In this edition of Tech Talk, Dan Erb, President and CEO of Jones Metal Products, discusses his company’s entry into the world of aluminum heat treating.
How did Jones Metal get involved in Aluminum Heat Treating?
For a number of years, our company’s specialty has been deep drawing metal. A critical step in the deep draw process is stress relieving each part. This is done by heating parts and holding them at high temperatures in large batch ovens. We considered Jones first and foremost as a metal forming house, and as a result, we outsourced our heat treating for many years. The challenge became maintaining good turn around time on our orders. We only had a brief amount of time to deep draw parts for our customers, and if our heat treat source extended their lead times, then we would be late with shipment. When the aerospace market started ramping up, one week lead times turned into one month for our heat treating source. When one of our valued customers started requesting faster delivery times, we knew we had to make a change, so we decided to start heat treating our own parts.
We did some research and bought our first drop bottom furnace several years ago to heat treat the parts we manufacture. From there, we decided to market our heat treating services to other metal forming companies as well. The extra outside heat treating work required more equipment, so we made additional investments in this side of our business. We now have two drop bottom furnaces, two aging ovens and a commercial sized freezer for the aluminum heat treating side of our business. This heat treating equipment, along with our NADCAP certification, transformed us from a captive shop into a major vendor in the aluminum heat treating world.
What industries rely on Jones Metal for Aluminum Heat Treating?
We offer aluminum heat treatment services to aerospace, defense and commercial customers. Our top quality certifications allow us to get approved for very tight tolerance heat treatment. Many of the parts we heat treat are for critical applications, meaning a part failure can have dire consequences. We also offer hand straightening for the parts that require it.
What kinds of parts do you typically heat treat?
The parts we heat treat range from thin formed aluminum parts, aluminum fabrications, castings to drop hammer forged parts. The majority of our parts are made from 6061, 7075, and 2024 Aluminum.
Tell us about the capital investments Jones has made to compete in the aluminum heat treating business.
We recently added our 2nd drop bottom furnace which will make it easier for us to handle the parts requiring boiling water quench. Our main furnace was set up for a 16% glycol solution quench and our growth in business made it difficult to meet the customer demand for both types of quenching. Now we have a back up furnace for our glycol business and a tank solely devoted to boiling water quench. At a time when most manufacturers were not spending money on new equipment, we have invested substantially in new heat treating equipment to service our customers better.
Do you only heat treat aluminum parts?
Although we started heat treating aluminum on an exclusive basis, we have also added a midsize vacuum furnace to serve the nickel alloys. We now offer vacuum heat treating so we can run parts made from nickel alloys, stainless steel, and other exotic metals. Our Abar-Ipsen vacuum heat treating oven has a maximum temperature of 2400 degrees F. We also have nitrogen quench capability. Our goal is to NADCAP this process by the end of the 1st quarter 2011.
Do you have additional heat treating capacity at this time?
Jones Metal Products is an ISO 9001 certified, ITAR Registered company, providing world class hydroforming, deep draw stamping, and aluminum heat treating and vacuum heat treating services for the aerospace, commercial lighting, automotive, cookware, health-care and defense markets.
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