SECAT Newsletter

Volume 11, Issue 3

August 2023 – Summer/Fall Issue


Certificate in Aluminum Metallurgy

The inaugural class of participants for the Certificate in Aluminum Metallurgy program recently completed the second week in the four-part intensive training program. The weeklong sessions were tailored to cater to professionals at various stages of their careers and boasts a comprehensive curriculum encompassing essential aspects of metallurgy.

Trainees are exposed to the aluminum manufacturing process from casting to heat treating and are provided with a well-rounded skill set to tackle real-world challenges.

With a commitment to advancing the industry’s potential, Secat introduced this specialized training program earlier this year, aiming to bridge the gap between academia and practical applications. 


John Fentress, Hot Roll Process and Product Quality Lead for Commonwealth Aluminum has attended both sessions so far and is expected to complete the program in 2023. This is what John had to say: 


“This training has helped me visualize the ‘material property journey’ for my process and others. The combination of lab work and corresponding tests has been enlightening and I feel more confident metallurgically when diagnosing & developing projects.” 


The program’s real strength lies in its emphasis on hands-on practical experiences. Participants get training at Secat’s cutting-edge laboratories, using industry-standard manufacturing and testing equipment where they apply theoretical knowledge learned during the lecture sessions. This hands-on approach instills a problem-solving mindset and fosters innovation among the trainees. 


Matt Morell, Process Engineer at Pennex Aluminum has also attended both sessions and is expected to complete the Certificate program in November of 2023. Matt said: 


“As a deformation quality and process manager, SECAT’s Certificate Program in Aluminum Metallurgy has helped me be a more informed customer for my ingot suppliers. When ingot related surface quality problems arise during deformation, I am now better equipped to communicate potential causes.” 


Beyond its immediate impact on individuals, the program has been instrumental in fostering a culture of excellence within the metallurgical community. Secat’s dedication to advancing the field of metallurgy through its training initiatives has solidified its reputation as a pioneer in the industry. 


The training program will be offered again in 2024 for up to 8 participants. If you are interested in learning more about the program and how you can register, please contact Nick Nanninga ( Online registration for the 2024 program will be available later this year.

Click HERE or contact us for more details.

Transition at SECAT!

Effective July 31st, Secat President, Todd Boggess resigned from Secat to pursue a new opportunity. Todd joined Secat shortly after its conception and had served with the company for 23 years, primarily in leadership positions, culminating in his promotion to President in 2020. Under Todd’s leadership over the past two decades, Secat has evolved from a small research organization to a full-service state-of-the-art metallurgical testing and analysis lab serving over 400 customers worldwide. Over the years, Todd has maintained the original Secat mission of providing value added technical support to the aluminum industry and broader materials community by hiring and promoting best in class scientists and engineers. Todd also spearheaded Secat’s recent growth initiatives by leading the acquisition of two independent test facilities in 2022. Todd will be missed! Fortunately, he is still working in the aluminum industry.

Dr. Nicholas Nanninga has been selected by the Board of Directors to lead Secat and has been promoted to the position of Interim General Manager, effective August 1st, 2023. Nick joined Secat in 2020 and has held the position of Technical Director for the past three years. Prior to joining Secat, Nick worked at various metals manufacturing companies and his career has focused on alloy and process development. Dr. Nanninga holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Nick will continue to be supported by his colleague and mentor Shridas Ningileri in his new role.

Click HERE or contact us for more details.

Person of Interest 

Monica Miranda,

Howmet Aerospace 

We asked Monica Miranda, Business Unit Metallurgist for Howmet Aerospace, to answer some questions for us. 


Give us a quick overview of your job. 

As a Business Unit Metallurgist, I provide technical expertise and consultation on all metallurgical inquiries requested from our different location, USA, Mexico, Hungary, China, and Japan. I develop new ingot suppliers and I work close with the qualified suppliers to make sure that they provide high quality products according to our standards. I develop specifications and process controls for metallurgical processes. I am responsible for challenging technical issues related to heat treatment, quality, product development and continuous improvement efforts. Also, I am involved in customer claims, and I lead small research projects. 


What are some things that happen for you in a typical day at work? 

A typical day for me could be working with a multidisciplinary team to define the testing needed when a process change is requested. Also, I could be working on an ingot supplier qualification or be part of the team that finds a solution to improve scrap rate in the forging process. 


How does your job impact the markets you serve? 

I make sure that our material specifications and process controls are appropriate to manufacture wheels that are safe and durable for the automotive industry. 

How do you interact with Secat, Inc. and how does the relationship benefit you? 

I like working with Secat because the quality of the reports and the customer service. The reports show a clearly understanding of metallurgy and are very clear and easy to follow. I also contact the lab when I need to do process research, or I need a crack analyzed. 


Tell us something about yourself (outside of the industry) that people may not know. 

I like to share my time with family and friends, like everybody else. But something that people may not know is that I love listening to piano music, so I am taking piano lessons. I have talented friends that are musicians that play piano and other instruments, also professional singers. We join on the weekends to have dinner and then enjoy the talented voices and music. 

Check out more info on our website

Tech Talk


The Metals Innovation Initiative (MI2), a Kentucky-based nonprofit, aims to foster collaboration, encourage advanced research, promote sustainability, drive commercialization, and nurture talent development. Ultimately, MI2 envisions bringing Kentucky together to make it the preeminent destination for metals innovation. 


The organization, formed in September 2022, has brought together Kentucky metals companies and a wide range of ecosystem partners to work on collaborative projects of common interest across the Commonwealth. 

Early in MI2’s development, SECAT joined as one of those strategy partners with the Metals Innovation Initiative (MI2). In addition to general strategy work, the two organizations are both part of the new Game Change initiative developing across Kentucky and Tennessee, with a focus on advancing carbon centric circular economy technologies for advanced manufacturing solutions. This initiative is being funded by a National Science Foundation development award. 

In its short existence, MI2 has transformed from a concept into an organization through the work of Kentucky metals companies and ecosystem partners, with strategic groups formed around the organizations initial strategic focus areas: talent and workforce, sustainability, grants and funding, and branding. Numerous projects and initiatives have been launched, with several more in the pipeline. The partnership between industry leadership and innovation ecosystem leaders is paramount to MI2’s continued success, and we are proud to support MI2 as a strategic partner and look forward to our continuous collaboration. 

In partnership with all its support organizations, MI2 is culminating its first anniversary with its inaugural annual conference focused on “The Factory of the Future,” on September 5th and 6th, 2023, in Louisville, KY. The conference’s focus on “The Factory of the Future” promises an immersive experience, uniting leaders, innovators, and trailblazers from diverse sectors to explore cutting-edge advancements in manufacturing. 

With a commitment to inspire attendees, the conference showcases a lineup of keynote speeches, engaging panel discussions, and interactive sessions. MI2 is excited to announce Hitachi Vantara as the presenting sponsor, whose support and partnership have turned this visionary conference into a reality.  

Already announced speakers at the conference include Bill Good, Vice President of Manufacturing at GE Appliances; Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Jai Sundararaman, Chief Transformation Officer at Intertape Polymer Group; and Teresa Hayes, Human Resources Manager of Logan Aluminum.  

One of the additional highlights of the conference is the finale of the Metals Innovation Search. This competition will showcase innovations poised to revolutionize the metals industry, giving participants a platform to showcase their ideas. Ideas are being accepted until August 15th

SECAT is proud to support MI2 and their mission to bring Kentucky together to make it the preeminent destination for metals innovation. The conference is the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together to network, collaborate and share ideas.  

To stay up-to-date with the latest conference news and developments, MI2 encourages you to visit their web page regularly. We are excited about forthcoming announcements of additional speakers and sponsors in the weeks leading up to the event. MI2 eagerly awaits welcoming many of you to the MI2 Annual Conference to talk about the Factory of the Future together.

Register today! 

Visit us at and check out all that we have to offer!

Featured Capabilities

Custom Alloy Development

The aluminum industry is continually reinventing itself and part of the evolution is the development of new alloys. Through Secat’s acquisitions in 2022, we can now cast novel aluminum alloys and composites on both sub- and full-scale sizes. Secat operates a vertical direct chill casting unit in addition to capabilities for melting smaller heats and casting into traditional permanent molds. Additionally, Secat has incorporated auxiliary processes used during production operations like degassing, metal filtration, and TiB2 wire feeding, which reduces scale-up development time for our customers. Table 1 shows Secat’s capabilities for melting and casting billets, ingots and other shapes. Further, depending on customer requirements, custom molds can be designed and manufactured. 

10 inch diameter AA6005 billet approximately 60 inches long cast at Secat.

Please contact us if you need to cast a custom ingot/billet or if you need us to lead an alloy development project for your company. We are staffed by experienced professionals that know how to develop novel alloys for improved formability, corrosion resistance, strength, or sustainability.

Aluminum Art

A huge aluminum yucca sculpture, appropriately titled “Aluminum Yucca,” in the east mountains of Albuquerque along Interstate 40 and old Route 66 recently marked its 10th year of existence.  

The 22-foot-tall artwork stands out no matter when you see it. Its shape and polished metal amid the mountain rocks capture eyes in the daytime, and it’s lighted at night. 

Gordon Huether of California created the $124,000 sculpture, which was paid for with grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, City of Albuquerque, and State of New Mexico. 

Inspired in part by Albuquerque and the East Mountain’s ties to Kirtland Air Force Base: The sculpture’s shining stalks are actually fuel tanks recycled from F-16 military aircraft. The hollow forms were sliced vertically to resemble the scooped shape of the Datil Yucca leaf, which is native to the area and New Mexico’s state flower. Huether said he finds “inherent dramatic gestures” in the yucca’s form. 

 At night, the sculpture is illuminated by a slow-moving, solar-powered color wheel that recreates the hues of the Albuquerque desert landscape. The exaggerated scale celebrates the romance and nostalgia of western Road Culture in the 20th century – evident all along Route 66 in wigwam-shaped hotels, five-foot Mexican sombreros and giant cowboy boots. It is located on I-40 in Tijeras Canyon, Route 66 gateway to Albuquerque. 


You can find out more by clicking here.

Do you have a piece of Aluminum Art you’d like to share? Contact us at

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