reliable service:

•    A new 16’ box truck- 12,500 GVW

•    A new 1-ton van. To kick-off our Baltimore runs and complement our overall pick-up and delivery service.

Daily pick-up and delivery is available to companies in the following regions:
•    Philadelphia,
•    Montgomery,
•    Bucks County regions
•    New Jersey

Pickup and delivery is now available Twice A Week for:
•    Allentown
•    Bethlehem
•    Baltimore and surrounding areas
•    Delaware
•    Northern New Jersey

There is typically no charge for our pick-up and delivery service. Drivers are equipped with two-way radios and cell phones to allow for immediate, last minute requests for service.

Due to our large volume shipping we receive excellent freight rates from common carriers and are often able to arrange freight either by LTL or flat beds pass along prepay and add freight charges, passing along significant savings to our customers.

Customers either issue us purchase orders, or we provide them with a pad that they can keep in the shipping and receiving department for their use to write up individual orders for heat treating and surface finishing.

Metlab provides:
•    Hardening
•    Tempering
•    Carburizing (case-hardening)
•    Nitriding
•    Annealing
•    Black oxide
•    Induction/flame hardening
•    Stress relieving
•    Cryogenic treatment and other thermal processes.

Materials processed include all ferrous and non-ferrous materials. Heat treating is done in strict accordance with military specifications.

Please call our toll free number, 1-800-319-7359 to schedule a pick-up.

Mark Podob
Vice President, Marketing and Sales
Metlab
1000 E. Mermaid Lane
Wyndmoor, PA 19038
215-233-2600 Ext. 232
(F) 215-233-5653
mpodob@metlabheattreat.com

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Metlab Expands Into Maryland & Delaware With Large And Small Part Heat Treating Services

When customers think of Metlab, they think of large parts heat treating. But Metlab has a long history of heat treating small parts as well. With the acquisition of the John V. Potero Company  in 2001, moving it from Philadelphia a 10,000 square foot facility in downtown Philadelphia to the Metlab campus in Wyndmoor, forming Metlab-Potero and then the subsequent merger of Metlab-Potero into Metlab in December. 2009. No other heat treating company in North America has such an extensive array of heat treating furnaces, processes, and capabilities.

With furnaces ranging in size from 2 feet in diameter to 2 feet long up to 15 feet in diameter by 12 feet deep as well as up to 22 feet long, parts can be heat treated that weigh a few grams to large pieces up to 50,000 pounds.

Here are some examples of small parts that are processed in Metlab’s facility:

Processes offered include:

  • Hardening and tempering
  • Case hardening
  • Nitriding
  • Carbonitriding
  • Nitrocarburizing
  • Stress relieving
  • Black oxide
  • and more…

Recently with the addition of new vehicles and a pick-up and delivery service, Metlab has extended the company’s presence into the Maryland and Delaware markets to provide heat treating and processing services for small part needs of the manufactures and component companies in the region.

Metlab is well known for capabilities to handle very large, industrial and military parts for a variety of treatment processes. The company also works with many customers who have small parts and components for a wide variety of applications. The company is experienced in specialized packaging and shipping requirements to send the part on to the next process or to the end customer.

Call for to discuss your small part needs and specifications. Metlab is able to give you a quote and delivery schedule to meet your project deadlines.

Posted in Black Oxide, carburizing, Heat Treaint Small Parts, Heat Treating, Nitriding | Tagged | Leave a comment