Industrial Edition Q2; 2014
Issue 4, No. 1
ITA Industrial Committee Endeavors
The International Titanium Association’s (ITA) Industrial subgroup, part of the ITA Applications Committee, compliments the ITA’s existing Medical, Consumer, and Aerospace groups. Each sub-group chair is a member of the Applications committee and meets on an as needed basis to discuss new proposals or funding requests. This year the Industrial subgroup will develop a two-year plan, which will be presented to the ITA’s board of directors for consideration. The activities for this two-year plan are in conjunction with the general strategies of the ITA, as listed in the association’s 2012 Business Plan. Rob Henson, manager, business development, VSMPO-Tirus US, serves as the chair of the Industrial sub-group. Members of the sub-group include Regis Baldauff, Titanium Industries Inc.; Bill Brownlee, Titanium Fabrication Corp; Mitch Dziekonski, Titanium Engineers Inc.; Jim Grauman, Titanium Metals Corp (TIMET); Ron Schutz, RTI International Metals, Inc.; Mike Stitzlein, Tricor Metals; Conroe; and Jeff White, TICO Titanium Inc. Henson said his goal is for the subgroup to find new industrial applications and markets for titanium as well as “remove barriers” for the specification of titanium in new markets. His resume includes a background in business development and corrosion research. Henson said one important project for the sub-group involves work on updating and clarifying industry specifications for corrosion resistance, which will benefit the titanium industry. The sub-group will evaluate opportunities to assist in technical development within the titanium industry, such as nonproprietary alloys and industry specifications. As mentioned, this evaluation will involve projects benefiting the titanium industry as a whole, especially in the area of touting titanium’s advantages as a material of choice for applications involving corrosion resistance. Henson and his team have confirmed there are customers asking for titanium Grade 12 (an alloy that includes nickel and molybdenum) to the existing NACE MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) 175 requirements but most of the material commercially available does not necessarily meet that hardness level. According to information posted on the NACE website, MRO 175 is an international standard for the petroleum and natural gas industries regarding specification for industrial materials, such as titanium, for use in hydrogen sulfide work environments. Also known as ISO 15156 (International Standard), the NACE MRO 175 standard was developed for the prevention of sulfide stress cracking due to hydrogen sulfide in oil and gas production systems. Historically, for the refining process, the MRO 175 standard was used as a guideline for choosing suitable materials. However, the refining process environment is outside of the scope of the MRO 175 standard. The NACE MRO 103 standard was developed to be a refineryspecific sour service materials standard. Like the MRO 175 standard, the MRO 103 standard provides recommendations on which alloys and materials to use to prevent sulfide stress cracking in an H2S containing environment According to recent business reports cited by the ITA Applications Committee, the oil and gas industry has largely exploited many of the world’s light-sweet crude reserves. As a result, this has placed a greater emphasis on “sour” crude oil service, which is driving the interest in the use of titanium. NACE recently approved a ballot for Grade 1 (commercially pure titanium), which now allows the use of plate frame heat exchangers. This now allows manufacturers of plate heat exchangers to put NACE on their product. However, if they need a higher strength material for piping systems, vessel, or tube shell heat exchangers, Grade 12 is the obvious choice, but currently, from a manufacturing standpoint, it creates various challenges. The ITA Applications Committee indicated that the way the current standard is written does not lend itself to continuous processing. Most of the plate heat exchanger manufacturers will not sign up for the anneal parameters as they are currently written, and the sheet heat exchanger manufacturers using continuous mills also are not going to sign up for it. Hardness is often an issue with commercially available materials. Hydrogen sulfide corrosion issues within production topsides, refinery and downstream equipment, where they are citing this NACE standard, makes it very difficult to source Grade 12, placing a burden on the entire industry, according to the ITA Industrial Committee. Making revisions to a material that is already in the spec is a much easier endeavor than adding a new material. Hiring a consultant with NACE experience to conduct some preliminary work on behalf of the committee specifically to review our concerns, the work we have completed to date, and help with developing a detailed proposal would be most beneficial and a useful investment for the titanium industry. All ITA members will receive details of the work completed. It is the hope of the Applications Committee that conducting this preliminary work might lead to a fairly abbreviated path in accomplishing this goal and would supply the Industrial sub-group with a roadmap of what would be involved in submitting a ballot to the NACE MRO 175 review committee, which in turn, would lead to a formal proposal for ITA board consideration. In addition to its work on evaluating industry standards, the Industrial sub-group has been charged with five other responsibilities: Committee is responsible for recommending industrial market trade shows where ITA should exhibit and will support the trade show committee with appropriate collateral materials. The committee reviews and maintains the industrial related products and services categories in the Titanium Resource Center to ensure there are no duplicates or unaccounted items. The sub-group will review and make recommendations to enhance the industrial and corrosion segments of the “Fundamentals of Titanium” workshop and will develop an outreach program to fabricators worldwide promoting the ongoing “How to Weld Titanium” training. The committee members develop market-specific sessions, inviting appropriate panel speakers and make recommendations for distinguished speakers at the US and Europe TITANIUM conferences. The sub-group members solicit individuals or organizations that might qualify to apply for the annual Titanium Applications Development (TAD) award and will submit nominations to the ITA’s Grant Committee for consideration. Any Member of the International Titanium Association is invited to participate in Committees. Interested Members may contact the ITA for a current meeting schedule.
Distinguished Speakers at Sorrento Conference to Dissect, Analyze Trends for Industrial Sectors at TITANIUM EUROPE 2014
Speakers for the Industrial Session panel at TITANIUM EUROPE 2014 Conference and Exhibition in Sorrento, Italy will discuss current and near-term global business opportunities for titanium, as well as review recent programs that required titanium alloys. The session is sponsored by Uniti Titanium, an international joint venture formed in 2003 by Allegheny Technologies Inc., Pittsburgh, and Verkhnaya Salda Metallurgical Production Association (VSMPO) of Russia. Alain Gonzalez, the managing director of Uniti Titanium Europe, will serve as the moderator for the speaker panel. In a separate presentation, Albert Bruneau, executive vice president, Vallourec Heat Exchanger Tubes (VHET), will share his thoughts on global trends for titanium in major industrial markets. Bruneau will discuss the key drivers of titanium consumption in industrial markets along with a forecast on their likely evolution in the foreseeable future. He will serve as a speaker with the conference’s World Titanium Demand Trends session. According to an abstract of his presentation, Bruneau will note that international industrial business markets, such as power generation, desalination markets and oil and gas exploration and production, each year consume a significant amount of titanium plate, sheet, pipes and tubes. Industrial consumption, on a global scale, represents an important, highvalue business segment for the titanium industry. However, titanium volumes have been fluctuating significantly during the recent past, generating lack of visibility and concern for all the players along the supply chain. Employing VHET’s international perspective on the dynamics and trends of titanium usage in these complex markets, Bruneau will analyze key elements currently affecting major industrial sectors and offer insight into near-term business conditions. Vallourec Heat Exchanger Tubes, a unit of the Vallourec Group Company, is a leading global supplier for titanium and stainless steel welded tubes, with facilities on three continents—Europe, North America and Asia, according to information posted on its website (http://www.valtimet.com). Based in Boulogne Billancourt, France, the company operates production facilities in France (Les Laumes); in the United States (Morristown, TN and Brunswick, GA); and China Changzhou Valinox Great Wall, Xi’An Baotimet Valinox Tubes, Changzhou Carex Valinox Components). It also has sales offices in India and South Korea. ‘A Paradigm Shift in Material Choices’ Industrial Session panelists will share their insights and offer diverse perspectives on titanium business conditions in the global industrial sector. The presentations will focus on non-aerospace industrial markets. Regis Baldauff, industrial/southeast regional manager for Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, will present “Current Global Trends for Titanium Applications within the Chemical Process and Oil and Gas Markets.” According to Baldauff, recent global events and catastrophes have created a paradigm shift in material choices for decision makers within the chemical process and oil and gas markets. Piping and equipment manufacturers and large original equipment manufacturers have been tasked with designing components and systems that increase performance, improve life cycles and reduce risk. Faced with these daunting conditions, Baldauff will explain how titanium addresses all of these concerns with the correct design and application. His presentation will provide an overview of these current market conditions and why titanium can offer solutions to these problems, along with superior performance in demanding applications over the long term. “Titanium products are facing increasing competition within this market space from products such as fiberglass reinforced pipe, Duplex and Super Duplex stainless steel materials,” he stated in an abstract of his presentation. “Pricing should not be the only evaluation tool used for determining which product is the best material of choice. Safety and performance characteristics are now at the top of list when it comes to the design criteria that are used within these industrial markets.” Rob Henson, manager, business development, VSMPO Tirus US, and co-author Steven Hancock, market analyst, Tirus International SA, will present how “Copper and Nickel Supply Side Economics Make Strong Case for Titanium” (see related story on page 14). Increasing population growth and urbanization is driving demand for potable water, electricity, waste water treatment, refrigeration and air conditioning. All of these industrial processes have historically depended on copper and nickel alloys for reliable process equipment, whereas in the case of electrical power generation and distribution there is no alternative to copper, according to Henson. The resulting strong demand projections for copper and nickel come just at a time when mine yields are declining due to depth limitations and processes are becoming more expensive due to increased energy consumption per ton of produced metal. The growing stress on the supply side of these commodity metals is impacting on the economics of material selection and titanium will be shown to be an attractive alternative for many applications within these industrial processes. Henson will explore the supply side economics of copper and nickel production, including ore reserves, mine development, extraction processes and analyst projections, to show the forecasted price impact of these global developments. Henson serves as the chair of the International Titanium Association’s Industrial sub-group. Stéphane Pauly, business development manager for IWE NobelClad, a unit of DMC Co., discuss “Titanium Clad Steel; Hot Working Considerations and Applications.” Pauly will explain that when titanium is the material of choice from the corrosion perspective, and when high operating temperatures and/or pressures mandate heavy wall thicknesses, clad construction is frequently the cost effective solution. “Titanium explosion clad have proven performance records in heavy process equipment,” he stated in his abstract. “Frequently, elevated temperature metalworking procedures are necessary in the fabrication process, particularly when formed heads are required. Titanium and steel are potentially subject to significant loss of interface strength and toughness during hot working. Pauly’s paper will point out the metallurgical issues that must be considered when hot working these dissimilar metal clad combinations, noting that diffusion driven degradation mechanisms are both time and temperature dependent. He will address processes and procedures for proper elevated temperature forming of titanium, along with various inter-related considerations such as bond strength, base metal mechanical properties, cladding metal properties, ASME Code compliance and cost. Two years ago Dynamic Materials Corp. (DMC), Boulder, CO, combined the worldwide operations of its Explosive Metalworking business division under its Nobelclad brand. The operations included DMC Clad Metal in North America; Dynaplat in Germany; and Nobelclad in France, as well as the segment’s global sales and marketing organization. DMC’s global business network serves customers in the energy, industrial and infrastructure markets. “Titanium Anodic Oxidation: From Surface Functionalization To Corrosion And Environmental Properties” is the title of the talk to be given by MariaPia Pedeferri, Politecnico di Milano, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering (Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica “Giulio Natta”), Milan, Italy. Pedeferri’s paper states that the reactivity of most metallic surfaces often can be source of adverse consequences, as in the case of undesired corrosion reactions. However, by selectively using electrochemical processes, this reactivity can yield beneficial aspects, such as enhancing surface properties, chemical composition, and crystalline structures. Pedeferri will explore how anodic oxidation can induce the formation on titanium of different titanium oxides with controlled features, increasing corrosion and wear resistance; in effect, introducing functional surface properties that would not be available through other procedures. As stated on its website, the mission of the Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering (CMIC) Department is to promote and to support the central role of chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science and engineering throughout the whole spectra of new technologies by offering advanced expertise. This is done via contributions to basic science (scientific papers published in a wide range of international journals); by the international patents; and by contracts and business partnerships with small, medium and large companies. A Broad Spectrum of Industrial Applications Given its light weight, strength and superior corrosion resistance properties, titanium serves as a material of choice in a broad spectrum of global industrial markets. For example, titanium’s virtual immunity to corrosion in salt, brackish or polluted waters makes it well suited for applications in industrial heat exchangers. Titanium is used in welded and seamless tubing in many alloy grades for shell/tube exchangers or in pressed form for plate and frame exchangers. Titanium is specified for plate heat exchangers, a market that includes food, paper and chemical processing, power generation, refrigeration and ocean vessels. In power plants, refineries, air conditioning systems, chemical plants, offshore platforms, surface ships and submarines, titanium’s lifespan and dependability are well documented. In power generation, the use of titanium’s workhorse alloy, Ti-6Al-4V, for steam turbine blades in critical areas increases the efficiency and life of low-pressure steam turbines while decreasing downtime and maintenance. Commercially pure titanium thin-wall condenser tubing is used extensively in power plants, because it can be specified without a corrosion allowance and has a virtually unlimited life, well past the life of the condenser or plant. In nuclear power stations, the availability and declining cost of seam-welded titanium tubing has led to an increase in its use. Resistance to seawater corrosion, along with its lightweight, high strength and low modulus make titanium ideal for a variety of applications in offshore oil and gas exploration and production. Topside, titanium tubing and pipe is used extensively in fire main and service water systems, because it eliminates difficult, expensive offshore maintenance, repairs and replacement. Its high strength-to weight ratio and low modulus make it well suited for dynamic production and drilling riser systems, where every pound of weight saved below the surface also saves three to five pounds on the platform and anchoring system. Titanium’s superior corrosion resistance to seawater also makes it a material of choice for the worldwide desalination industry. There are two basic technology categories for desalination systems: membrane processes (primarily reverse osmosis) and thermal distillation (evaporation). Thermal distillation is broken out into three sub categories: multi-stage flash evaporation (MSF), multiple-effect evaporation (MED), and mechanical vapor compression (MVC). Titanium finds most of its applications in the thermal distillation category, used for tubing, valves and plate heat exchangers. Thermal distillation is the main desalination technology used in the Middle East. The world’s two largest thermal distillation desalination projects will be located in Saudi Arabia. The Ras Al-Khair MSF desalination plant and the Yanbu 3 MSF plant will provide fresh water for millions of people. As reported in various business journals, each desalination plant in Saudi Arabia utilizes more than 5,000 metric tons of titanium.
Successful Welding of Titanium Mostly a Matter of Shielding and Purging
Welding titanium properly is critical in many industrial applications, yet the process remains misunderstood. Contrary to common perceptions, “titanium is one of the easiest metals to weld,” says Randy Dull, EWI, which offers welding education through the International Titanium Association (ITA). “Titanium is a reactive metal, meaning it will react with oxygen, even in the solid state, so the challenges in welding it are shielding from the atmosphere until it cools below about 800°F (427°C), and cleanliness. And there are ways to accomplish that. With sufficient shielding, titanium is a wonderful metal to weld.” Dull explains that readily weldable grades of titanium include commercially pure (Grades 1 – 4) and common structural grades such as Ti-3Al-2.5V (Grade 9) and Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5). Jim McMaster, MC Consulting, elaborates: “When welding all titanium alloys, shielding and purging with inert gas, to protect the weld zone and hot metal from atmospheric and foreign material contamination, are important factors affecting the final quality of welds.” He notes that in addition to oxygen, which is, of course, essentially unlimited in the air, titanium reacts with many other materials. “Nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and iron are the most important other elements, due to their presence in normal fabricating environments.” On top of shielding and purging, EWI’s Dull says the other key to successfully welding titanium is thorough cleaning. “You have to make sure the parts are white-glove clean. Clean them mechanically and with solvent. And handle them, literally, with white gloves. Take care of the details!” Oxygen and Titanium Among McMaster’s industry contributions, he has authored several papers on titanium/oxygen interactions and shielding and purging for welding the metal. He teaches and writes that understanding titanium welding first requires understanding interactions between titanium and oxygen. When it is exposed to air, water or other oxygen sources, the metal naturally forms a tenacious, hard, continuous, non-porous, transparent, and self-healing surface oxide layer. This is the reason for its remarkable corrosion resistance. However, the surface oxide layer literally dissolves into the metal at elevated temperatures and, therefore, in a molten weld that is exposed to oxygen. At higher temperatures, the normally transparent silver oxide grows thicker. Thickening the oxide yields a repeating rainbow of brilliant surface colors. At about 700°F (370°C), it becomes an iridescent light gold-red color, changing through the refraction spectrum to a dark blue-violet at about 1100°F (600°C). The thickening and interference colors repeat four to six times as temperatures (or time exposure) increases. At higher temperature, the oxide becomes a less stable, porous film, cracking and spalling to form a matte gray, and even a white, loose scale, allowing an increased rate of oxidation below. Finished Weld Surface Color Titanium’s iridescent colors form only on solidified material and are an indicator (and only an indicator) of post-solidification thermal history and exposure to oxygen. Straw, light blue and even iridescent dark blue are usually interpreted as surface contamination and diffusion of oxygen into the weld metal. This surface damage can be repaired by removing a few mils of harder material mechanically. A dark blue color is usually interpreted as exposure to higher temperature and indicates the entire weld is contaminated and requires removal. A grey matte color or a loose yellow and white oxide indicates a complete failure of shielding and requires removal of the weld and a very thin layer of the underlying material. When a contaminated weld is remelted under adequate gas protection it can appear bright and silver, but will remain hard and brittle. Similarly, a weld which is contaminated by torch gas may appear bright and silver if it is protected from oxidation after solidification. But, “color alone cannot accept a weld,” wrote Dave Mitchell of TIMET in the 1960s. That observation has not changed in the 50 years since, so knowing procedures and techniques is at least as important as recognizing color. Shielding and Purging “During all welding processes, inert gas shielding on the face and root of any weld, to protect hot or molten titanium from oxygen sources, is a key factor affecting the final quality of the weld,” states McMaster. Shielding the molten weld pool (both front and back) is critical because oxygen in the weld pool moves by convection. Oxygen that contacts the surface is immediately absorbed and distributed, and as the pool coalesces and freezes the result is embrittlement – increased hardness and loss of ductility. Primary (torch gas) shielding is best accomplished using a large diameter torch cup equipped with a gas lens. Using such a gas torch is typically an issue for shops trying to weld titanium for the first time, but it eliminates many problems. Secondary (trailing and backup) shielding is readily done with local shielding devices. Ordinary welding grade gases, introduced in the form of a gentle gas blanket, are more than adequate for most applications. Argon is favored over helium for smooth arc performance, lower cost, and higher density in most cases. (Using argon can create personnel safety issues in enclosed spaces, as it is heavier than air. Sufficient ventilation must be provided.) “In many circumstances, protection of the root side of a weld requires that space to be purged with inert gas.” McMaster continues. “Yet purging is often done with minimal thought to just what is happening in the space being purged, which leads to using less than adequate techniques.” Quality assurance for a titanium weld relies on the certainty of creating a completely inert atmosphere in the purged space. McMaster says this means interior surfaces in purged volumes must be free of dirt that can trap air or moisture. “So it’s necessary to clean the entire surface of the space to be purged almost as carefully as the weld preparation itself. Similarly, faying surfaces or laps in the purge zone must be cleaned before assembly and then kept clean. Clean shop, clean material and re-cleaning just prior to welding need to be routine. The important thing is to do it right the first time to avoid often very costly repairs.” Primarily to reduce the amount of inert gas required to achieve a successful purge, consideration of how the gas is introduced is important. Introducing the gas with an open tube causes mixing in the purge space and might consume 20 to 50 times the purge volume. Using a diffuser or baffle and introducing the gas at the bottom of the purge space, to minimize mixing (for argon), typically requires 6 to 12 times the volume of the purge space. The quality of the inert gas and the process for purging do not guarantee the quality of the gas in the purge space. The purging gas must first displace air and then dry any moisture. “The only reliable way to verify purge quality is to monitor the dew point of the purge gas as it exits the purged space,” says McMaster. Oxygen meters capable of reading to at least 10ppm are sometimes used, but they are arguably less certain since they do not measure moisture that may be present. McMaster believes more work is needed to better understand the difference. After a clean purge is obtained, welding heat will release contaminants. It’s good practice to achieve the required purge exit quality, then continue the flow of purge gas, preferably in the same direction as the weld progresses. EWI and the ITA EWI offers opportunities to learn more about welding titanium through its work with the ITA. An annual welding workshop covers procedures that are unique to titanium and discusses various forms of titanium joining like Electron Beam, Laser, MIG, TIG and Plasma. Attendees deal with the challenges of everyday fabrication in the true shop environment. EWI and ITA also collaborated on a How to Weld Titanium DVD available on the ITA website (titanium.org). Dull adds that EWI activities are not confined to welding. “Over the years we’ve also done a lot of work on other manufacturing processes that are used in the titanium industry – including machining and forming.” Since the early 1980s, EWI has helped manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, defense, manufacturing and electronics industries improve productivity, time-to-market, and pro allied technologies. Today, EWI provides applied research, manufacturing support, and strategic services to nearly 2800 member companies worldwide. McMaster consults for titanium producers, fabricators and users on a variety of fabrication and application issues. He says much of his effort is on post-fabrication problems that could have been prevented with “better specifications, selection of shops with experienced titanium weldors, and management that places quality first.”
Financial folly or money-saving miracle metal? The Business Case for a Titanium Ship
Is a titanium warship a foolish and expensive dream or a money-saving practical idea? Research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research examined materials, processes and applications, and found that it is not only possible to construct a ship hull from titanium—or Ti, it could be cost effective. Steel is the primary material for almost all ships today, including naval vessels. There are alternative materials, such as aluminum and composites. Titanium—while more expensive than other materials— has many positive properties that contribute to lower total ownership costs (TOC) throughout the life of a ship. Ti offers a 40% weight savings compared to steel; can withstand higher temperatures; is non-magnetic and virtually corrosion-free in seawater. The University of New Orleans (UNO) is leading the ONR-fundedteam conducting the “Investigation of Manufacturability and Structural Performance of a Full-Scale Titanium Mid-Ship Section” project under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research. Pingsha Dong, PhD, Professor and Northrop Grumman Endowed Chair School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering University of New Orleans, is the principal investigator. Dong, who now teaches at the University of Michigan, says research is needed to determine the best way to construct titanium ship components. “Through the UNO investigation, advanced metal inert gas (MIG) welding and friction stir welding showed their potential.” The titanium (Ti) mid-ship section program at UNO represents the first fullscale ship hull technology development for using titanium and its alloys for marine structural applications. The project team has achieved technical breakthroughs for realizing titanium as a practical ship hull material for achieving lighter weight and reduced life cycle cost for future navy ships. The UNO team includes Textron Marine and Land Systems (TL&MS), Slidell, La., which fabricated both the Ti and a comparable aluminum mid-ship test hull section; Keystone Synergistic Enterprises, Inc., Port St. Lucie, Fla., developed the Ti friction stir welding (FSW) process and tooling. MiNO Marine LLC, New Orleans, La., created the structural design for both the Textron aluminum mid-body section and the detail design changes for the Ti section. ATI, Matthews, N. C., was the supplier of Ti material for the project. The National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM) in Michoud, La., provided large scale friction stir welding capabilities for demonstrating the feasibility of producing full size ship board panels after welding process parameters were developed in a lab environment. The team brought together academic, industry and government multidisciplinary experts in design, construction, metal manufacturing, material handling, welding practices and environments. Working with the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, West Bethesda, Md., and ONR in Arlington, Va., the team has investigated structural performance assessment techniques and advanced metal fabrication technologies for titanium. The project involved the design and fabrication of a Ti mid-ship hull section for the ONR “Transformable Craft”—or T-Craft—Innovative Naval Prototype, to include a comparative analysis of titanium, as well as aluminum and composites, to determine if titanium and its many positive characteristics can be a cost-effective material for ship structures. T-Craft is a unique design that combines high speed and long range with the ability to mate with a cargo ship at sea and deliver cargo from the sea base to the shore “feet-dry,” which means carrying its combat payload up to the beach, beyond the surf line and discharging it onto dry land, and then repeating the process delivering specific cargo where needed. It combines the best attributes of a catamaran, surface effect ship and air cushion vehicle. The design requires very strong, light-weight material that can withstand constant exposure to salt water under the stresses imparted by sea states and the surf zone. The T-Craft program included development of a full-scale section of the sidehull to demonstrate the ability to transform from a full displacement craft to an air cushion vehicle made from composite, aluminum and titanium. The titanium sidehull section is a completely new structural design, taking full advantage of the strength afforded by titanium. “For ship hull applications, the key is to introduce marine grades for titanium plates in order to achieve significant cost reduction in material. This can be done by changing the processing and finishing requirements without aerospace grade baggage,” Dong says. Marine specific Ti grades have been developed and used for limited naval applications, such as piping. For example, salt water is used in the firefighting piping throughout most ships. Titanium has not been used for large ship structures, however. Currently some Ti fabrication is taking place in shipyards, but it requires strict controls for fabrication. Quality control is paramount, and inert gas shielding is required to avoid contamination. “Titanium is highly reactive at elevated temperatures and requires shielding of the molten metal during welding and cooling,” says Jennifer Wolk, PhD, a materials engineer with Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division specializing in welding and friction stir welding of non-ferrous materials. Colen Kennell, PhD, of the Center for Innovation in Ship Design at NSWC Carderock says such a fabrication facility would not require a significant investment. “There aren’t any showstopper industrial or management issues.” But, Kennell says, without sufficient demand it might be an unsustainable business model. So why would it be worth it? Because of the weight-to-strength ratio, Ti permits lighter, sturdier ships that would either require less power, get better fuel consumption or more speed for the similar a propulsion plant. All three factors contribute to TOC. Steel naval ships must be protected from magnetic influence mines, and use bulky and power-hungry degaussing coils, while a non-magnetic Ti ship is less vulnerable to magnetic fuses. Titanium’s higher temperature resistance is safer for structures like gas turbine exhaust systems. Its non-corrosive qualities means it a ship doesn’t require constant chipping and painting, even in the brutal seawater environment that rots ferrous metals. Although many ship structures are subjected to cyclic loading, which can limit the allowable stresses in the hull material to well below the nominal yield strength, titanium has excellent fatigue properties. “Ti’s welded components have been shown to exhibit superior fatigue resistance to cyclic loading to aluminum weldments, as shown from the ONR funded study at UNO,” Dong says. “All of this comes at a significant increase in first cost. The raw material is many times the price per pound of either steel or aluminum, and the manufacturing labor costs are also higher. However, the hull represents a fairly small fraction of the total cost of a new combatant ship—typically, around 10%—so a more expensive hull does not greatly increase the total procurement cost. The fact remains that there will be some increase in acquisition cost for ships with a titanium hull, but lower maintenance costs and potentially longer service life for the ship could actually reduce total ownership cost,” says Rob Moore at Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&LS). “Most steel ships are scrapped because of corrosion of the hull, not problems with the machinery,” adds Moore The bottom line is that a titanium hull will last longer, and when a titanium hull is “recycled” it has a much higher scrap value. “Old ships are a problem,” says Kennell. “Ti scrap retains substantial value even at the end of a 30 or 40 –plus year ship life.” Raymond M. Walker of Keystone Synergistic Enterprises in Port St. Lucie, Fla., says vessel life, fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance, and increased range/payload will drive the argument. “No new technologies are required, only adaptation of existing titanium practices (primarily from aerospace) to the specifics of vessel design and fabrication.” “We don’t have the same surface finishing requirement as aerospace applications, but we need to determine what the specifications for marine grade titanium will be,” says Dong. Unlike aerospace Ti, hull sections require beams, girders and side shells, all of which are welded together. A shipyard is a large scale industrial production environment. “We found we could efficiently fabricate titanium ship structural components in a shipyard environment,” says Dong. “There was some additional planning required, and cleanliness is very important. But altogether it is very doable in practice.” Textron Marine and Land Systems fabricated a hull section from aluminum, then one from titanium. The workers liked working with titanium. There was much less distortion compared to anything they’ve done before. And the resulting structure had an 8 percent reduction in weight compared to the aluminum one. It also has significantly higher fatigue resistance, as demonstrated by the comparative full-scale fatigue life assessment of both titanium and aluminum mid-ship sections within the ONR-fund UNO program, which means it will last much longer. Hulls in saltwater need a lot of attention due to oxidation and biofouling, which are those little critters like barnacles and other marine life that take up residence on the bottom and can seriously slow a ship down and increase fuel consumption. The rust-free Ti hull doesn’t even need paint (which is expensive, heavy, and requires a time consuming process to drydock the ship and apply the coatings), and biofouling can be more easily removed than from a steel or aluminum hull. The Japanese fishing industry has built 12-meter fishing boats from Ti, and biofouling is not much of a problem. “There is an expanding use of titanium for marine fittings, propellers and shafts, heat exchangers and piping, all taking advantage of the corrosion resistance characteristics. Further expansion into larger assemblies such as hatches, doors, decks and superstructure is a likely precursor to complete hulls and primary structure made from titanium,” says Walker. “It all boils down to material and fabrication costs. Until we can overlook the acquisition costs associated with using titanium components and see that the long term benefits outweigh the acquisition costs, there will still be hurdles to using titanium,” says Kim Tran, PhD, a materials engineer at NSWC Carderock where she is the non-ferrous welding lead. “If industry can reduce the current material prices, there may be more opportunities for titanium components on Navy ships. Reduced fabrication costs are also important. Traditional processes for fabricating titanium components are expensive because of the cleanliness requirements for the handling of titanium and complete shielding requirements for arc welding,” Tran says. Complete inert shielding during arc welding is the biggest cost driver associated with welding titanium. According to Tran, NSWCCD has investigated flux cored arc welding wire and using a flux paste to eliminate the requirement for backside shielding. “GTAW is the primary welding process for welding titanium because it is much cleaner; however it is also a low deposition process requiring more weld passes to complete a joint than gas metal arc welding (GMAW).” Dong agrees there are challenges, including the lack of experience in building large-scale Ti structures and the lack of high-productivity Ti welding processes. He says the use Ti in ship design requires special consideration for achieving buckling strength due to its lower Young’s modulus comparing with steel. “The key is reasonably priced titanium for ship hull applications. Aerospace grade Ti is not what we need,” he says. “A titanium vessel is absolutely possible,” says Walker. There are plenty of pockets of titanium design and fabrication expertise in industry that are producing titanium structures every day, but very little of this expertise resides in traditional shipyards.” Walker doubts big shipyards would embrace titanium. “A titanium vessel fabrication business case could be supported in an aggressively lean environment of a ‘small shipyard of the future,’ where material handling, welding practices and environments, material flow, and modular construction methods are optimized to titanium to drive down costs and are biased to light metal fabrication (aluminum and titanium). Recent projects where full-scale titanium ship hull fabrication methods were demonstrated have shown the feasibility and capability to apply good industry practices to successfully produce large structures. Although continued refinement of high-productivity welding methods needs further work, the fundamental capability exists for titanium shipbuilding. “Getting credible total ownership cost (TOC) data on a titanium vessel will be critical to supporting a business case for titanium in shipbuilding to contrast the higher acquisition cost,” Walker says. “An important follow-on effort could include the fabrication of a smaller offshore patrol vessel from titanium to create a functional and operational test bed for documenting the cost and logistical benefits of titanium.”
Global Copper, Nickel Market Vicissitudes Create Industrial Opportunities for Titanium
“Copper and Nickel Supply Side Economics Make Strong Case for Titanium,” a presentation and study by Rob Henson, manager, business development, VSMPO Tirus US and Steven Hancock, market analyst, Tirus International SA, Lausanne, Switzerland, makes the case that shifts in global market and mining conditions have created advantages and opportunities for titanium in demanding, corrosionresistance industrial markets such as heat exchangers, electric power generation and the desalination industry. The study by Henson and Hancock, which will be presented at the TITANIUM 2014 Conference and Exhibition in Sorrento, Italy, concludes that recent global developments, such as regulatory restrictions on exports of non-processed nickel ore and increasing production and mining costs for copper and nickel, along with global demand forecasts for electricity and clean water, will result in a cost advantage for titanium products. Henson serves as the chair of the International Titanium Association’s Industrial sub-group. The impact of population growth on the demand for specialty metals, which creates the demand for industrial projects such as power generation and desalination, is well documented and has been reported by many business analysts and news sources. In recent years, increasing demand for copper and nickel alloys have driven large investment in mines and processing plants globally. However, the quality of these new mines has been rapidly declining over the last 25 years and production costs have skyrocketed as a result. “It is clear that the combined effect of declining head grade at mines and increased energy costs will drive the LME (London Metal Exchange) price of nickel and copper higher over time,” Henson and Hancock state in their paper. “Substitution of other materials of construction will alleviate the demand shortfall in some instances but many of the applications for these commodity metals do not currently have a substitute such as nickel for turbine engine application and copper for electrical power generation. The pressure will continue on the supply side for additional tonnage and this will result in a steepening price curve.” As for the titanium industry, Henson and Hancock say there is a stable, well-developed mining industry that is currently shipping 95 percent of its production as a mineral product. The potential increase in value to the titanium miners is very attractive if they ship to a metal production facility and, as only 5 percent of mined titanium product is reduced to titanium metal in today’s market, there is considerable elasticity in the supply side of the business. Global Population Growth Increasing population growth and urbanization is driving demand for potable water, electricity, waste water treatment, refrigeration and air conditioning. All of these industrial processes historically have depended on copper and nickel alloys for reliable process equipment whereas, in the case of electrical power generation and distribution, there is no alternative to copper. However, the resulting strong demand projections for copper and nickel come at a time when mine yields are declining due to depth limitations and processes are becoming more expensive due to increased energy consumption per ton of produced metal. The growing stress on the supply side of these commodity metals is impacting on the economics of material selection, and titanium is projected to emerge as an attractive alternative for many applications within these industrial processes. Since the majority of the growth in population is taking place in underdeveloped regions of the world, the infrastructure to support this population surge is not in place. Potable water is scarce, water for irrigation may not be available and the power grid will have to be built from the ground up. Additionally, sanitation systems and water reclamation systems are often non-existent. To provide an acceptable standard of living for these growing populations a tremendous investment in infrastructure will be required. Water and energy are inextricably linked with 90 percent of global generation being water intensive and more that 15 percent of all water withdrawals going to energy production. Choices made in one domain have direct and indirect consequences on the other and both are essential for human wellbeing so economic development is not possible without sufficient supplies of both. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, Website: http://en.unesco.org) is projecting global water demand in terms of withdrawals to increase by some 55 percent by 2050. With 20 percent of the world’s population currently living in areas of high water stress, that number could increase to 40 percent by 2050. China, India and the Middle East will account for around 60 percent of the increase in demand over the next 20 years and, with water scarcity already a major issue, water management will be absolutely critical to enabling continued economic development in these countries. Water and energy infrastructure and technologies with inherent synergies for co-production can minimize trade-offs and will play an essential role. Desalination through combined heat and power plants is one such example of integrated planning, which will become far more common, if not essential, in the future. Since titanium typically is seen as an alternative to copper in desalination systems, the price differential is a driver in the material choice, Henson and Hancock point out. The drop in price differential during the years 2010 and 2011 resulted in the titanium becoming significantly more attractive. Titanium tubes make up 10 percent of the desalination tube bundle and are used where corrosion risk is high. Since the density of titanium is half that of brass, if the price of titanium tubes is less than double that of copper tubes, titanium will be cheaper per meter irrespective of the value associated with its corrosion resistance. The price differential between copper and titanium can be a good indicator of the business case for using titanium in industrial heat exchanger applications, since copper-nickel and titanium tubes are to a certain degree interchangeable, according to Henson and Hancock. They say that the rising price of copper in 2009 and 2010 would have helped to make the case for titanium for Ras Azzour and Yanbu 3 desalination plants, two massive projects located in Saudi Arabia, where all condensers were made entirely from titanium, which represented a first for the desalination industry. China, having only entered the titanium sponge production market 10 years ago, has built up a vast sponge production capability, bringing global capacity well above demand. Most of the sponge produced in China is destined for commercial and industrial applications rather than aerospace or medical applications, so supply of commercial grade titanium is reasonably secure for the foreseeable future. This situation, in addition to the proliferation of titanium tube welding lines around the world, is likely to add to the case for titanium tubes as an alternative to incumbent materials such as copper/nickel. Market Trends for Copper, Nickel In their paper, Henson and Hancock point out that markets for traditional corrosion-resistant materials (copper, copper/nickel and stainless steel), all of which compete with titanium for various industrial applications, are facing some important supply-side constraints, which could potentially lead to price rises, improving the economics of substitute materials. As such, the trends signal a near-term advantage for titanium. For example, copper supply is strained as resources become scarce and production cost increases. Nickel market dynamics could see some turmoil in the coming months due to export restrictions imposed by Indonesia on laterite ore. Both copper and nickel mines have shown declining yields and growing energy costs translate into increased cost of production. While prices for copper have declined recently, most analysts see this as a temporary development, due mainly to slowing demand from China, as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan to reduce their program of bond purchases. Nickel prices are up over 30 percent, year to date, as a direct result of the unprocessed ore export ban imposed by Indonesia, the world’s largest nickel-ore producer. The global nickel market was rocked in January when the government of Indonesia made good on the long standing threat to restrict export of unprocessed nickel laterite ore. According to some metal market analysts, the logic behind the export ban is that the Indonesian government is attempting to encourage Indonesian mining companies to develop more smelting capacity, which theoretically would help the country transform itself into a producer of higher-value products. In all likelihood, the above-mentioned constraints on supply could begin to take effect as early as 2015. Chinese producers of stainless steel have come to rely on this Indonesian ore supply to produce the nickel pig iron as an alternative to refined nickel for stainless steel production. The export ban for unprocessed ore is a game changer for the nickel industry, because stainless steel producers in China, which account for 50 percent of the global production, now will be forced to use refined nickel. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates current mining operations of conventional copper hold reserves of around 690 million metric tons, most of which is held in the Andes Mountains of South America. In total, known resources could amount to 1.8 billion metric tons, some of which has already been exploited. Current mining operations extract just over 16 million metric tons of contained copper per year with global copper demand for semifinished products estimated at around 25 million metric tons. About 5 million metric tons of that is recycled as directly melted high-grade copper scrap, and around 4 million metric tons of lowgrade scrap passes back into smelting and refining operations. Chile mines around one third of the world’s copper, some of which is further refined. China, meanwhile, has ramped up its smelting and refining operations over the last 10 years to become the world’s largest copper producer. Although output of refined copper grew in 2013 due to the recovery from previous production constraints, the “real” copper supply deficit, adjusted for Chinese bonded stock changes, grew to 450,000 metric tons, compared to a surplus of 300,000 metric tons in 2012. Although there is enough material in stock around the world to cover this deficit, the constraints to new capacity coming online in the future is of greater concern, according to Henson and Hancock. Since 1900, copper demand has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 3.4 percent. Since two thirds of all end-use applications are for electrical components and construction, economic growth and development translates inevitably into copper demand. With China already accounting for 60 percent of primary copper demand, and the Asian giant’s projected long-term economic growth rate expected to remain above 6 percent for at least the next 20 years, it’s highly likely that the business case for substitute materials will improve. Global Energy Demand As for global energy demand, Henson and Hancock cite forecasts by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (Website: http://www.iea.org), which estimates that 19 percent of the world’s population did not have access to electricity in 2010 and 57 percent of the African population remains without access to electricity. In 2010, the Parisbased Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and non-OECD countries each generated half the net electricity produced globally, but by 2050, current non-OECD countries could be generating twice as much as the OECD. To achieve this, developing countries will need to make massive investments in all forms of electricity generation. The World Nuclear Association (Website: http://www.world-nuclear.org), London, predicts that China has almost 30 nuclear reactors planned to give more than a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity by 2020. New capacity also will be required in developed countries as under-investment has meant that a large proportion of operating nuclear plants are reaching the end of their useful life. So while total generation will increase in parallel with demand, growth in the market for new installations and infrastructure may see a step change in the medium term. In summary, Henson and Hancock argue that increasing demand for copper and nickel may not be matched on the supply side due to fundamental constraints in the extraction and processing of copper and nickel raw materials. If this is the case, applications where substitute materials exist are likely see a change in the status quo regarding materials choice. Titanium as an alternative to copper/nickel in heat exchanger equipment is the case in point and could lead to long awaited positive developments in the demand for titanium tubes. VSMPO-Tirus (http://www.vsmpotirus.com) operations provide sales, distribution and service center processing of titanium mill products for VSMPOAVISMA metal to the aerospace, military and medical markets. VSMPO-Tirus has operations in the United Kingdom and Germany. VSMPO AVISMA, the parent company of VSMPO-Tirus, is the world’s leading producer of titanium sponge, ingot and semi-finished titanium alloy products.
DMRL Scientist Creates Platinum Aluminide Coating to Shield Aerospace Engine Parts from Hot Corrosion
Professor Injeti Gurrappa, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, has developed a proprietary industrial coating technology designed to enhance temperature and mechanical properties of titanium and superalloy components used in jet engines. The focus of Gurrappa’s recent work has been to create a “smart” coating for a titanium alloy known as IMI 834, produced by Titanium Metals Corp (TIMET), Exton, PA. According to a technical paper posted in an online technical journal “Science Direct,” December 2013, titled: “Modeling the hot working behavior of near-α (near alpha) titanium alloy IMI 834” (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1002007113001536), this alloy, composed of titanium, aluminum, tin, zirconium, niobium, molybdenum and silicon, “exhibits excellent creep and fatigue properties up to a temperature of 800 C (1472 F). Various rotor (discs, shafts and blades) and stator (rings and blades) components made out of this material are used in the high-pressure compressor region of the aeroengines.” The paper went on to say the alloy’s microstructure, based on tests of a 172 mm-diameter bar, contains 35 to 40 percent primary alpha (Pα) in a transformed beta (Tβ) matrix. Dr. Gurrappa stated this “smart coating” for IMI 834 “provides total protection to gas turbine engine compressor section components against high-temperature oxidation, alpha case formation and hot corrosion, which helps gas turbine engines to exhibit significantly enhanced efficiency by eliminating failures during service.” This developmental work enables IMI 834 to be used extensively and safely for aerospace, industrial and marine gasturbine engines, he added. Interviewed recently, Gurrappa said the chemical composition of his smart coating is a high performance, oxidation resistant platinum aluminide. He explained that gas turbine engine parts are coated in multiple layers via the Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation process. Ion implantation is a well established industrial process that offers the advantage of adding desired element to coat a metal alloy in controlled and reproducible manner, without changing the bulk characteristics of the material. An additional advantage of this ion implantation technique is its ability to coat or treat complex shapes like gas turbine blades. “Multiple layers of platinum and aluminum by electrochemical deposition, followed by aluminizing or sputtering, will enhance the life of titanium alloy components significantly,” he said, adding that he also is developing a new aluminide coating process. As part of his work to create the smart coating, Gurrappa developed an oxidation model to predict the life of titanium alloy IMI 834 components used in gas turbine engines. This model illustrates how the titanium alloy degrades due to the formation of oxide scale as well as alpha case formation. He explained that oxygen dissolution (alpha case formation) in the titanium alloy at elevated temperatures causes parts to become brittle, which can result in failure of the aerospace titanium alloy engine components during service. Summarizing his work, he wrote that his platinum aluminide coating, based on the combination of electrodeposition and pack aluminizing techniques, “has been successfully developed. The oxidation studies clearly showed that the developed coating exhibits an excellent oxidation resistance with minimum weight gain even after prolonged exposure times at 800C.” While the coating process currently is in a more advanced stage of development, Dr. Gurrappa advised it is not yet available in North America. In addition to shielding aerospace engine parts, the coating technology also can be used to boost the performance of titanium alloys for industrial and medical applications. A senior scientist at DMRL for more than 25 years, Gurrappa’s research work has been focused on titanium-based alloys and other advanced materials for aerospace, biomedical and industrial applications. The DMRL, according to information posted on its website, was founded in 1963 to develop and manufacture complex metals and materials required for modern sophisticated warfare and weapon systems. The lab is involved in powder metallurgy-based fabrication and development of alloys, armor and rocket motor steel, aerospace light alloys, and magnetic materials.
Industrial Water Purifications Systems Using Titanium Mesh
Keronite International Ltd., Haverhill, Suffolk, U.K., is developing a technology that utilizes titanium wire mesh as the basis for an efficient photocatalyst for ultraviolet (UV) based “AdvOx” (advanced oxidation) industrial water purification system. According to Keronite executives, this innovation delivers the wellestablished benefits of TiO2 photocatalysts to titanium metal, while it also enhances the characteristics of titanium wire itself (flexibility, conductivity) as a means of improving its performance as an industrial photocatalyst. Dr. James Curran, who served as the global research manager at Keronite, led the development effort. The research effort at Keronite focuses on developing applications using its plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) technology. This technology has extensive applications for light metals such as aluminum and magnesium, primarily to boost wear resistance and corrosion protection. Although it has been used as a coating for titanium dental implants for many years, and there are currently numerous industry and academic research programs exploring wider use for protection of titanium medical implants, the applications of PEO technology to titanium remain limited to a scattering of aerospace and motorsport components, according to Keronite officials. PEO is an electrochemical surface conversion treatment that can be applied to any alloys of aluminum, magnesium or titanium. Metal components are exposed to a liquid electrolyte and an electrical potential is applied to form an oxide-based ceramic. Sparks or discharges are used to modify the ceramic. PEO is comparable to anodizing and thermal oxidation in that it uniformly converts the surface of any titanium component into a TiO2 surface layer. However, the company said PEO has the additional benefits, as this process generates highly crystalline coatings, which early research showed, it can greatly increase surface area. Recently, it was demonstrated that the PEO process can be applied to porous metal structures, and in the case of titanium, specific surface areas, making it a viable industrial catalyst. Keronite uses knitted titanium wire mesh as a raw material. The surface of the wire is converted into a high surface area TiO2 photocatalyst by the application of Keronite’s PEO process. A typical wastewater treatment plant for municipal water uses several hundred units; each unit essentially consisting of a fluorescent UV source, around which the coated titanium mesh is wrapped. While other companies have explored PEO treatment of titanium for photocatalysis at a laboratory level, Keronite has sought commercial application development of its process, and successfully transferred this technology to an industrial application. Advances by the company have made titanium PEO coatings viable for use in industrial wastewater treatment—as demonstrated in recent years within the “Aquacell” project consortium in Europe. Aquacell, a European Union FP7 project, was launched to develop a cost-effective, energy-efficient system for treatment of brewery effluent. FP7, the seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, ran for seven years, from 2007 to 2013. It’s a program designed to foster economic development throughout Europe. Keronite said the Aquacell project has proven that PEO technology is viable on an industrial scale, with a full-scale pilot plant currently installed and operating at a major European brewery. A patent application has been made by the Aquacell project consortium to protect a number of company innovations and Keronite continues its development of the PEO technology for industrial programs. The company explained that the titanium-based photocatalytic “sponges” can be wrapped directly around the standard quartz glass tubes of the fluorescent mercury lamp UV sources, which are used in many industrial water purification systems. The sponges enhance reaction rates for the oxidation of organic contaminants by approximately an order of magnitude. Keronite said this clean, durable technology can replace or minimize the use of ozone gas generators or the need for peroxide addition to wastewater treatment plants, which provides a cost savings and reduces the system’s overall environmental impact. Retaining a metallic core of titanium for the porous TiO2 photocatalyst has the added benefits of making the photocatalyst a flexible yet cohesive solid, which can be wrapped around UV sources for optimal efficiency and flexibility of design. The company explained that, unlike conventional powdered TiO2 photocatalysts, there is no need for filtration or separation to recover the photocatalyst from treated wastewater. It is also possible to use the metallic substrate for electrophoretic cleaning of the photocatalyst, to maintain high performance over time. Opening new markets for titanium As mentioned above, Keronite’s initial demonstration has been for a limited target market of brewery wastewater treatment, with an estimated 1.34 billion hectolitres (35 billion gallons) of beer produced globally. On a larger scale, the estimated annual global market for municipal water treatment is of the order of $360 billion, with municipal water treatment accounting for approximately half of this total. Citing studies and forecasts by “Global Water Intelligence” (Website: http://www.globalwaterintel.com), published by Media Analytics Ltd., Oxford, U.K., it’s estimated $78 billion of global annual municipal water treatment expenditure is capital expenditure. In addition, there are significant estimated capital expenditures for industrial wastewater treatment. Over two-thirds of the global capital expenditure for municipal water treatment is focused in North America and Europe, all of which presents a substantial business opportunity for titanium. In all instances, relatively small volumes of titanium wire mesh would be used (about 100 kg for a typical municipal water plant installation). However, Keronite projected that, even as a surface treatment, this PEO technology can create a high added-value application, opening a large new market for the international titanium industry. According to information posted on its website (http://www.keronite.com), Keronite was incorporated in March 2000 The Keronite technology originated in Russia, where it was developed as part of the space program. In 1998 a new company was established and the intellectual property relating to PEO technology assigned to it. This company became the basis of the Keronite’s current business.
Sipchem Executive Describes Advances in Nickel-Plating Process for Titanium
Mohammad Sakhawat Hussain, Ph.D., the head of the material and corrosion research and development programs at Sipchem, Al-Khobar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has invented a process for electrodepositing nanocrystalline nickel directly onto light metals such as titanium. Through his work at Sipchem, Hussain has created a unique electrochemical process to directly nickel-plate titanium, which offers improvements in the performance of titanium for industrial applications. The improvements identified so far focus on tribological properties (surface enhancements and substrate engineering) such as lubricity; heat reflection; and corrosion resistance in hot acidic environments. Sipchem said there is significant commercial value associated with each of these surface improvements, which can help to expand new industrial applications for titanium. Hussain noted that the common feature of forming an instantaneous and tenacious oxide layer defines a group of metals as “difficult-to-electroplate.” This group of metals include titanium, aluminum, magnesium and various grades of stainless steel. These natural oxide layers are non-conductive and form a barrier that prevents the electro-deposition of nickel. He said that, using his technology, the direct plating of nickel and its alloys onto difficult-to-plate metals has now been achieved using a turbulent electrolyte flow between conforming electrodes in proximity. Providing an abstract on the technology, Hussain said the method of depositing nickel on a metal surface involves providing a source of direct current; connecting the object to the negative terminal; connecting an anode to the positive terminal; and submerging the object and anode in a solution comprising nickel. The anode is positioned at a distance equal to or less than 2 mm from the surface of the object and when the source of direct current is switched on, nickel in the solution comprising nickel is deposited on the surface of the object. The metal object to be plated is placed in an ordinary nickel electrolyte, with a pH typically around 4, in a minimal electroplating bath at 55-70°C, (130 to 160 F), which has been designed to provide high-speed (3-5m/s) turbulent flow of this electrolyte between the object and a conforming anode placed in proximity. No special chemicals or power supply are required and there is no proprietary pretreatment or pre-cleaning. As for specific industrial applications, Hussain said only that he and his company are still exploring various commercial applications and opportunities. He expressed confidence that the technology can be scaled up to meet the rigors of industrial production. “We have focused on defining and protecting the intellectual property. So far, we have one patent granted and three in application, on the direct plating of nickel on aluminum and titanium. For nickel-on-aluminum, commercial applications have been identified with a potential partner, while the commercial application on titanium is a work in progress.” The technology has not yet been licensed to an outside company for titanium. The process created by Hussain has been patented and is patent pending for the United Kingdom and the United States. “At this pre-commercial stage, we cannot specify all the potential benefits of nickel-plated titanium produced by this new process, but we expect to explore these benefits with potential partners as we move forward (with our development efforts),” he continued. “However, we already know that this nickel-plating improves some tribological properties (such as the resistance to galling). Titanium and its alloys used in mechanical engineering applications typically are limited because of its tribological properties, such as poor adhesive wear resistance resulting in galling and cold welding, and high coefficient of friction.” According to Hussain, the tribological performance of titanium can be improved by applying surface treatments and coatings while retaining the desirable attributes of the underlying substrate. He said this process can be applied to any geometry and surface. Appropriate jigs and conforming anodes need to be prepared as is the case with any traditional electroplating business. Hussain earned his Ph.D. from Aston University, Birmingham, U.K. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Metal Finishing, Birmingham, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. London. He has been a speaker at technical conferences in China and Europe. Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem), established in 1999, manufactures and markets methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate monomer, according to information posted on the company website. Sipchem serves customers in the construction, solvents, automotive, electronics, polymer, coatings, and pharmaceutical industries. Sipchem recently unveiled its Sipchem Technology and Creativity Exchange (STCE) at Dhahran Techno Valley of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). This technical center will be a new focus of polymer technology in the Kingdom with its mandate to develop the downstream polymer converting industry in the Kingdom.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TITANIUM USA 2013 Summary
TITANIUM 2013 speakers examine aerospace trends, reflect on the reach and strength of global supply chain TITANIUM 2013, the 29th annual conference and exhibition, which was held Oct. 6-9 at Caesar’s Palace Hotel, Las Vegas, assembled a cast of industry executives and observers who delivered insight into the forces driving the global titanium sector. The gathering, organized by the International Titanium Association (ITA), welcomed 1,182 attendees from more than 25 countries, a slightly higher headcount compared with the 1,107 delegates at TITANIUM 2012, which was held in Atlanta. As usual, trends in commercial aerospace—the titanium industry’s largest market— garnered its share of the spotlight during the proceedings. Guest speakers and panel discussions weighed aerospace forecasts and unfolding market opportunities for players in the titanium business. However, along with the strong interest in aerospace projections, there also was a sense that a greater number of executives and entrepreneurs are becoming more attuned to the subtle, underlying dynamics of the titanium global business. Henry Seiner, vice president of business strategy for Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET), took note of this heightened awareness among conference delegates— especially those who represent the younger, “new generation” of industry leaders. Located at TIMET’s Toronto, OH, facility, Seiner is an industry veteran who oversees TIMET’s marketing, product management, purchasing and production planning operations and has responsibility for all aspects of TIMET’s supply chain. He was a member of the conference’s World Industry Demand Trends panel, and served as the moderator for the World Industry Supply Trends panel. TIMET, a major titanium producer, recently was acquired by Precision Castparts Corp., Portland, OR. Based on his interaction with delegates, Seiner said he detected a greater appreciation for the links in the full breath of the titanium supply chain: feedstock, sponge, master alloys, mill products, part production and scrap. The global supply chain has been fortified and become stronger in the last five years, due to significant investments by the titanium industry. But while there is overall business optimism, led by aerospace programs, industrial applications—heat exchangers, desalination plants, food and chemical processing—have been sluggish due in large part to the “doldrums in world GDP (gross domestic product) growth. We’re all waiting for the party to start,” Seiner said. Seiner’s observations on supply chain issues were echoed throughout the gathering, with speakers on various panels addressing the complexities of international logistics, consolidation trends, the closedloop management of scrap, supplier consolidation, and cost issues. Dawne Hickton, vice chair, president and chief executive officer of RTI International Metals, Inc., Pittsburgh, in her presentation “Commercial Aerostructure Titanium Demand and the new supply chain,” examined “unprecedented potential opportunities”—a record backlog order levels for commercial jets—for the titanium industry. She explained that she viewed international commercial aerospace titanium demand through the lens of the industry’s global supply chain, “because today it is the supply chain and the function of the supply chain that’s impacting today’s titanium demand.” Overall, commercial jets represent a demand level of 40 million pounds of titanium between now and 2018, according to Hickton. Given that projection for business, she posed a question to those in the audience: “Can our supply chain, which is represented in this room, meet that demand?” Hickton said that, as of 2013, there are over 10,000 large commercial jets in the backlog, with aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing accounting for nearly 94 percent of the total. (She noted that, in early October, Airbus announced its first-ever order to a Japanese airline: JAL). “And within that backlog, there is a lot of titanium.” She then ticked off specific titanium levels for major jet platforms (estimates that included fasteners): 180,000 pounds for each double decker A380; 145,000 pounds for the A350; 170,000 pounds for the 787; 120,000 pounds for the new 777 Generation X; and 32,000 pounds for the regional, single-aisle C919. Hickton also provided a chart that illustrated projected numbers for individual jet build rates between 2013 and 2017: 2,400 for the 737; 530 for the 787; 2,460 for the A320; and 255 for the A350. Titanium fits well with the new generation of commercial aerospace design strategies, given the operating efficiency mandates to reduce fuel consumption. Another factor propelling jet build rates is projected global passenger growth, with nearly half of the world’s air traffic coming from the Asia/Pacific region during the next 20 years. Replacement of older, less fuel- efficient aircraft is another factor boosting build rates for the near term. Hickton declared that, “overall, the picture (in commercial aerospace) is very bright for titanium demand.” Much like Seiner, Hickton pondered that state of the titanium industry’s global supply chain, as mentioned above, with her question to conference delegates; in effect, a call for industry leaders to reflect upon current business conditions. Years ago, she said the focus for the titanium supply chain was on how many mill products, ingots, and billets that the industry was going to ship. “Today we are much more interested in the supply chain as we add value to that mill product, whether it is an extrusion, a forging, whether we are welding a part, finally machining a part and assembling it. Can the supply chain for the titanium industry meet the demands? There are lots of moving parts with plenty of opportunity for bottlenecks.” Supplier consolidation represents one of the “seismic changes” in the new titanium supply chain. Hickton cited Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s (ATI) acquisition of forging house Ladish, and Precision Castparts’ acquisition of Timet and Wyman Gordon. In addition, during the last two years, RTI also has been active on the acquisition trail and expanded its downstream operations with its purchase of Osborn Steel Extrusions (in October 2013), Remmele Engineering (in January 2012) and Aeromet International (in December 2011). She also identified scrap revert of aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as another aspect of consolidation. “It used to be you could tell what was going on in the titanium industry just by watching the price of scrap,” she said. “Not so much anymore. So much of the scrap, as a result of the supplier consolidation, is maintained within a closed loop that the impact of what’s going on in the public purchasing of scrap has less of an impact on how we focus on the demand for the product.” Hickton also pondered the “far flung” logistics of managing a global supply chain as being a challenge for OEMs and the titanium industry. Offering one example, she said a mill product might start in Ohio; travel to Texas for an extrusion; go to Kentucky or Pennsylvania for further processing; land in Montreal for machining; and then end up in Japan or Europe for additional applications. Oliver Dreier, metallic materials and castings procurement manager for Airbus, expanding on the presentation by Hickton, forecasted that there will be a demand for more than 29,200 new commercial aircraft during the next 20 years, representing a total market value of $4.4 trillion. Dreier broke down the estimated demand into three categories of aircraft: 20,240 single-aisle; 7,270 twin-aisle; and 1,710 “large.” Speaking from the Airbus perspective, he said that vertical integration will be a key differentiating factor for supplier selection. Firm prices are the baseline, along with “very demanding requirements” from the global aerospace supply chain. Hunter R. Dalton, Executive Vice President, ATI High Performance Specialty Materials Group, Monroe, NC, discussed how titanium must adapt in order to meet the demands of next generation, fuel efficient commercial jet engines. According to Dalton, titanium will remain a material of choice for engine components even as engine temperatures continue to rise. He examined the current market specifications and forecasts for jet engine deliveries, underlining the rise of “green” engine designs that reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption as well as higher operating temperatures as being critical factors for the future design of jet engines. Higher operating temperatures will spur a demand for more nickel-based and titanium alloys per engine and a wider use of superalloys (generally defined as alloy combinations that contain iron, cobalt and nickel). Superalloys are likely to be specified for jet engine combustors, shafts, high- pressure compressors, and highpressure turbine/low-pressure turbine. New generations of high-performance titanium alloys are expected to be the material of choice for engine fan and compressor cases, disks, impellers, forged compressor blades, vanes, and fasteners. Regarding the demand for harder, higher performance titanium alloys, the industry must address the fabrication challenges from these materials, namely increased difficulty in machining, according to Robert Cohen, CEO, TECT Aerospace, Wichita, KA. This will require enhanced techniques such as the development of customized machine tools and software programs that measure and adapt to real-time machining conditions—“smart machining”. Michael G. Metz, president, VSMPOTirus U.S. Inc., Highlands Ranch, CO, provided insights on titanium demand in the Russian Federation. Much like North America, aerospace remains the primary market sector spurring titanium demand in Russia, along with power generation, shipbuilding, and general industrial applications. Russian aerospace demand, which includes the production of aircraft, engines, rockets and helicopters, will top 9,000 metric tons by 2018, compared with just under 8,000 metric tons in 2013. Russia’s projected demand for titanium, which includes aerospace and general industry, is expected to reach 14,000 metric tons by 2016, compared with 12,000 metric tons in 2013. Kevin J. Cain, president, Uniti Titanium, Moon Township, PA, reviewed titanium demand from major industrial business sectors. A producer of titanium mill products, Uniti Titanium is a joint venture between ATI and VSMPO. Cain estimated that, during the next five years, heat transfer equipment will consume 3,500 to 5,000 metric tons of titanium, while demand for power generation (nuclear, standard thermal, combined cycle gas) will register up to 8,000 metric tons during the same time period. Near-term average annual consumption of titanium in the chemical process industry will range from 9,500 to 12,000 metric tons, while annual titanium demand for desalination projects will range from 750 to 2,000 metric tons over the next five years. Distinguished Speakers
Keynote speaker Kevin Michaels, vice president, ICF International, Fairfax, VA, discussed how aircraft programs and global trends will affect near-term demand for titanium. Overall, Michaels projected the worldwide average for air travel will grow by nearly 4 percent through 2022, fueled by demand from travelers in Asia/Pacific, Africa, South America and the Middle East. By contrast, Michaels described North America and Europe as “mature” air travel markets, with slower annual growth rates. He defined the aerospace industry’s current total material demand in “buy weight” at 1.44 billion pounds, dominated by aluminum alloys and steel alloys. Titanium alloys represent a 10-percent slice of that pie. Airframe production now accounts for 66 percent of total titanium demand (145 million pounds) followed by production of aerospace engines (27 percent) and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services. Michaels anticipated aircraft demand for titanium will grow 4.6 percent through 2023, reaching an estimated “buy weight” of 225 million pounds, led by the needs of airframe production. Among the important developments in the global aerospace supply chain, Michaels underlined plans by Airbus to construct a new 116-acre, $600-million facility in Mobile, AL. According to information on the Airbus website, the facility, slated to come online in 2015, will focus on the final assembly of its A319, A320 and A321 planes. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in April 2013 for the Brookley Aeroplex plant, which is expected to house 1,000 “high-skill” workers. Michaels did point to additive manufacturing technology as a “long-term” area of interest for the aerospace industry, citing General Electric Co. as having committed to an investment of $3.5 billion during the next five years, presumably to weigh its potential for developing engine components. John P. Byrne, vice president of aircraft materials and structures, supplier management, for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, one of the distinguished speakers at the conference, said that, through the year 2032, airlines will need more than 35,000 new airplanes (project deliveries) valued at $4.8 trillion—a forecast that bodes well for the titanium industry. He oversees the purchase of raw materials, standards, fabricated parts, assemblies and major structures for all Boeing Commercial Airplane programs. As for the aerospace giant’s titanium strategy, Byrne underlined that Boeing is focused on a closed-loop scrap solution, with in-house scrap collection and revert considered critical for success. Boeing, he said, is “actively protecting its input supply.” Ultimately, when it comes to sourcing titanium, he said Boeing is looking to achieve a “system balance,” which takes into account demand, ordering inventory, and revert. Another Boeing executive and distinguished speaker, Michael Warner, director, market analysis for Boeing Co., sought to identify underlying growth factors for the airline industry. This year, global airlines will carry three billion passengers. He cited “low-cost” carriers as being a major factor fueling growth in the airline business, with much of the demand coming from India, China and emerging Asian markets. He’s responsible for Boeing’s annual publication, the Current Market Outlook, which describes the long-term demand for air travel and the resulting demand for new aircraft. Warner displayed a chart that declared air travel today is “safer, greener and still a bargain.” Using the year 1990 as a baseline, Warner’s chart indicated fatal accidents and air fares have declined during the last 23 years, while the fuel efficiency of planes has soared. In particular, he pointed to the advent of the Boeing 737 MAX platform, which he touted as having an expanded flight range, along with reduced fuel consumption and noise. The build for the 737 MAX will begin in 2015. The new plane is scheduled to enter into service by 2017. He also cited the Boeing 777X as the next great airplane, underlining its larger, fourthgeneration composite wing and advanced GE engine with laminar-flow nacelles. The third distinguished speaker, James Glassman, managing director and head economist for commercial banking at Chase Bank, provided charts that illustrated an improving global economic picture since the deep downturn of 2009. According to Glassman, “the global pulse is quickening,” with household net worth, housing starts, vehicle sales and employment levels all moving in a positive direction. At the same time, inflation appears to be in check, he said. Supply Trends During his summary remarks as the moderator for the supply trends panel, Seiner focused on the economic interrelationship between titanium scrap and sponge. In recent years, he said sponge has become more expensive, driven by the pigment market, while scrap has been relatively cheap, due to the overhang of inventory in the aerospace business, along with sluggish capital investments in industrial markets. Understanding the interplay and delicate balance of scrap/ sponge supply trends has “become more important to more people in the titanium business.” He identified this interplay as one of the “significant interdependencies” that affect the global titanium feedstock, sponge, master alloys and scrap markets. He proposed that leaders in the titanium industry need to better define and monitor these underlying connections “in order to estimate the future of these highly volatile elements of the titanium mill products supply chain.” However, Seiner pointed out that, due to the various consolidations that have taken place in recent years, “the amount of market information being released into the public domain by titanium producers and consumers is, in many cases, more limited than it has been in the recent past.” Philip Dewhurst, associate consultant, Roskill Information Services Ltd., London, provided a detailed roadmap of titanium sponge production and trends. According to his forecast, global production of titanium will reach 310,000 metric tons by 2018; of that overall total, about a third or 100,000 metric tons will be sponge for aerospacegrade titanium. He said that, after falling to 123,500 metric tons in 2009, annual global supply of titanium sponge rose by an average of 26.5 percent per year, from 2010 to 2012, to reach 241,000 metric tons. As a result, by 2012 there was a global sponge surplus of 20,000 metric tons, which consisted mainly of industrial or standard material produced in China. Sponge output in 2013 is expected to fall to about 230,000 metric tons due to growing inventories and slowing demand. Dewhurst outlined key factors driving the global supply of titanium sponge. He said there are more than 20 worldwide producers of sponge, including 14 in China, three in the United States, two in Japan and Russia, and one each in Kazakhstan and Ukraine. In addition, India, in recent years, has started ramping up sponge production. Most of China’s output is of industrial or standard grade sponge for its domestic market. Most sponge production in Japan, Russia and Kazakhstan it is largely aerospace grade, which ultimately is earmarked for export. In the United States, he said three companies produce sponge for the domestic North American market—an overall, estimated production capacity of 34,000 metric tons per year— but noted that most U.S. requirements for sponge are imported. Dewhurst said TIMET’s sponge capacity at its Henderson, NV, plant is 12,600 metric tons, with most of it dedicated for its own use to produce aerospace grades of titanium. ATI produces sponge at its Albany, OR, plant (10,000 metric tons per year) and its Rowley, UT, facility (11,000 metric tons per year), with most of that capacity for standard grades. Honeywell Electronic Materials, at its Salt Lake City installation, has a sponge capacity of 300 metric tons per year, which is used to create high- purity electronic grades of titanium. Offering a profile of other major sponge producers, he said China has an overall capacity of 147,000 metric tons per year, with most of its sponge used domestically for industrial titanium applications. Dewhurst said exports of sponge from China are small, but beginning in 2012, a growing amount is being converted to mill products for export. Japan’s annual sponge production capacity is 68,000 metric tons for aerospace and industrial applications. About half of Japan’s sponge production goes to export sales. VSMPO Avisma is Russia’s largest sponge producer—an annual capacity of 44,000 metric tons—for aerospace and industrial use, much of which is exported. Ukraine’s annual capacity for standard sponge is 12,000 metric tons, produced mainly for export, with nearterm plans for an additional 20,000 metric tons of sponge, some of which will be aerospace grade. Kazakhstan has an annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons, with domestic melting slated to reduce sponge exports. In India, fledgling sponge production by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. calls for an initial annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons. Guido Löber, managing director, titanium alloys and coatings, GfE Metalle und Materialien GmbH, Nuremberg, Germany, presented a European perspective for titanium master alloys, regarding their production, application and the current supplier base. Lober defined a master alloy as containing two or more elements with a defined composition—a semi-finished product manufactured for use as a raw material by the titanium industry. He pointed out that a master alloy is not a commodity and without master alloys, which are engineered to provide enhanced material-performance properties (higher strength, heat and corrosion resistance) there are no titanium alloys. “The titanium industry requires a healthy master alloy supplier base,” he declared, adding that “commitments along the supply chain are essential. At the end of the day, the message that ‘prices must go down’ is much too simple.” Regarding necessary commitments to the supply chain, Lober said suppliers to master alloy producers are expected to provide clear strategic commitments in order to support the titanium industry with a sustained supply of consistent quality materials. He encouraged suppliers to show more flexibility regarding pricing (fixed prices, formula prices, settlement basis) as well as demonstrate the willingness to share in commercial risks. “We, as master alloy producers, must balance the expectations of our customers and the capabilities of our raw material suppliers while taking into consideration our own constraints provide our products to specification, on time and at a price level manageable for all participants of the supply chain,” he said. “We must be innovative in developing technical solutions for present and future master alloy requirements as well as leading cost reduction programs.” According to Lober, master alloy producers also have expectations from their customers. These expectations include balancing purchasing orders within the approved and certified supplier base; understanding and accepting the influence of currency exchange rates with regard to master alloy pricing; intensifying cooperation with the master alloy producers in areas such as an early involvement in research and development activities and developing reliable mid-term and longterm forecasts. Lober said customers play an important role in helping master alloy producers adjust their capabilities and capacities at the right time, which ultimately will provide more sustainable economic benefits for all involved, “because we cannot simply turn (our master alloy development and production efforts) on and off.” Dennis Plester, manager, minerals marketing, Mineral Sand Sales division of Tronox, Sandton, South Africa, discussed his company’s Fairbreeze Mine project. Depending on the timing of regulatory approval and subsequent construction, the Fairbreeze mine could be operational in the second half of 2014 and have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years,” Plester said. Tronox, which has its corporate offices in Stamford, CT, is a global supplier of TiO2 via chloride technology and titanium feedstock (synthetic rutile, natural rutile, slag, ilmenite). It operates five mineral sands mines and processing facilities—three in South Africa and two in Australia. During his presentation, Plester said that while the main application for titanium feedstock is titanium dioxide pigment production (86 percent), the remaining 14 percent is evenly divided between titanium sponge production and welding consumables. He pointed out that, historically, the three feedstock consumption sectors have had different purchasing practices due to their production requirements and product specification. “Based on existing production and approved projects, there will be a slight oversupply until 2015/2016, but this can change quickly with only minor changes in production or demand.” Plester confirmed that Tronox is committed to bringing new feedstock supplies online, citing the Fairbreeze project. David McCoy, managing consultant and director for TZ Minerals International, Perth, Australia, presented a paper, “Titanium Value Chain: Sand to Melted Products,” which reviewed how sponge producers have seen “an unprecedented surge in cost” for titanium minerals during the last two years. “First it was rutile; more recently, the price for other high-titanium content feedstocks used for sponge has become more expensive as legacy contracts expire.” According to McCoy, manufacturing costs to produce sponge have changed so much in recent years that sponge companies have started to explore alternative, lower cost feedstock sources. The challenge, he said, is that any alternative feedstock must meet industry requirements to produce high-quality sponge. McCoy’s talk complemented the presentation by Dewhurst. Referencing overall 2012 global sponge production levels, McCoy identified China (36 percent), Japan (25 percent) and Russia (20 percent) as the top three producers of sponge. By way of comparison, the United States accounts for just 5 percent of total global sponge production. TZ Minerals International is a global consulting company with offices in the United States, Australia, Europe, Africa and China. “Closing the Loop,” a paper by David Rose, general manager, Caledonian Alloys Inc., Monroe, NC, focused on the strategic management of industrial scrap and waste streams, to “collect, process, and return to the designated melt facility where it can be best used to support the customer and the supplier. The scope of ‘closing the loop’ includes all customer and supplier melt facilities, forge facilities, machining facilities, and finishing facilities. It can even be extended into the ‘end of life’ recycling process.” Rose spelled out revert management “cradle to grave” solutions provided by Caledonian Alloys and PCC Revert Group, which encompasses cost and quality benefits. Caledonian Alloys provides management and consulting services for superalloy and titanium alloy recycling for the aerospace, land-based turbine, and chemical industries. His “bullet point” recommendations indicated long-term agreements for revert services are essential, along with the need to select a provider that functions as a full-service manager. When it comes to scrap management, “full service” is a concept that includes taking responsibility for onsite scrap collections, logistics, processing and certification, as well as competent inventory management, he said. Selecting a full-service provider is essential for realizing the benefits of a revert closed-loop system and controlling metal waste streams. Segregation of materials is critical to improving the value of the material. Full control of site activities means no “leakage” within a company’s supply chain. Overview of Asian Markets Several speakers in the Overview of Asian Markets Panel provided insights on market conditions and business trends in South Korea, China and India. Chris Lim, on behalf of Jae Hwa Ryu, director of South Korean steel producer Posco, said South Korean net imports of titanium products (scrap, powder, ferrotitanium and mill products) reached nearly 20,000 metric tons in 2012, down from about 23,000 metric tons in the previous year. The market size for South Korean titanium mill products is 8,000 metric tons. Titanium demand is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 2 percent through 2015. Founded in 1968, Posco has diversified its product line to include titanium, magnesium and stainless steel. Helen Cao, general manager of Shanghai Huaxia Industry Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China, said overall Chinese consumption of titanium in 2012 reached 50,000 metric tons, reflecting a rapid rate of growth compared with consumption of 23,000 metric tons in 2009. Cao estimated current titanium production levels in China at 57,000 metric tons for sponge and 50,000 metric tons for ingot. She said the market demand for titanium in China is likely to decline 5 percent during the next five years, due in part to a greater focus on higher-quality, lower-volume titanium products. Deependra Singh, marketing manager for Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (IREL), Mumbai, India, said the company operates three titanium feedstock mineral separation plants, with annual production levels of 536,000 metric tons for ilmenite and 23,100 metric tons for rutile. In addition to IREL, there are four other Indian producers of titanium feedstock: Beach Minerals; KMML; Trimax; and VV Minerals. Overall titanium feedstock production in India (all five producers) is estimated at 1.2 million metric tons for ilmenite and 39,100 metric tons for rutile. Singh also noted IREL recently launched a rare earths plant in India. According to online reports, IREL has a 10,000-metric-ton capacity monazite processing plant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Monazite is a phosphate mineral containing the rare earth metals cerium, lanthanum, and thorium. China is the major source of rare earths, which are acknowledged to be strategic industrial materials. Rare earth elements have applications in hybrid cars and electric vehicles, consumer electronic devices, lasers and fiber optic technologies, and defense applications. Medical Applications Speakers in the Medical Applications Panel identified strong business opportunities for titanium, especially in the fields of implants and joint replacements, all of which are expected to demonstrated continued near-term growth, especially in North America, to serve the medical needs of the aging Baby Boomer population. Panel moderator Jeff Wise, vice president of sales and marketing for Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, interviewed prior to the start of the conference, underlined the importance of the medical sector as a high-growth field for the titanium industry. Wise pointed out that while many business markets have suffered significant deterioration and employment cutbacks in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis, the medical industry continues to expand. However, while titanium’s nearterm opportunities in the medical field are lucrative, several speakers offered words of caution regarding downward cost pressures and challenges to the global supply chain for medical devices. Robert J. Daigle, senior vice president, Structure Medical, LLC, Naples, FL, said the United States orthopedic market is valued at $15 billion. Structure Medical is a producer of medical implants used to treat injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Daigle outlined how medical device manufacturers are under mounting pressure to reduce costs—a trend that would impact the titanium industry. He said stakeholders in the healthcare industry “are communicating their plans to seek less expensive alternatives to brand-name medical devices that could provide similar clinical outcomes, potentially squeezing profits from manufacturers and the supply chain. “Medical device manufacturers are reporting increasing pressure to lower prices, driven by stakeholders’ interest in lowering their cost,” he continued. “This pressure is being driven down through the supply chain. Hospital sustainability depends on their ability to reduce cost.” Daigle said that many hospitals and regional medical centers are acquiring physician offices, healthcare facilities and surgery centers. He urged titanium companies that do business in the medical field to concentrate on supply-chain issues. “Remove the waste from your operations. Make it easy and cost efficient to do business with your company. Work closely with your customers to identify waste, and then remove it. Provide your customers with solutions; if not, someone else will.” Haden Janda, senior materials engineer, advanced surgical devices, Smith and Nephew, a global medical technology company in Memphis, TN, presented a paper titled “Titanium as a Metal of Choice for Medical Implants: Present and Future.” Janda, who has authored 20 scientific publications, reviewed the basic medical applications for titanium: orthopaedic reconstruction (joint replacement systems for knees, hips, and shoulders); trauma (products that help repair broken bones); sports medicine (minimally invasive surgery of joints); and advanced wound management (wound care treatment and prevention products used to treat hardto-heal wounds). Janda also provided an overview on a medical technology known as “osseointegration,” which utilizes porous titanium coatings. He said the technology involves the application of spherical or asymmetric commercially pure titanium beads. The beads are sintered onto the bonecontacting surface of implants, which then promote bone ingrowth (osteoconductive). Janda reported Smith and Nephew registered sales of more than $4 billion in 2012. Stanley Abkowitz, chairman and chief executive officer of Dynamet Technology Inc., Burlington, MA, described how leading-edge powder metal manufacturing techniques can create “custom engineered titanium compositions and structures with useful combinations of properties, not producible by traditional melt processing. This approach provides the opportunity for new materials-based solutions for the medical device designer to overcome the limitations of current material options in the design and manufacture of higher performing medical device products.” Carlos Toledo, global commodity manager, Stryker Implants Division, discussed that challenges in developing a comprehensive supply chain to meet quality deliverables for the medical market. He said key attributes for suppliers include logistical support and complying with quality assurance systems associated with medical products. He also cited the trend of reducing costs and supplier consolidation, noting that from 2010 to 2013 there was a 30-percent decline in the number of suppliers in the medical supply chain. Stryker Corp., a designer and manufacturer of medical devices based in Kalamazoo, MI, has been active on the acquisition front to expand its reach and global supply chain capabilities. According to online news reports, last March Stryker completed its acquisition of Chinesebased Trauson Holdings Co. Ltd. Trauson, founded in 1986, is a leading manufacturer of instruments and implants for trauma and spine. In addition, The Wall Street Journal, in its Sept. 25, 2013 edition, reported that Stryker agreed to acquire Mako Surgical Corp. and its robotic-surgery platform, “a move aimed at distinguishing Stryker’s line of replacement knees and hips for its increasingly cost-conscious hospital customers.” A Stryker spokeswoman, quoted in the article, said that the addition of Mako would help it cater to hospital and insurance executives who increasingly want new devices to help reduce overall costs. Mill Processing/Melting Henrik Franz, head of research and development for the Metallurgy Division of ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH, reviewed recent advances in plasma technology for the remelting and processing of reactive metals and the production of titanium alloys and identified specific projects. For 2013, he cited the development and startup of 400 kW plasma torch for powder production at GKSS Research Center, Geesthacht, Germany; a 1200 kW, three-torch furnace at IMR Shenyang, China; and a 1.6 MW helium torch for ALD’s testing facility in Hanau, Germany. In describing these advanced plasma systems, he touted the technology for its improved control of alloy, a lower risk of contamination, higher yields and the enhanced capability to handle titanium aluminides. In the summary of his presentation, he said plasma torches are now available in a range of 35 to 1600 kW, representing a market-driven expansion of ALD’s product portfolio. Hansjörg Rau, senior vice president, Outokumpu VDM GmbH, Essen, Germany, discussed “quality assured production of Ti-6Al-4V in an electron beam (EB) furnace.” His presentation focused on the highvolume utilization of titanium scrap, saying that Outokumpu’s EB cold hearth remelting furnace has a maximum capacity is 5,000 metric tons per year. The furnace’s recycled feedstream includes sponge, cobbles and compacted chips. The EB furnace features an automatic beam-power distribution control system and a melting rate of 1,600 kilograms per hour, with the capability to produce ingots and slab. However, Rau acknowledged that the melting of the Ti-6Al-4V alloy in an EB furnace is a challenge. He said the most important issue is to control the alloy’s aluminum content because of its “pronounced evaporation” rate during the melting process. Guihong Qin of Baosteel Special Materials Co. Ltd. of China outlined results of her company’s research of hot tandem rolling of TC6 bars, which she described as a heat-resistant titanium alloy. The research work focused on the alloy’s microstructure. She provided snapshots of Baosteel’s tandem rolling and forging presses. Of three trial methods, she identified one production line, which includes open and radial forging presses and a tandem rolling station, as successfully meeting the specifications of microstructure and mechanical properties of TC6 bars. Piet Kooman, sales and marketing director for Timesavers International BV, Goes, the Netherlands, presented information on coated abrasive media designed with a specific orientation, rather than a random orientation, which provides higher stock removal rates. The Timesavers system uses mineral oil, which improves the abrasive’s cutting action. He said a key feature for the system is a vacuum table that can accurately hold complex flat parts. Award Winners During the festivities of TITANIUM 2013, the ITA presented its annual awards to two distinguished members of the titanium industry. J. Landis Martin received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Stanley Abkowitz was the recipient of the Applications Development Award. In 2005, Martin stepped down after serving 16 years as chairman and chief executive officer of TIMET. He later formed Platte River Equity, a Denver-based firm that invests in companies involved in the metals, chemicals, manufacturing, infrastructure and energy services sectors. Martin maintains a positive outlook for the titanium industry and plans to remain as an active participant in its ongoing global growth. He anticipates the industry will continue to make strides to bolster its global infrastructure for production and supply-chain management. Recalling the early days of his career, Martin said he always had a “fascination” with titanium’s superior properties as an industrial material of choice, especially for commercial and military aerospace applications. “Today there’s still nothing that can replace titanium in the aerospace market,” he said. The founder, president and chief executive officer of Dynamet Technology Inc., Burlington MA, Stanley Abkowitz has pioneered the development and application of titanium powder metal technology for four decades. Dynamet recently garnered approval by aerospace giant Boeing Co. through Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA) after an extensive evaluation of Dynamet’s Ti-6Al-4V alloy product and development. This effort resulted in Dynamet becoming the sole qualified supplier for Ti-6Al-4V powder metal products, meeting the requirements of the Boeing Material Specification. Abkowitz said acceptance of powder metal titanium as a substitute for conventional Ti-6Al-4V mill products or forgings for use in aerospace is more than just a personal honor; he feels it marks a new era for the use of titanium powder metal technology in the aerospace industry. “The 29th annual ITA Titanium conference attracted a record number of attendees this year in the historically popular spot of Las Vegas,” Paddock continued. “Delegates gathered to hear industry leading executives present their outlook on supply and demand trends as well as over 80 papers presented on other pertinent topics relating to the titanium industry. The conference had record turnout, the content of the speaker panels was extremely robust, the distinguished speakers were the leading experts in their respective fields and the networking opportunities, once again, proved to be the best in the industry. Attendees clearly left the conference with a firm understanding of trends in the markets that affect their businesses.” As outlined during conference presentations, Paddock concurred that the commercial aerospace market “continues to be the main demand driver in the titanium industry with a very positive outlook for a four to five year period of increased consumption. However, not all markets were positive, with fairly weak near-term demand in the industrial market, excess inventory in the airframe sector, and shipments into the aero engine spares market being negatively impacted by legacy parts. The military and defense market is forecasted to be a bit stronger than had been anticipated. All in all, the industry should see a strong growth period for the foreseeable future, with much of the potential coming in late 2014 and 2015.” Based in Denver, CO, and led by Jennifer Simpson, executive director, the ITA will sponsor two conferences in 2014. The TITANIUM EUROPE 2014 conference and exhibition will be held May 19-21, 2014 at the Hilton Sorrento Palace Hotel in, Via S. Antonio 13, Sorrento, Italy. Separately, in North America, TITANIUM 2014 is slated to run Sept. 21-24, 2014 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The gathering in Chicago will mark the 30th TITANIUM forum in North America. Call the ITA at (303) 404-2221 or visit the organization’s Web site (www.titanum.org) for more information on submitting papers, reserving exhibition space and early registration
Academic Poster Session Highlights Grad Students’ R&D in Industrial Apps
Among the missions of the International Titanium Association (ITA) are the promotion of new applications and material processing technologies for titanium and the recognition of research projects that contribute to these advances. These goals often intersect in academia, and at the Sorrento Conference this May, the ITA Education Committee welcomed five graduate students’ Research and Development exhibits. Students presented Posters covering work on titanium machining, titanium jewelry creation and the use of titanium in race car components. The event also allowed them to take advantage of industry networking opportunities with the more than 400 conference attendees. The ITA sponsored their conference registrations and travel expenses. “The Student Poster contest provides a unique and creative way for aspiring young engineers and technologists to present detail of their work to the broader professional ITA membership,” said Graham Walker, AMETEK-Reading Alloys and Co-Chair of the ITA Education Committee. “The resulting exposure on both sides often leads to mutual further interest and communication, and helps nurture the next generation of future leaders into our industry.” TWO APPROACHES FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN TITANIUM MACHINING Elio Chiappini and Stefano Tirelli presented two “complementary strategies for improving machinability and profitability of titanium and its alloys.” They included both simulation and experimental activities in their project. “We consider the research results very interesting for industrial applications in titanium manufacturing.” Because titanium is hard to cut, due to its low thermal conductivity, alloys (specifically Ti6-4 in this research) require relatively low cutting speeds to avoid massive tool wear. Tirelli’s investigation compared turning with traditional oil-water coolant to cryogenic machining, with liquid nitrogen as the cooling medium. “The results showed that cryogenic machining is able to increase tool life with respect to wet cutting,” Tirelli said. It also reduces environmental impacts. In addition, current low cutting speeds reduce profitability in machining Ti6-4. Chiappini’s work focused on cutting techniques that enhance the material removal rate. “A strategy of higher cutting depths could be used if not for the vibration caused by regenerative chatter,” he noted. His research examined the chatter suppression method of Sinusoidal Spindle Speed Variation (SSSV), which uses a non-constant cutting speed. The effects of this technique on the tool were examined using Finite Element simulations and experimentally validated in dry turning tests. Compared with Constant Speed Machining, SSSV fosters better tool wear mechanisms. Chiappini and Tirelli emphasized that the cryogenic and SSSV machining techniques could be implemented simultaneously and the Finite Element Method simulations they ran could be useful for predicting thermal and mechanical loads. “The ITA Conference presented us with the occasion to meet experts and businesspeople from the titanium production sector, enlarging the possibilities of partnership,” Tirelli and Chiappini observed. Both hold Master’s degrees from Politecnico de Milano and pursue their research activities at the MUSP Laboratory, Piacenza, Italy. FORMING AND FINISHING TECHNIQUES FOR NEW TITANIUM JEWELRY DESIGN “Jewelry design represents an area where artistic and handcrafted approaches coexist with titanium’s industrial base,” stated Paola Garbagnoli, a Design and Engineering Graduate of Politecnico Di Milano who also received her Ph.D. from that university in 2014. She exhibited a Poster developed with four other graduates of the school (Valeria Masconale, Maria Vittoria Diamanti, Barbara Del Curto and MariaPia Pedeferri) which showcased the testing and results of using laser melting and anodic oxidation – typical engineering techniques – to create titanium jewelry. Laser melting technologies are currently employed in mechanical and biomedical applications, as they enable manufacture of extremely complex shapes with high precision. Coupled with 3D computer-aided modeling, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) allows a jewelry designer to build desired shapes by layering titanium powders. Since molds are not required, the method is well suited to fabricating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, Garbagnoli said. “The application of SLM in jewelry design is very interesting and advantageous.” After SLM processing, the pieces underwent finishing tests that included electro-polishing, tumbling, sandblasting and peening. “Each procedure creates a very particular effect and when this is combined with anodic coloring, the jewel can further increase in value,” she continued. The electrochemical anodizing of titanium leads to a range of aesthetically appealing, iridescent surface colors. It also makes the jewelry surface biocompatible and anallergenic, which are important characteristics for contact with the skin. “Our project was developed in collaboration with designers, materials engineers and chemical engineers: indeed, the aim of the work was the identification and development of innovative applications for titanium. Thanks to its chemical and physical properties, a fascinating material such as titanium is very promising for jewelry design,” Garbagnoli concluded. TITANIUM RACE CAR COMPONENTS FOR WEIGHT, PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS Formula SAE is a circuit race organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers for single-seat, open-wheel cars designed and built by university students. Members of the University of Perugia, Italy’s racing team, Antonio Malizia and Alessandro Cimarello, recognized that titanium, with its high yield-strength-to-density ratio, could be used to achieve performance advantages in this event. Their Poster detailed their design and production of titanium wheel hubs and suspension rockers for the RB11.1 car of the Unipg Racing Team. “The car raced the 2013 Formula SAE Italy Official competition at the Varano de Melegari circuit less than two years after the kick-off of the project,” Malizia and Cimarello noted. Francesco Fantozzi, Faculty Advisor for the project, explained that the SAE race “was designed to bridge the gap between the solid background in engineering disciplines provided by the University and application in the industry. It introduces engineering students to practical industrial design by engaging them in a competition of race cars which are designed, constructed and run. The goal, in brief: to build the most competitive, and safe, vehicle for the least cost.” The two students’ choice of titanium for unsprung wheel hubs was made because of the weight reduction it realized versus steel hubs. Titanium reduced the total weight of the four hubs “the equivalent of reducing the overall weight of the car by 10%, to produce a remarkable increase in driveability and grip performance,” Cimarello and Malizia said. The hubs are made from Grade 5 titanium machined from billet, then heat treated and turned to meet final tolerances. The feedstock for the hubs was provided by ITA member and sponsor company TiFast. Marco Costanzi of the company commented, “TiFast always tries to collaborate with academic institutions.” He added, “The TiFast billet was first machined in a semi-finished form by one of the sponsoring machining companies, annealed and stress relieved by TiFast , then finished by the same machine shop. In this way the wheel hubs reached an optimum of dimensional retention, surface finish and mechanical properties. The parts were a perfect fit for the car and performed as designed during the competition.” For the suspension rockers, titanium was used to increase mechanical strength compared to previously-used aluminum, with a negligible increase in sprung mass. “The goal was to reach the right compromise between light weight and strength,” the students explained. “The titanium increased the component reliability enough to race the Varano de Melegari circuit without damage.” The rocker plates were water-jet cut from Grade 4 slab, which was less expensive than machining from billet, and then epoxied to an aluminum bushing. Stress-strain analysis of the hubs and suspension rockers was accomplished using Finite Element Methods and the loads used in design were calculated with software that simulated vehicle dynamics on a lap of the circuit. “It’s a great opportunity, for recent graduates as we are, to participate in this ITA conference,” Cimarello and Malizia said. “And to meet principal players in the industry, be updated on advanced and innovative technology and give our little contribution to this wonderful event.”
Taking Aim at Firearms Market, NEMO Utilizes Titanium to ‘Wow’ its Customers
When NEMO Arms Inc. was founded in 2011, the company decided to shoot for a “splash and wow” introduction by unveiling the NEMO Ti One semiautomatic, 308-caliber, ARstyle rifle, which featured an eye-catching titanium body. However, Josh Sonju, the vice president of research and development at the Kalispell, MT, firearm manufacturer, readily admitted the gun primarily was a showcase piece and marketing tool designed catch the eye of military and civilian customers, as well other manufacturers in this industrial niche. “While it is a gun we created to sell, its price point puts it a bit out of reach for the mass market; that said, its main function is as a statement piece that is taking the gun industry by storm,” according to a statement on the NEMO Arms website. “Talk is cheap, titanium isn’t. The NEMO Ti One is meant to be a demonstration of our engineering and manufacturing superiority.” Touting its “engineering and manufacturing superiority,” Sonju said many of his associates at NEMO include engineering personnel and factoryfloor technicians with vast experience in the aerospace industry and a high degree of familiarity with the design and production of titanium parts. Much like other industrial sectors, titanium’s signature properties of light weight, high strength and corrosion resistance make it a material of choice at NEMO for select applications—rifle components such as firing pins, muzzle breaks, flash hiders and charging handles. For certain parts, NEMO uses outside contractors to provide vapor deposition of titanium nitride coatings. Aside from the Ti One, the company’s most noteworthy use of titanium is found in its rifle suppressors, which are attached to the end of the gun barrel to reduce firing noise. The suppressor, engineered with complex, internal sound baffles, is designed and manufactured for NEMO by GEMTECH Inc., Boise, ID. The suppressor is 90-percent titanium and also includes Inconel, a nickel/chromium alloy, for the blast chamber. Casey Foster, GEMTECH director of special projects, said that, compared with stainless steel, titanium offers a 50-percent reduction of weight for a rifle suppressor, which translates into a major advantage, especially for military customers. While these applications demonstrate NEMO’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities, Sonju was candid in noting that the use of titanium represents “less than 10 percent” of its overall annual production. “Titanium does have an aura in terms of its strength and durability,” he said. “It is awesome as a marketing tool, but cost is a major restriction. We weigh our options when we use titanium.” Sonju said, for NEMO’s business, cost concerns come not only from the per-pound price of the metal, but also from production, which includes cutting speeds, scrap levels and the use of coolants for cutting tools. NEMO currently has weapons in three AR platforms, with calibers including .300 “Win Mag”; 5.56 “NATO; .308 “Win,” and the .300 “Blackout,” all of which make use of titanium components. AR rifles generally are associated with military style M16 rifles. The company describes itself as “a weapon systems integrator” committed to customers in the military, federal law enforcement and commercial/private sectors. Adyn Sonju, Josh’s spouse, is the chief executive officer of NEMO. Citing proprietary and competitive concerns, Josh Sonju declined to provide details on the company’s annual sales, manufacturing equipment and production operations, or its overall yearly consumption levels of titanium.