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Appendix C PLANT TOURS The panel, through the genera sity of the companies involved, toured various titanium processing facilities . These visits permitted the pane 1 to observe first hand the status of current titanium production activities . The first tour began in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 30, 1981, when panel members and some government liaison representatives assembled. They traveled to the RMI titanium sponge facility in Ashtabula, Ohio, on March 31. Dominic Strollo, Vice President, Marketi ng, provided a brief ing session and an inspection of the titanium sponge production facility that uses the sodium reduction process. The group then proceeded to the RMI titanium processing plant in Niles, Ohio, where the sponge, plus selected scrap and master alloys, is vacuum arc melted into ingots. These ingots then are processed (using standard metallurgical equipment) into various mill products that are used to fabricate specific end products. James Daniell, President of RMI, and his stat f met the group to discuss the operation of this facility and RlII's expectations and problems. Specific inquiries by the panel into plant operation and product) on problems were answered by the company stat f during the course of the visit. - The group next visited the mill products facility of the TIMET Division of the Titanium Corporation of America in Toronto, Ohio. Thi s visit was arranged by W. W. Minkler, Vice President, Technology, and J. Byrne, President . The group observed the forging of ingots, plate rolling, strip rolling and annealing, and roll-and-weld tube productions, as well as the auxiliary processes such as grinding and pickling f or product surf ace f inishing, and product inspection. Crucible Research Laboratories, Colt Industries, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was visited on April 1, 1981. This facility does extensive work in precision pressing titanium powders in ceramic molds and hot isostatic pressing to near-net shape. The group was given a briefing on the work in progress and the capabilities of the two processes. Edward Dulls, President of Crucible Laboratories, was the host, assisted by the managers of the various activities. Both technologies appear to offer promise f or near~net-shape f abrication of intricate shapes that have f ine detail. Very little finishing and touch~up repair in required. Acceptable low-cost powder appears to be the major bottleneck to extensive use of this technology . 177
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178 The second tour started on April 27, 1981, in Portland, Oregon, when L. Blakely, Design Engineer, Boeing Commercial Aircraf t Company, traveled from Seattle, Washington, and met with the panel for discussion of Boeing's use of titanium and its alloys in the new commercial serf rames--the 757 and 7 67; D . D. Goehler had arranged this meeting . Design criteria for the use of titanium alloys in airframes were discussed as was the cost savings possible by substituting titanium f or steel if the titanium price is right. On April 28, the group visited Oregon Metallurgical Corporation (ORElIE:T) in Albany, Oregon, through the courtesy of F. Caputo, Executive Vice President (H. Peters, President of OREMET, had just passed away) . This integrated titanium facility uses the magnesium reduction process as does TIBET. The panel was briefed by the technical and sales staff on the plant's capabilities and varied product line. A tour of the facility permitted the panel to make ~ comparison of the two primary titanium preparation processes, sodium reduction (seen earlier at RMI ~ and magnesium reduction, and to assess the advantages and shortcomings of each. The panel returned to Albany, Oregon, on the same day to examine the processing at Precision Castparts Corporation. This visit was arranged by J. Alexander, Director of Research. A brief ing on the capability and output of this facility was held for the panel by members of the technical and sales stat f . The panel then toured the f acility and was shown the various highly complex titanium parts being produced by direct casting. Here, as in Crucible's powder pressing technology, material is formed directly to near-net shapes that require minimum sizing, touch-up, and repair. HIPing, when needed, is done elsewhere on a contract basis. The TIMET sponge facility in Henderson, Nevada, was visited on April 29. The panel viewed the TiC14, magnesium production, and titanium sponge facilities, as well as the ingot melting facilities. Electrodes Containing sponge and master alloy additions are melted to prepare ingots for producing mill products such as bars, rods, sheet, and f orged billet s. Each step of the process was examined in detail and all questions of the panel were answered by the engineering staff. The electrolytic process for sponge production is being developed here, but the group did not examine this activity. The ingots are processed at the Toronto, Ohio, plant or sold to independent fabricators of mill products. TIMET's integrated facilities (Henderson and Toronto) make it the largest U.S. producer of titanium. On April 30, the group visited the recently activated electrolytic sponge titanium production facility of D-H Titanium Company in Freeport, Texas. George Cobel, President, and Donald Turner, Vice President, were hosts, assisted by the engineering staff. A briefing session was used to describe the technology employed, its potential, and the future expectations of this endeavor. The group then was shown the elaborate equipment used to control each step of the process. The cells were not
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179 in operation, but the physical facility was shown and described in detail (with some reservations because of company security policies). The completely automated electrolytic cell line shows how chemical processing technology (Dow) has been combined with metallurgical technology (HORNET) into an innovative modern titanium sponge plant. The facility is still in it s shakedown stage to work out details of the controls and iron out the cell operation and electrode stripping mechanism. The inner design of the cell and its electrode configuration was not shown or described (patent pending). Plant layout permits rapid expansion by adding cells to the existing line.
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