SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 3

Aluminum WrapUp
Volume 6, Issue 3
Aug/Sept 2018

Secat News

New Employees at Secat!

Wilson Xu,
PhD, joined Secat in June 2018 as Senior Materials Engineer. Wilson has worked in materials engineering for more than 20 years. He majored in physical metallurgy in his undergraduate and graduate studies. During past two decades he has mainly worked as an engineer in casting and heat treatment of light weight metals, fabrication of metal matrix composites, characterization of microstructures and nanostructures in various materials, relationships between physical, electrochemical, and mechanical properties and the microstructures of light weight metals. Wilson has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications on peer reviewed journals and gave more than 20 presentations at international conferences.
At Secat, Wilson’s focus is on metallurgical analysis and failure analysis of various metal parts and products. 

Parvez Sindhi
is the newest member of the Secat team – joining the ranks in July 2018 as Materials Engineer. His background is primarily in Materials Science, with a focus on materials characterization. His previous work experience includes materials testing in the field of metallurgy, especially stainless steel, and other projects completed related to materials characterization and analysis.
 After the completion of his Master’s degree in 2017, Parvez joined Secat Inc. as a Materials Engineer. His work at Secat primarily relates to the testing and evaluation of aluminum extrusion products and billet evaluation, especially in the 6000 series of aluminum alloys.

Aluminum Unwrapped – Fundamentals of Billet Casting
Secat is launching a new training course, which will be held on September 26-27 in Lexington, KY. This day and a half training course is designed for billet casthouse operators. Its purpose is to provide the necessary tools to improve the quality and efficiency of aluminum billet casting operations. Participants will learn about best practices within the melting operation, metal transport systems, degassing systems, grain refining process, filtration and inclusion removal systems, DC billet casting operations, quality inspections, homogenization processes, and much more.
to register for the course.

You can learn more about us on Secat’s website

Featured Capabilities:
Grain Refining by High Intensity Ultrasonic Vibrations
Grain refining, by which the grain size of the solidified crystals is reduced by either chemical or physical/mechanical means, is usually one of the first processing steps for the production of metal products, especially in aluminum alloys which are the lightweight materials widely used in the automotive industry and the packaging industry. Grain refining is important for maximizing ingot casting rate, improving resistance to hot cracking, minimizing elemental segregation, enhancing mechanical properties, improving the finishing characteristics of wrought products, increasing the mold filling characteristics, and decreasing the porosity of foundry alloys. The conventional methods use chemical grain refiners that contain foreign particles. These methods have limited capability in reducing grain size and foreign particles added into molten metals lead to defect formation during materials processing. The new grain refining method combines the latest technologies of processing of lightweight materials using ultrasonic vibration and continuous casting or direct chill casting technology, and to produce metal ingots of fine grains without the use of foreign particles for grain refining. 

The new grain refining technology couples the high intensity ultrasonic vibration and thermal control in continuous casting or direct chill casting, as shown in Fig. 1. The critical factor here is to keep vibration ongoing during the process because the wave guide (ultrasonic probe in Fig. 1) can heat up and quickly move out of the tuned natural frequency, and to ensure the survival of the new solid embryos created using ultrasonic vibrations until their growth up as nuclei during solidification.  

Fig. 1    Schematic profile view of new method for grain refining by high intensity ultrasonic vibration. Underneath runner bottom there is a tank with fluids as vibration medium which vibrates together with ultrasonic probe during melt flow in runner
The photos in Fig. 2 show the comparison of pure aluminum grain structures at various pouring temperatures obtained using high intensity ultrasonic vibrations with those directly poured into a mold. 

The samples of 15 pound Al melt were poured into a copper mold cooled with spraying water. The grain refining effectiveness of high intensity vibrations was evident.

1310°F                    1310°F

1346°F                        1346°F

1400°F                       1400°F

(a) Grain structures directly poured into mold                      (b) Grain structures with ultrasonic vibrations
Fig. 2    Grain structures in cross section at various pouring temperatures, (a) directly poured into mold, (b) with the new grain refining technology

Person Of Interest

Mike Buckentin
Logan Aluminum
Secat Board Member
Mike is the President of Logan Aluminum. He came to Logan in October of 2017 from Bluescope Steel in Kalama, WA where he served as the VP of Operations for Coated Products. Prior to Bluescope, Mike held the position of Chief Operations Officer at SOLB (South Steel) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He has also held various senior level executive positions throughout his career in the steel and metals industry.  
Mike is a graduate of Montana Tech with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering and the University of Illinois with a Masters of Science.  He and his wife, Mary, have five children. Mike’s interests include golf, hiking, boating, skeet shooting, hunting, and fishing.
What brought you to the Board of Directors of Secat?
I joined Logan Aluminum in October of last year. Soon after I was introduced to Todd during one of his visits to Logan. We discussed Secat, its history and the relationship with Logan.
In your opinion, what makes Secat unique/special in the industry?
The complete focus on Aluminum and the devotion to Research and Development. As far as I know, no one else has this business plan or model. Because of this, Logan Aluminum has a very high confidence level that the needs we have in this area will always be met or exceeded, and the investments we make will always be well justified and have high returns.
What is the most important/exciting development you see in the future for Secat?
Because automakers are starting to increase percentages of Aluminum in automobiles, the current growth and expansion in our industry, as well as for future expectations, is unprecedented. I believe that the need for product and process development and optimization for Aluminum in automotive applications is going to be very high. Secat is in an excellent position to fill a critical role in this need.  
Tell us something about yourself that people may not know… and anything else you would like to share.
Prior to joining Logan Aluminum I spent most of my career in the steel industry and worked throughout the US and overseas. I would consider one of my most significant accomplishments to be leading the start up and commissioning of a steel plant in Saudi Arabia. Never having even visited this part of the world, I worked for 2 years with people from over 30 different backgrounds and nationalities. Many had never worked in a steel manufacturing facility before, or only in a very antiquated one. I was very involved in the establishment of living accommodations for over 2,000 people in a very remote part of the Kingdom, close to Yemen. At times this was more difficult than starting up the steel plant! Overall the experience was highly rewarding both professionally and culturally.

Secat Makes a Difference

We talked with Chad Wyatt, Quality Manager at Superior Aluminum Alloys regarding his experiences with Secat, Inc.
“We used Secat’s expertise and equipment to measure the hydrogen content of molten aluminum and optimize the upstream operations and hydrogen removal process to turn good metal into exceptional metal. Without the precise equipment and technical advice from Secat, it would not have been possible to make the necessary improvements.”
How did Secat’s service make a difference in your project?
The Secat Team helped to match the theory of melting metal with the practical real world challenges to develop methods for our associates to master and control the quality of the metal to which greatly exceeded our customer requirements. Results from this work have led to metal cleanliness levels not seen before in our plant and that are repeatable day in and day out. Our company worked on this for 3 years, but less than a year with Secat. Much of the effort was spent trying to understand our current process variation. With the precise measurement of the metal and interaction with Secat, we were able to eliminate the efforts that did not work and identify where we had too much variation and the causes. Science matched with Experience prevailed. We purchased new equipment and defined the process based on the equipment we rented from Secat. The Easy RPT (reduced pressure test) industry standard methods were too crude to measure precisely or accurately enough to make good decisions on the performance of the process. When you make good metal, but want to make it world class, the old measurement techniques are not good enough. Secat made the difference.
Would you recommend Secat to others in the industry?
YES! The customer gave us the green light the day we presented the research material and trial results. The evidence was overwhelming. We were qualified for 40% more business as a result of our research work with Secat.

Aluminum Art

Andrew Light is a Sculptor, based in Lexington, KY. There he maintains an active studio, focusing primarily on fabricated metal sculpture. Mr. Light has an extensive background in industry, having worked in several skilled trades. 
Having exhibited his work throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom, Mr. Light currently has several original works held in Museum, Municipal, and Private collections.
Academically trained, with a principal focus in monumental sculpture, Mr. Light has sought out opportunities to advance knowledge of his craft and profession. Having apprenticed as an iron worker, and then serving as studio assistants to Mr. John Henry, in Chattanooga, TN and Mr. Richard Hunt in Chicago, IL, the goal of lifelong learning continues.
He has worked for the British Open Air Museum of Steel Sculpture, as a workshop and foundry technician. Mr. Light has conducted Sculptural workshops at various facilities such as University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, AL, Arrowmont, in Gatlinburg, TN, and at the Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum, Solsberry, IN.
Mr. Light has worked with several non- profits, as a consultant, developing grants and programing, in addition to project management. He has served as President and Member of the Board for others. 
This piece was created with scrap aluminum obtained from Secat, Inc.

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

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2020-10-22T17:07:46-04:00August 24th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 3

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