ADI Treatments Ltd is expanding production by more than 50% with a £1M investment in new furnaces to process Austempered Ductile Iron parts for renewable energy systems. The project is being supported by Advantage West Midlands via a Selective Finance for Investment regional grant of £95,000.
Major orders have already been placed for the design and manufacture of a large controlled atmosphere batch furnace and integral salt quench. ADI Treatments selected USA technology leaders AFC Holcroft, partners in previous projects. The new unit will accommodate parts up to 1.8m in diameter and extend the range of applications possible with the current plant. Engineers from both organisations are liasing to customise the configuration of the furnace and to further develop the Austempering process for heavy-duty components. Local contractors will assist with site installation work while ADI Treatments will carry out commissioning and process trials with support from AFC Holcroft.
ADI Treatments Ltd was established at West Bromwich in 1997 and is part of an international network of Austempering specialists who support castings producers and users. The company is now owned by Hulvershorn Eisengiesserei GmbH (Bocholt, Duesseldorf). Christian Guendisch who is Managing Director of Hulvershorn and ADI Treatments’ Chairman, highlighted the significance of the investment, “We see great potential for Austempered Ductile Iron materials in the volume industries. This is a strategic purchase, reinforcing our position as a centre of excellence for design and supply of ADI component solutions in Europe”.
Many of the applications to date have been in the automotive, earth moving and machinery industries. Simon Day, ADI Treatments’ Managing Director, explained the market developments leading to the investment timing, “We have been negotiating new business to heat treat large diameter gearbox parts for wind turbine systems. To accommodate the load sizes and quantities we needed a special solution. The regional grant tipped the balance in our decision to buy what will be the world’s biggest commercial, sealed quench Austempering unit. While the renewable energy market has the potential to fully utilise our new furnace, the outlook from established customers is also encouraging. Many new developments are scheduled for completion next year including transmission parts for cars and heavy trucks. We believe our recent ISO 9001:2000 qualification will further boost our appeal with these industries”.
The application of the material in renewable energy generators is seen as part of an engineering trend favouring the uptake of Austempered Ductile Iron. Used in place of steel and aluminium, ADI can bring significant savings in weight (10%) and cost (50%).
Following delivery in early 2005, visitors will be invited to an Open Day to view the new plant and its capabilities.