Posted by: Miles Free 14. May 2015

Reasons Why Steel is Vacuum Treated


Vacuum treated (vacuum degassed) steel is used for critical applications that require steel with an exceptionally high degree of structural uniformity, internal soundness, and other characteristics that may be impaired by the effects of uncontrolled amounts of dissolved gases. Vacuum degassing treatments, along with various deoxidation practices, are specified to control the amounts of dissolved gases in the steel. The benefits of vacuum treatment include:

  1. Reduced hydrogen content, which reduces steel’s tendency to “flake” or become “embrittled.”
  2. Reduced oxygen content, which makes it easier for the steel to conform to restrictive microcleanliness requirements.
  3. Improved recovery and uniformity of alloying elements and other additive distribution.
  4. More controlled steel composition.
  5. Higher and more uniform transverse ductility, improved fatigue resistance, and improved high temperature performance.
  6. Can be used to achieve exceptionally low carbon content that are otherwise unobtainable by conventional means.

What are some situations where vacuum treatment is employed?

  • Large forgings and large cross sections where hydrogen would otherwise remain and contribute to flaking and embrittlement.
  • Bearings where uniformity throughout the section is important for critical performance.
  • Inverted delta, human critical safety applications where steel toughness and performance place high demands on the steel’s properties in all directions.

The removal of oxygen by degassing is a challenge for the steelmaker, because this element is extremely reactive: It can exist in the steel in many forms, such as free oxygen; it can dissolve in the melt as a soluble nonmetallic oxide; it can combine with carbon to form gaseous oxides; and it can exist as complex oxides in the accompanying slags and refractories in the process.


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 13. May 2015

Expansion the Highlight of Heartland Open House

The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the opening of a second building.

On Tuesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 6, Heartland Machine & Engineering welcomed visitors to an open house at its headquarters in Franklin, Indiana. Heartland provides machine tool sales, service, engineering, and applied automation, acting as a distributor for such lines as Shigiya CNC OD grinders (vertical and horizontal), Hurise 1- and 2-spindle grinders, Palmary centerless and OD grinders, and Clausing toolroom equipment. One of the company’s newer offerings is the line of Bulova large vertical machining centers, designed for quality, precision, and value.

Tuesday’s festivities kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Heartland’s second building at the location. The building was constructed for turnkeys as well as housing of inventories of spare parts and machines for the DMC line, including a broad range of horizontal and vertical turning centers, vertical machining centers, and tapping centers. Heartland has been a DMC exclusive partner for Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee since 2011, and has placed more than 200 machines in the past two years.

The event also included table top exhibits from partner companies including Horn, LNS, Tecnara, Cimcool, Mastercam, and Hainbuch. One of these companies—Fusion Coolant Systems—was displaying a supercritical carbon dioxide MQL coolant system designed for applications such as medical implants, where cleanliness is critical.

For more photos from the event, visit our Heartland Open House Slideshow!

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 11. May 2015

April Index Falls after Strong March


With a reading of 48.1, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry contracted after a strong March and expanding in 3 of the previous 4 months. In April, the index fell to its lowest level since September 2013. Compared with 1 year ago, the index fell 8.7 percent. April was the fourth straight month of month-over-month contraction. The annual rate of growth decelerated for the seventh consecutive month.

New orders contracted after 2 months of strong growth. The production index dropped sharply, but continued to grow for the 16th month in a row. The backlog index fell to its lowest level since November last year. Compared with 1 year ago, the backlog index has contracted 7 straight months. The annual rate of change indicated that capacity utilization in the industry has seen its peak rate of growth. Employment increased for the third consecutive month. Exports have contracted for 13 months because of the relatively strong dollar. Supplier deliveries were virtually unchanged, lengthening at their slowest rate since July 2013. Supplier deliveries were pointing to general weakness across manufacturing.

Material prices increased at a slightly faster rate in April than in March. However, the rate of increase was still almost the slowest in 2 years. Prices received decreased at their fastest rate since the index began in December 2011. Future business expectations have been trending down since December, but they were still just above their historical average in April.

All plant sizes recorded a decline in their index for April. Growth was still quite strong at plants with more than 50 employees, though. Companies with 20-49 employees grew for the fourth time in 5 months, but the rate of growth was minimal in April. After growing in March, shops with fewer than 20 employees contracted at their fastest rate since August 2013.

The North Central – West was the fastest growing region in April. It grew for the fourth month in a row. The only other region to grow was the North Central – East, which grew for the fifth straight month. Both the Northeast and West regions contracted in April after expanding at a significant rates the previous 2 months. 

Future capital spending plans took another big hit in April, contracting by 46.2 percent compared with 1 year ago. In 3 of the previous 4 months, future spending plans have contracted by more than 25 percent. The annual rate of change has contracted in 2 of the previous 4 months. 


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 7. May 2015

Automation for 100 Years


A century in business, any business, is a major milestone. De-Sta-Co celebrates its centenary throughout 2015 with online history milestones and celebrations at various trade shows.

Founded in 1915 as the Detroit Stamping Company, De-Sta-Co, found early success providing the burgeoning automotive market with contract stamping as well as die and machining services. To simplify fixturing of auto bodies and other materials on the line, the company developed the original manual toggle clamp that remains a go-to workholding device today.

Through the years, the company has expanded its product line to reflect changes in the manufacture of automobiles, including robot end effectors and other automation tools. Today, it is a global company serving the automotive industries in all major countries.

Additional information and historic photos are available by clicking here. Congratulations to the management and employees of this venerable Detroit-based institution. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 6. May 2015

Quick Notes for Key Topics


Each issue of Production Machining contains a monthly feature titled “Craftsman’s Cribsheet” (appearing within the PMPA section). This one-pager identifies “tear-out” ideas about management, technical, quality and regulatory topics, presenting them in point-by-point fashion.

The most recent Cribsheet (Number 30) explains the meaning of ductility—the ability of a material to deform plastically without fracturing. It details the effects of ductility in the production of chips. The Cribsheet from our February issue focuses on the three key factors in understanding machinability of carbon and alloy steel.

All Craftsman’s Cribsheets are available for viewing and download at

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