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Executive Summary: TITANIUM 2012 Conference
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Executive Summary: TITANIUM 2012 Conference

World Industry Demand Trends Frank L. Perryman, president and chief executive officer, Perryman Co., Houston, PA, served as the moderator for the World Industry Demand Trends panel, which typically is the “must-see” presentation at the annual titanium conference. Dawne S. Hickton, vice chairman, chief executive officer, and president of RTI International Metals, Pittsburgh, reviewed forecasts in commercial aerospace. Citing statistics from a Boeing market outlook (2012-2031), its expected aerospace carriers will be retiring significant portions of their fleets during the next 29 years.

Hickton’s presentation indicated that the aerospace carriers will need 34,000 new airplanes of which 41 percent will replace older, less fuel-efficient aircraft, while 59 percent of the deliveries will reflect the growth in emerging markets. The two trends driving the need for new aircraft, as identified in Hickton’s remarks, reflect current market dynamics and concerns expressed by the global aerospace sector. Airlines, in recent years, have felt the pinch of higher fuel prices and have put a premium on jets that provide enhanced fuel efficiency, in order to reduce operational costs.

A reduction in fuel consumption will be achieved by new generations of high-efficiency jet engines and a reduction in aircraft weight; two solutions that favor the continued use of titanium alloys. Fleet age, especially among North American carriers, is also driving the need to purchase new commercial jets. Citing numbers from Airline Monitor, Hickton said American and Delta have a significant percentage of their fleets that are 20 years and older—44 percent for American and 39 percent for Delta.

As for growth in emerging aerospace markets, once again this is a factor that calls for titanium components used in the new generations of long-distance aircraft. These new markets, inspired by the growth of the global economy, reflect the growing demand for expanded business and pleasure travel to destinations in China, Brazil, India and South America. Hickton’s presentation also raised questions concerning the use of titanium in commercial aerospace. She identified aluminum lithium alloys, near-net-shape materials and composites as potential competitive threats to challenge titanium as a material of choice for aerospace components.

For the aerospace industry, she said questions remain whether there will sufficient future financing and access to capital markets to support the near-term business plans of global carriers, a concern that involves the ongoing, lackluster economic environments in the Euro Zone and the United States. In addition, referring to an RTI study, she said there should be a continued consolidation trend in the aerospace supply chain for the delivery of titanium. Recent examples of this consolidation include Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s acquisition of forging and investment casting manufacturer Ladish Co. Inc., and RTI’s purchase of Remmele Engineering Inc., a company that specialized in precision machining of titanium.

Joining Hickton on the World Industry Demand Trends stage were other leading titanium industry executives. James M. Buch, executive vice president, commercial, Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET), Dallas, examined titanium demand for aerospace engines. Buch said that, despite some program delays, which may impact near-term shipments, engine backlogs remain strong and large high-bypass turbofans will continue to spur titanium demand, at least through 2018.

Michael G. Metz, president, VSMPO Tirus US, Highlands Ranch, CO, delivered an overview of demand for titanium in the Russian Federation. Metz said that total Russian demand for titanium, estimated at 7,000 metric tons in 2010, will grow to just over 12,000 metric tons in 2014 and nearly 14,000 metric tons by 2017. Aerospace, including engines, airframes and rocket manufacturing, consumes about 60 percent of the titanium produced in the Russia. Other major application areas include general industry, shipbuilding and power generation.

Zou Wuzhuang, the board chairman of Baoji Titanium Industry Co. Ltd. and the chairman of the China Titanium Association, provided an outlook for the titanium industry in China. Wuzhuang indicated that, for the first half of 2012, the output for titanium mill products in China reached 28,000 metric tons, which represents an 8-percent increase compared to the same period in 2011.

Plate and sheet represents nearly half of the mill products total for the first six months of 2012, followed by bar and forging products (34 percent) and pipe and tube (nearly 15 percent). Meanwhile, titanium sponge output in China registered 32,000 metric tons for the first half of 2012, nearly 9 percent below the comparable 2011 period. Wuzhuang cited a decline in global sponge prices as the main reason behind the decrease in Chinese sponge output.

Shozo Nishizawa, chairman of the Japan Titanium Society, offered his outlook for Japan’s titanium industry. Nishizawa said Japanese mill shipments for the first half of 2012 totaled 10,000 metric tons, compared with just under 20,000 metric tons for all of 2011. Japan’s sponge production capacity, as of February 2012, registered nearly 70,000 metric tons. The sponge production in Japan in 2010 was just above 50,000 metric tons. Gilles Dussart, chief operating officer, VALTIMET, Boulogne, France, discussed key drivers of titanium consumption in industrial markets such as power generation and desalination markets. For 2012, titanium demand for global industrial markets will reach 22,500 metric tons. Dussart said demand is expected to exceed 25,000 metric tons in 2013 and reach 30,000 metric tons by 2017. Richard J.

Harshman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Allegheny Technologies Inc., Pittsburgh, discussed titanium applications for military aircraft, along with land-based and sea vehicles, which will continue to impact future titanium demand. World Industry Supply Trends Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET), Dallas, sponsored World Industry Supply Trends speaker panel, which was moderated by Henry Seiner, TIMET vice president, planning and materials, highlighted trends in sponge and scrap, as well as the status of key industrial metals used for titanium alloys.

Seiner’s presentation, “A Melter’s Perspective on Developments in Raw Materials,” noted that the titanium scrap and sponge markets have “disconnected.” A 10-year review of the titanium scrap market shows “extreme volatility,” he said. A slide in his presentation stated “scrap was extremely attractive in 2009; sponge become more desirable during 2010-2011; and scrap is again attractive in 2012.”  “A year ago, this panel heard about tightness in the feedstock ore markets,” Seiner stated in his preview notes prior to his presentation at the conference. “This phenomena unfolded as expected during late 2011 and early 2012.

But the scrap market of late 2011 and thus far in 2012 has been much weaker than most market participants expected.” Using history as a guide, he anticipated future volatility for scrap and sponge, with the possibility of periodic shortages for global supplies. Jeff Carpenter, senior manager, raw material procurement/supplier management for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, shared Boeing’s views on recycling titanium scrap.

The aerospace manufacturer, he said, is implementing a “scrap-revert” strategy with suppliers. The mission, he said, is to create a steady, closed-loop stream of segregated titanium from its supply base and internal Boeing sources. “No scrap left behind” and “all scrap segregated and treated like gold” are among the guiding principles of the initiative.

For Boeing, the benefits of the program include the ability to keep aerospace scrap in the aerospace market while stabilizing the lead time, cost and market fluctuations of titanium. In addition, the scrap-revert strategy will help ensure a reliable supply of raw material for titanium mills. There were just 20 participants when Boeing launched the program in 2009. Carpenter said it’s expected there will be more than 200 companies involved in the scrap-revert program by 2014.

Dr. Nagesh Chaganti, who heads the Titanium and Magnesium Group of Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) in Hyderabad, India, was not in attendance at this year’s event but Mr. Seiner offered Dr. Chaganti’s presentation reporting on the nascent commercial production of titanium sponge.

According to Chaganti, India possesses large reserves of ilmenite, which is rich in TiO2 content, located along its southern peninsular coasts. India has the capability for ingot melting and the production of titanium alloy mill products, but has had a gap in the titanium “ore-to-product” cycle—namely, titanium sponge production. Chaganti said India traditionally has not had a widespread appreciation for the long-term benefits of industrial titanium applications, due in part to sharp fluctuations in prices and uncertain international supplies of material.

As a result, DMRL, through the development of Kroll process of magnesium reduction of titanium tetrachloride, has established India’s first commercial titanium sponge plant (a capacity of 500 metric tons per year) at KMML, Kerala, a facility that was commissioned in February 2011.

Because of this new sponge capability, India stands ready to increase its usage of titanium in a wide range of industries, according to Chaganti. Terrance T. Perles, president of TTP Squared Inc. and MoTiV Metals, LLC, outlined factors that influence the supply and demand fundamentals of the molybdenum and vanadium markets as they relate to titanium alloy production. Perles said that, while the steel industry dominates demand for molybdenum and vanadium, titanium and superalloy production accounts for 3 and 4 percent, respectively, of annual consumption.

High-purity oxides of molybdenum and vanadium are consumed by titanium and superalloys as master alloys that carry stringent quality requirements. Even though titanium is a minor consumer of these oxides compared with the steel sector, Perles cautioned that, for the titanium industry, the master-alloy supply chain is fragile, with a limited number of qualified producers and oxides.  

TTP Squared Inc. is a consulting firm serving producers and consumers of vanadium, while MoTiV Metals is a North American sales agent from metals producers. Perles established the two companies in 2010 and both are based in Pittsburgh. He previously held executive positions at vanadium producer Stratcor. According to an online news report dated March 30, citing data from the U.S. Geological Survey, China is the world's largest producer and consumer of molybdenum.

A separate online article stated the vast majority of the world’s vanadium comes from three countries: China, Russia and South Africa. Vanadium enhances titanium’s superior strength-to-weight ratio, a critical property in aerospace applications. Jacko Preyser, general manager, sales and marketing for global mining giant Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT), discussed the titanium feedstock market. Preyser pointed out that RTIT is the world’s largest producer of high-grade feedstock, such as rutile, which is preferred by producers of titanium sponge.

He estimated RTIT commands a 50-percent share of high-grade feedstock sales. As China and emerging economies continue to drive the growth of titanium consumption, demand is expected to outstrip current levels of feedstock—both online supply and committed projects—by 2014, according to Preyser.

As a result, he warned that, due to this projected supply/demand “inflection point,” there is an urgent need to develop new sources of feedstock for the titanium industry. Distinguished Guest Speakers Michael L. Warner, director, market analysis, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Seattle; Eric Zanin, the senior vice president and head of materials and detail parts procurement for European aerospace giant Airbus; and Benoît Brossoit, senior vice president, global operations, United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Hartford, CT, served as the three distinguished guest speakers at TITANIUM 2012. VSMPO AVISMA sponsored Warner’s presentation.

He concurred with information in Hickton’s presentation, saying 34,000 airplanes will be needed during the next 29 years to replace the aging commercial airline fleets, representing a value of $4.5 trillion. He pointed out that, of the overall total, single-aisle jets are the largest category to be ordered—23,240 aircraft. However, in terms of dollar value, single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft will be about equal—just over $2 trillion each. As for Boeing’s business, he described the 777 as “the preferred choice,” with 1,379 “firm orders” and 1,039 deliveries to 63 customers. Regarding business so far this year, Warner said Boeing had 719 net orders through Sept. 25.

There were 380 deliveries through the end of August, with a backlog of 4,057 aircraft. Titanium is the material of choice for precision jet engine components; structural assemblies in the airframe and landing systems; forged-wing structures; fasteners, springs and hydraulic tubing; and engine nacelles. In addition to the 777, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, as well as Airbus’ A350 and A380, scheduled to be commercially unveiled in 2013-14, all have significant utilization of titanium. Warner said Boeing sees a “weak” economic outlook through 2013, with most of the global growth being spurred by the emerging economies.

The European Union’s mounting sovereign debt, the tepid economic environment in the United States, volatile jet-fuel prices, and concerns regarding Iran, all stack up as question marks likely to affect the global economy in the near term. Despite the overall economic uncertainty, Warner called upon the titanium industry to remain competitive to garner aerospace applications. “Both near-term and long-term, we see a strong and growing aviation market,” Warner said. “Airline traffic is forecasted to grow at a 5-percent annual rate over the long term, with cargo traffic projected to grow at 5.2 percent per year.” Zanin, whose presentation was sponsored by RTI International Metals, Inc., agreed with Warner’s positive outlook for commercial aerospace, saying air traffic would double during the next 15 years. As of Aug. 31, Airbus had “firm orders” of 11,863 jets and a “firm” backlog of nearly 4,460 aircraft. The “intelligent airframes” of the Airbus A350 and A380 will continue to see increased utilization of titanium for landing gear, pylons, door frames and other critical components.

Titanium will account for 14 percent of the A350 and 6 percent of the A380. TIMET sponsored the talk by Brossoit, who earlier this year was named UTC vice president of operations. According to bar charts shown during his presentation, he said UTC Aerospace would double its demand for titanium by 2020, compared with 2010.

It would secure capacity through long-term agreements and building partnerships with qualified suppliers, as well as supporting the global supply chain structure. Renewable Energy Paul Gipe, author, advocate and renewable energy industry analyst, outlined renewable energy initiatives that have the potential to create business opportunities in the international titanium industry. The over-arching thrust of Gipe’s presentation (“Renewable Revolution—How Renewable Energy is Remaking Electricity Generation”): that the renewable energy “revolution” is well underway and being demonstrated as a reliable, real-world solution to produce electricity, especially in Europe and Asia.

For titanium, “select,” potential business opportunities worth exploring would include components for wind turbines as well as geothermal and biomass energy generating systems. Given its inherent properties of high strength, light weight and corrosion resistance, titanium would be a contender to retrofit existing energy-generating systems or be specified as a material of choice on new systems. Gipe promoted the idea of a mixture of renewable systems—a combination of solar panels and wind turbines—as the best approach to provide energy for a given region or community.

He attempted to dispel several “myths” attached to renewable energy technology. Gipe pointed out that renewable energy is not “cheap,” in terms of development costs or up-front capital investment; however, it is affordable and worth being considered as a solution for generating power. In addition, he said renewable systems can be scaled up and brought online relatively quickly, compared with the typical timeframe needed to complete a traditional power-generating plant.

Trends that define the renewable energy revolution, according to Gipe, involve smaller, more localized ownership, storage, distribution and consumption of power.  Interviewed prior to TITANIUM 2012, Gipe strongly underlined the point that renewable energy is now a viable technology that must be evaluated on a commercial scale; that the current revolution has moved well beyond a research phase. “I’ve been saying it for years: it’s no longer a question of research; it’s about doing it,” Gipe declared. “That’s what countries in Europe and Asia have decided in terms of a developing a comprehensive energy policy.

We know how the technologies work. Today it’s about ‘learning by doing’ on a commercial scale.” For example, Gipe said Denmark currently supplies 20 percent of its electricity with wind energy, while Germany—the world’s fourth-largest industrial economy—provides 20 percent of its electricity from a mix of renewables.

By contrast, the United States has been relatively slow to embrace the renewable energy revolution, according to Gipe. Gipe is a former acting executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association and executive director of the Kern Wind Energy Association. Safety First Greg Creswell, regional safety manager, Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET), Dallas, and the chair of the ITA’s Safety Committee, was the moderator for a panel on titanium safety and fire prevention, a session sponsored by the ITA’s Safety Committee.

A certified safety professional and principal member of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 484 technical committee on combustible metals, Creswell also delivered a paper on titanium dust hazards. He reviewed the NFPA 484 standard and offered a timeline to define a dust explosion event in an industrial production facility.

The safe handling and storage of titanium—a reactive metal that will burn—begins with good housekeeping and extends to plant maintenance and plant-wide safety procedures. For titanium, Creswell said the conditions for an explosion include the following points: metal dust must be fine enough to be airborne; a dust cloud must be at the “minimum explosive concentration”; there must be sufficient oxygen present to support and sustain combustion; there must a source of ignition; and the metal dust must be dry and confined.

René Cooper, technical sales specialist, International Titanium Powder, Ottawa, IL, reviewed his company’s creation of titanium powder handling guidelines. Cooper’s presentation reviewed the requirements for fire and explosion hazards, proper storage of powder, and safe handling precautions. Rick Mason, director of safety, environmental and corporate quality at RTI International Metals Inc., addressed “Key Elements of RTI’s Safety and Environmental Management System.”

Mason reviewed his work to develop a safety and environmental management system, based on the principles of ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems.

Andrew M. Allen, president and chief executive officer of GSL Inc., Tulsa, OK, discussed new developments in titanium safety, handling and processing, highlighting his company’s Firebane technology, an aqueous fire extinguishing agent. He described Firebane as a non-toxic, biodegradable product approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Military/Defense Gus Gustin, TIMET sales director, military ground systems and marine, served as the moderator for the Military/Defense speaker panel, sponsored by TIMET. John Monsees, owner and chief executive officer of Reactive Metals Group LLC, a consulting firm in San Diego, examined new methods for promoting titanium to be specified in military and defense contracts. Monsees presented ideas on the best ways for titanium companies to work with military contractors. He noted that, in order to execute a “successful sell,” titanium companies must ensure the customer’s part design and manufacturing process is properly designed to accommodate titanium and fully exploit the metal’s properties.

The advice from Monsees is to teach customers how to design with titanium, helping them to understand how to avoid cost. “Do not abandon them to their own utilization of titanium,” he said. “Just a few questions along the way can short circuit potential problems.” William A. Gooch Jr., president, WA Gooch Consulting Inc., Saint Petersburg, FL., considered “New Processing and Fabrication Technologies for Current and Potential Titanium Military Applications.”

For applications such as tank armor, Gooch referred to technical papers describing the ballistic advantages of wrought titanium plate compared with steel wrought plate. Gooch identified new processing and fabrication technologies for both armor and non-armor applications to expand the use of titanium alloys on military ground platforms.

In particular, he noted manufacturing technologies to “process low-cost titanium powders into fully consolidated near-net shape components for military applications.” He said the capability to form complex shapes from low-cost powders would allow for the application of lower weight and lower cost titanium parts for military systems.

Aerospace Opportunities Speakers in two panels—Commercial Aerospace and Aerospace Materials and Processes—focused their attention on titanium applications and manufacturing techniques in the high-flying global business sector.  Jeff Masingill, vice president, sales and marketing, RTI Remmele Engineering Inc., New Brighton, MN, was the moderator for the for the Commercial Aerospace panel, sponsored by RTI. Interviewed earlier this year, Masingill said that, considering the accelerating demands from commercial aerospace customers, titanium innovation is required to meet the challenge.

“As commercial and aero-engine market conditions evolve, there is a greater need for higher-performing titanium alloys, which can withstand the rigors of more demanding environments,” he said. Addressing the topic from a supply-chain perspective, Maryse Ingenito, director, global strategic sourcing, United Technologies Corp., said aerospace’s “buy weight” raw material demand for titanium will reach 225 million pounds by 2020, compared with the current level of more than 100 million pounds. By comparison, demand for superalloys and composites will be around 125 million pounds by 2020, while demand for aluminum (including aluminum-lithium alloys) will reach 650 million pounds.

Ernie M. Crist, director of process and product development at RTI International Metals, discussed the potential benefits of lower-temperature superplastic forming (SPF) and his company’s progress on recent production-scale SPF trials for titanium 6/4 sheet at 1425-1475 F  (774-800 C) and pilot-scale work for Ti 6242 at 1550 F (843 C). Dr. Yoji Kosaka, senior manager, U.S. research, at TIMET’s Henderson Technical Laboratory, Henderson NV, moderated the Aerospace Materials and Processes panel, sponsored by TIMET. Dr. Daniel G. Sanders, senior technical fellow, Boeing Research and Technology, reviewed titanium machining and joining techniques that could help reduce cost in aerospace applications. In his summary, Sanders said progress in welding and joining methods, such as laser (fusion) welding, linear-friction welding, friction-stir welding are “revolutionizing” the use of titanium for aerospace applications. He also pointed to advances in large-part SPF as benefiting from these joining/welding technologies.

Dr. Daira Legzdina, principal product design engineer at Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace, and Eric J. Fodran, Ph.D., materials and process engineer for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, presented separate papers on additive manufacturing in titanium alloys. Legzdina, reciting the ASTM definition, described additive manufacturing (AM) as a process of joining melted materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer by layer. AM, she said, can be a “game-changing” technology for complex parts that are difficult to machine. She identified direct-metal laser sintering, ion fusion formation and electron beam melting as three AM technologies gaining acceptance and being explored on a global basis.

These techniques have the potential to provide cost savings in the aerospace industry, offering the ability to produce prototypes quickly and inexpensively.  A separate panel group, Welding and Allied Technologies, continued the conversation on joining technologies. EWI, Columbus, OH, sponsored the panel, which was moderated by Brian Bishop, EWI Aerospace, business development manager. Mike Eff, EWI project engineer, presented a paper on “Novel Technologies for Similar and Dissimilar Titanium Joints.”

Eff discussed two novel joining technologies: friction stir welding; and electro spark deposition (ESD) welding. Powder Presentations There were three panel groups dedicated to titanium powder: Powder Metallurgy, moderated by Georg Abaskumov, director of business development to ADMA Products Inc., Hudson, OH; Powder Production, moderated by Colin McCracken, technical director of Ametek/Reading Alloys, Robesonia, PA; and Manufacturing Power Parts, moderated by Stanley Seagle, industry consultant and retired vice president of technology at RMI Titanium Co. Katsuyoshi Kondoh, vice director for the Joining and Welding Research Institute, Osaka University, Japan, offered thoughts on “Next-Generation Development of a Superior Grade Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) Alloy Via Oxygen Solid Solution Strengthening for Aerospace and Defense Applications.”

Tyrone Jones of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, APG, MD, was credited as a co-author of the technical paper. Kondoh reported the powder metallurgy process provides opportunities to reduce the cost of materials and improve mechanical performance of titanium and related alloys.

He said powder metal titanium using titanium hydride (TiH2) powders demonstrated high strength and ductility. Carbon, nitrogen and oxygen were effective in creating a good balance between tensile strength and elongation at ambient temperature. However, an oxygen solid solution strengthening effect for powder metal Ti-64 is not enough for significant improvement of ballistic performance, according to Kondoh. McCracken reported on the launch this year of Ametek/Reading Alloys new powder metallurgy: plasma spheroidized (PS), which he described as a high-volume batch process.

The company has been producing hydride-dehydride (HDH) powders since 2001. HDH powders are characterized by their blocky, angular morphology and are suited for press/sinter, roll compaction and plasma spraying techniques. The HDH titanium powder is fed into an induction-coupled plasma field that melts and “spheroidizes” the powder. The resulting PS powder morphology is similar to plasma rotation electrode process (PREP) powder—free from agglomerates that eliminate argon gas entrapment.

The PS powder process produces a full range of particle size distribution (PSD), from coarse to fine. ADMA, which sponsored the Powder Metallurgy speaker panel, is a diversified group of companies involved in powder metallurgy products, such as titanium and other advanced materials, which target industrial, aerospace and military applications. Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Dr. Padu Ramasundaram, corporate director of technology at RTI International Metals Inc., moderated the Advanced Titanium Manufacturing speaker panel, sponsored by RTI.

Dr. Adam Brown, a research associate at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield in the UK, touted the facility’s research into next-generation titanium machining strategies. As described on its Web site, the AMRC, a “factory of the future,” is composed of more than 60 key players in global aerospace and advanced manufacturing, including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Messier Dowty, Sandvik Coromant and Renishaw.

Working with students in the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, the center spans a spectrum of manufacturing technologies and processes, from materials suppliers to assembly specialists. Brown provided a snapshot of metalworking equipment at the center and mentioned some of the programs being explored to advance titanium manufacturing techniques.

For example, he listed some of the inherent limitations when machining titanium, such as high cutting forces, poor tool life and “chatter,” which he defined as a “self-excited vibration” that limits productivity and tool life. 

The center seeks to overcome these challenges through its research to understand the underlying causes of chatter, then identify methods to eliminate it while optimizing tool wear and CNC tool paths and cutting parameters to boost productivity. He cited one recent case-study research program at the center that achieved a 50-percent reduction in cycle time and corresponding increase in productivity on a Rolls-Royce machining process for a family of titanium and nickel alloy jet engine fan disks.

Two separate panels: Industrial Session speaker panel, moderated by Rob Henson, manager, business development at Uniti Titanium, Moon Township, PA, which sponsored the session; and Titanium Mill Processing and Melting, moderated by Donald E. Larsen, Jr., plant manager, ti-ingot, Alcoa Howmet, also focused on next-generation manufacturing capabilities.  Industrial/Automotive The Industrial/Automotive speaker panel also provided examples of advanced manufacturing. “Optimization Of The Chemical Milling Of Investment-Cast Titanium Alloys,” a paper by Silvia Gaiani, materials and technologies consultant, Akrapovic d.d., a car exhaust system suppler from Slovenia, described her company’s work regarding chemical milling on two common titanium alloys: Ti-6Al-4V (titanium/aluminum/vanadium) and Commercially Pure Grade 2 titanium. Compared with other forming methods for titanium, Gaiani said investment casting offers greater flexibility to produce complex components in near-net shape. However, the process has its share of challenges due to titanium’s high reactivity in the molten state, which makes it susceptible to contamination by interstitial elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen) dissolved from the mold.

The contamination manifests itself in a brittle “alpha-case” layer that negatively affects the mechanical properties of the titanium casting. Akrapovic has done research to evaluate metal-removal rates of various chemical baths for industrial-scale use to remedy this problem. Gaiani outlined chemical milling and pickling baths used by Akrapovic to remove and/or minimize the formation of the alpha-case layer.

Tested solutions demonstrated a tendency to “remove a bigger quantity of material where the wall thickness is higher,” she said. “In the case of cast components with narrow tolerances, this aspect should be carefully taken into account in order to fulfill the project requirements of the finished product.” In addition, she said that in order to assure the correct service conditions of the bath on an industrial scale, it’s important to maintain the amount of titanium dissolved into the solution.” Fu Baoquan, a professor of engineering at Western Superconducting Technologies (WST) Co. Ltd., Xi’an, China, presented “Research and Production of Titanium Alloy for Aviation Industry.”

Baoquan’s talk reviewed the development of WST’s titanium alloys that target aerospace applications, such as a Ti-6Al-4V alloy for fan disks and structure parts. Other WST alloys, such as titanium/niobium (Ti-Nb) and titanium/aluminum/tin (Ti-Al-Sn), which target a wide assortment of industrial applications in China, have been developed to optimize fracture toughness, anti-corrosion, welding and machining properties. Energizing the Global Supply Chain Thomas Zuccarini, manager, medical and consumer markets and sales administration for Dynamet Inc., a unit of Carpenter Technology Corp., Wyomissing PA, led a panel discussion on “Creating Supply-Chain Value for the Medical and Dental Device Industries into the Future.” Donald Urbanowicz, the principal of Urbanowicz Consulting LLC, offered suggestions on “Sustaining Innovation within the Orthopedic Industry.”

Urbanowicz opened his presentation by acknowledging the value proposition for a supply chain, especially as it relates to cultivating innovation, currently is under intense scrutiny. Innovative executives along the supply chain must remain focused on the core mission, but also need to be open to the opportunities for diversification.

In order to drive innovation, Urbanowicz suggested three steps: solicit input from supply-chain associates on a regular basis in order to allow ideas to “percolate up”; manage business time for make room for “unofficial activity” and step back and ponder creative ideas; and establish a realistic, pragmatic process for “turning ideas into reality.” In his summary, he said the “status quo is not an effective go-forward strategy to drive innovation.”

Novel, low-risk ideas need to be quickly benchmarked and tested, and business leaders should remain open minded to identify opportunities for innovation. Based in Chatham, NJ, Urbanowicz Consulting is a medical advisory firm with a musculoskeletal focus. According to information on the company Web site, Urbanowicz, for 30 years, has served in various leadership roles with multinational healthcare companies, with executive responsibilities in management, global marketing and sales, strategic planning and business development. Master Dissertations on Titanium Mike Royer, Director of Manufacturing of AMETEK - Reading Alloys, served as the moderator for the “Best Master Dissertation on Titanium” panel, which featured three presentations on titanium research. Dr. Neidenei Gomes Ferreira, advisor to Fernanda Lazoni Migliorini, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Brazil, discussed “Production and Characterization of Boron-Doped, Diamong Electrodes Grown on Titanium, Applied to Textile Dye Degradation.”

Ferreira is a senior scientist at the INPE. Vi Khanh Truong presented an “Investigation of Bacterial Attachment Patters on Micro- and Nano-Restricted Surface Topographies.” Truong is a research post-doctoral fellow with the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Daniel A. Jewell, Ph.D., reviewed “Titanium Metal Production Via Ozycardie Electrorefining.” Jewell is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, UK. A select panel of judges at TITANIUM 2012 selected Jewell for delivering the best dissertation.

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