SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 7, Issue 3

Aluminum WrapUp
Volume 7, Issue 3
Nov/Dec 2019

Secat News

Aluminum Automotive Sheet
Class a Success!

Oct 9-10, 2019
Secat and Innoval Technology Ltd. jointly offered a two-day training class titled
Aluminum Automotive Sheet Training Course
in Lexington, KY. Approximately 20 attendees from various aluminum manufacturing companies participated in the class to gain an in depth understanding of the automotive sheet production from a materials engineering perspective. Instructors for the course were Dr. Gary Mahon and Professor Geoff Scamans from Innoval Technology in Banbury, UK. Over the course of two days, participants learned about the metallurgy properties of 5xxx and 6xxx alloy used in the automotive industry as well as issues pertaining to operation of the CALP ((continuous annealing line with pre-treatment)/CASH (continuous annealing with solution heat), and surface control and lubrication, among other topics. The course concluded with a tour of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant located in nearby Georgetown, KY. TMMK is Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility in the world, producing the Toyota Camry and Avalon as well as the Lexus ES 350. 
Stay tuned for more education and training opportunities in the future. 
to stay up to date.

Audit Completed!
Secat successfully completed a surveillance assessment conducted on October 29 – 30, 2019. The purpose of this assessment was to determine the laboratory’s current compliance to ISO/IEC 17025 and the successful transition from the 2005 to the 2017 version and ANAB’s accreditation requirements, and the Secat Inc. laboratory’s management system.
The laboratory was found to be well organized and maintained, with appropriate accommodations made for equipment, supplies and test materials.
Secat’s laboratory was observed to be adequately staffed for the type and volume of testing currently undertaken and that laboratory personnel have the competencies necessary to fulfill the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANAB’s accreditation program. It was noted that laboratory personnel have extensive experience with the materials tested and the equipment, methods, and standards used. From a technical perspective, Secat is a highly focused organization with a long history of serving the aluminum industry.
The assessment by the auditing body included a review of the management system (MS) related to the fulfillment of ISO/IEC 17025:2017, demonstration of representative test methods, review of test equipment, procedures, work instructions, and key management system processes. Evidence presented during the assessment supported the conclusion that the laboratory has successfully transitioned its management system to reflect the requirements established in the 2017 version of ISO/IEC 17025. Secat successfully passed the audit to the 2017 version with no non conformances. 
Click here
to find out more about this certification.

Darren Hunter joins Secat!
We talked with Darren Hunter about his job at Secat
How long have you been at Secat? 
I started out at Secat as a temporary employee through Kelly Services in March of this year. I was later offered a full-time position in September.
Give a brief description of your work prior to Secat.
Prior to working at Secat, I was a Quality Engineer at a company that manufactures aluminum wheels for the automotive industry. I gained valuable experience testing the wheels for material strength, grain structure, hardness, etc. which has proven invaluable with my work at Secat.
Briefly describe your job.
Currently, I am working on cast billet evaluation. I take a cast billet slice from the customer and cut it up into various sections for metallographic examination.
Tell us one thing about you that people may not know or would be surprised by…
I grew up on a large farm in rural Kentucky where we raised tobacco and cattle up until about 9 years ago. We still have about 50 head of cattle but no longer raise tobacco.
Welcome to the team, Darren!!

You can learn more about us on Secat’s website

Tech Talk
Introduction to Additive Manufacturing
According to the ASTM definition, Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, uses computer-aided design to build objects layer by layer. This contrasts with traditional manufacturing, which cuts, drills, and grinds away unwanted excess from a solid piece of material, often metal.
AM offers several advantages to conventional methods of manufacture. At the start it can enable fast prototyping in your office or in your machine shop. Also it can achieve complex geometries, many of which we couldn’t imagine before due to their high complexity. We can also design parts for enhanced performance, for instance greater strength, or reduced weight, or embedding thermal management features such as internal cooling channels and heat exchangers in mold tooling and in other devices. 
Tooling– not only end use parts, but tools used to improve other manufacturing processes is a major and really fast growing application of AM. By 3D printing, we can consolidate several parts into one and save a lot of cost and time in the manufacturing process. With 3D printing, we can also design parts to be made of multiple materials. AM process suggests we can improve the efficiency of supply chains by reducing inventory via on demand production. This is especially valuable for time critical spare parts, for instance, in aerospace or other applications. The use of additive manufacturing and mass production will enable designers and engineers to envision its use from the start of the design process and use it throughout that product lifecycle.
Metal based AM
Metal-based additive manufacturing is a promising technology for multiple industries, including aerospace, biomedical and automotive fields. Building up metal components layer by layer increases design freedom and manufacturing flexibility, enabling complex geometries, increased product customization and shortened lead time, while eliminating some constraints of traditional manufacturing. Currently only a few alloys, the most relevant being AlSi10Mg, TiAl6V4, CoCr and Inconel 718, can be reliably printed; the vast majority of the more than 5,500 alloys in use today cannot be additively manufactured because the melting and solidification dynamics during the printing process lead to intolerable microstructures with large columnar grains and periodic cracks. [1]
For many years, prototyping was the main use of AM technologies. For example, casting patterns used in investment casting had been one of the first applications of AM. Vaupell, founded in 1947 and now a subsidiary of Sumitomo Bakelite High Performance Plastics, uses SLA casting patterns, to rapidly deliver 3D printed casting patterns to aerospace customers. Here, photopolymerization AM (SLA) is used to print a sacrificial model that matches the final geometry to be cast out of metal.

AM is increasingly finding its place in the factory to augment or enhance the performance of conventionally fabricated tooling. AM can be used to produce prototype molds for short-run volumes, and it can be used to create tools which assist in operations, such as alignment fixtures, drill jigs, or even ergonomic aids for workers. Certain AM processes can be used to create primary tooling, specifically molds and cutting tools which are used, for instance for high-volume injection molding and machining.
Mapal, a German tool manufacturer, produces high-performance precision cutting instruments. Since 2015, Mapal has been using AM to form end-mills and other fluid-cooled cutting tools. In traditional cutting tools, the flute geometry is designed to optimize both the cutting mechanics and the flow of coolant over the cut surface. When the tool is spun rapidly, local fluctuations in coolant flow and therefore temperature cause uneven tool wear as a result of friction-induced heating, and reduce the maximum RPM at which the tool can be used (which, in turn, can reduce the material removal rate of tool, and reduce the tool life). Internal cooling channels can be used to improve cooling capacity, but these channels cannot take curved pathways within the tool, leading to sub-optimal performance. Now, Mapal uses additive manufacturing to create tools with spiral, conformal fluid channels for releasing coolant.

Source: Mapal
The new designs are optimized for fluid flow during high-speed revolution and consequently can improve flow by as much as 100%; this has implications for tool-life and performance. In addition, a previous model of drill was available only in sizes 13mm or greater diameter, due to the need for cooling channels. Greater diameter reduces tool life performance, because larger cavities weaken the core of the drill. The new design now enables drills to be produced in the 8-12mm diameter range.
Performance improvement
As we are now well aware, AM can realize new designs where complexity in material composition and part geometry is leveraged for enhanced performance. 
The principles behind heat exchangers are relatively simple. Heat (in the form of fluid or gas) is transferred to a coolant by means of a shared interface (e.g. a wall dividing two channels) without the two substances mixing. That said, the dynamics of heat exchangers are relatively complicated, requiring several factor optimization problems to be solved, whereby the interfacial surface area between the hot substance and cold substance is maximized while (in many cases) minimizing the pressure drop required to drive fluid through the heat exchanger. Put simply, conventional heat exchanger designs are severely constrained by manufacturability. On the one hand, complex geometries are achievable by producing a series of parts and assembling them together (e.g., tubes, folded sheet metal, etc.). This, however, creates joints and interfaces which can loosen over time or are otherwise not as dense (and therefore do not maximize surface area) as a monolithic unit.

Source: Conflux Technology (
Conflux Technologies, an applications company in Melbourne, Australia, solves this problem using AM. Using a carefully tailored internal surface geometry, Conflux manages to optimize heat exchange while reducing weight and minimizing pressure drop. They work directly with customers to create custom solutions that optimize performance. Their work is one of the first commercial efforts to AM-enabled heat exchangers to the market at scale, and involves partnership with EOS which manufactures SLM systems used to build the heat exchangers.  
AM generally is cost-effective at low-quantities, because tool-free production eliminates the need for fixed investment in tooling such as an injection mold or casting die. However, the cost of AM parts is relatively invariant as production quantities increase. Therefore, as quantities increase, AM becomes less attractive as a production method than conventional manufacturing (CM) for a standard (non-AM optimized) geometry. To overcome this cost imbalance, manufacturers must leverage the design freedom of AM to realize better-performing and/or geometrically optimized parts.
The 787 galley fitting, produced by Boeing in collaboration with Norsk Titanium (an OEM of the DED process used to make the fittings) is a significant milestone in the company’s journey toward AM-enhanced design and production. The galley fitting was the first additively manufactured structural part to be approved by Boeing, after a rigorous qualification it was validated to meet FAA certification. Moreover, the galley fitting presented a relatively simple business case for Boeing, showing how AM can be an economically viable production method.

Featured Capabilities- Introducing the new Q-Fog CRH Tester
Corrosion testing is a major component in evaluations for end use performance of aluminum suppliers, especially for the automotive market. Once a component has been formed or cast, its suitability for a customer depends not only on its strength or rigidity but also its performance in the service environment. Whether it is siding material for the building construction market or an automotive component such as an aluminum wheel or a door panel, the ability of the aluminum product to endure its life cycle free of corrosion is paramount. 
The new cyclic corrosion tester being installed at Secat provides a means to test various environments prone to cause corrosion so that suppliers and end users may judge their performance to these situations. Cyclic corrosion testing has shown to successfully replicate the outdoor environment with comparative structure, morphology, and corrosion rates to real world use.
The Q-Fog CRH chamber is a controlled relative humidity corrosion chamber capable of salt spray testing, Prohesion testing, and a multitude of cycling automotive tests. The chamber has fully adjustable control of temperature ramping, relative humidity as well as the ability to run a shower spray. The fog dispersion is fully controllable for volume of corrosive liquid and distance of the fog within the chamber. The cycling behavior of the tester allows for complete dry off utilizing a blower design and air heater to cycle between fog/spray and low humidity dry off.  
The internal size of the corrosion chamber can accommodate full size sheet panels up to 57” wide, numerous small test coupons, and formed components like wheels. The internal chamber is 57” x 32” x 18”. The internal temperatures can be varied from room temperature up to 50°C for shower mode, 60°C for fog and relative humidity tests, and 70°C for dry off.
With the addition of the corrosion chamber, customers can now assess corrosion performance in a variety of ways and situations. Secat can evaluate coating integrity, corrosion rates, as well as the mechanisms of corrosion.  

The following is a brief pictorial comparison of coatings evaluated by salt spray and Prohesion tests against exterior exposures.

Two Coat Latex Coating

High Solids Epoxy

Medium Oil Alkyd – Inhibitor A

Medium Oil Alkyd – Inhibitor B

The following are comparison images from salt spray and wet/dry atmospheric corrosion tests against marine environment exposure

Salt Spray Testing

Cyclic Wet/Dry Testing

Marine Environment Exposure

SECAT Makes a Difference
Where Are They Now? Three Scholarship Recipients are Making a Difference
The Secat Aluminum Scholarship has been helping students achieve their goals since 2001. We caught up with three recipients of the award to see what they are doing now.
Whitney Marrero

Whitney works for GE Power in Greenville, SC. as Senior Engineer for the Materials & Processes Engineering organization. She received her scholarship in 2010 while majoring in Materials Science at the University of Kentucky.
“Secat exposed me to careers that aligned with my major (MSE). The summer after my sophomore year I worked at Logan Aluminum in Russellville, KY for a 3 month internship. That hands on engineering experience at a young age was incredibly valuable. The following summer I worked at GE Energy in Greenville, SC which led to a full-time offer in the Edison Engineering Development Program. Now, I’ve been at GE for 7 years in various roles but all related to Materials Engineering.”

“What excites me about the future of aluminum? The numerous applications for aluminum. Currently, I work with aluminide coatings to prevent oxidation.”
Yuchao Li
Yuncha received his Secat scholarship in 2011 and he currently works as a Battery Materials Manager for Apple, Inc. in Cupertino, CA.
“The Secat scholarship relieved financial stress for my undergraduate studies. It provided me extra funds for my senior year so that I could concentrate on my studies and explore my interested subjects. I am very grateful for receiving the scholarship as it not only helped me to graduate from the University of Kentucky with a Materials Engineer degree, but also motivated me to help others whenever it is possible. This scholarship also recognized my achievements and gave me confidence to believe in my ability in academic research. Therefore, after my graduation from the University of Kentucky, I decided to pursue my PhD at Bredesen Center, a joint PhD program between the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Lab.”
“What excites me about the future of aluminum? Although aluminum is one of the most commonly used metals in our society, there are still many areas we might see the potential growth for aluminum. Due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, one of the most important fields for future of aluminum is in automotive industry, which could meet the lightweight requirements for fuel consumption reduction. In addition, with the electrification trend in the automotive industry, there are more opportunities for replacing the conventional steel with aluminum to reduce the weight while also improving performance and safety. Another important part that excites me the most is that aluminum is highly recyclable, which could significantly reduce the energy consumption and green gas generation. In fact, currently Apple is using 100% recycled aluminum in all new Macs and I believe there will be more and more companies to introduce all recycled aluminum products in the market to lower the impact to our planet.”
Dylan Holskey
Dylan received his scholarship in 2016 and he currently works as a Quality Engineer at Harris Products Group in Mason, Ohio.
“Secat provided me with metallurgical experience and initial exposure to the aluminum industry. I worked in the aluminum automotive extrusion in my first job as a Process Engineer. Secat provided me with insight into the aluminum automotive industry, particularly with regard to its strength and potential for growth. The metallurgical knowledge I gained from lab work at Secat help prepare me for the lab work I would do in my first full-time position. I just recently transferred positions to a brazing wire extrusion company (producing many alloys including aluminum). My experience at Secat will surely assist me in determining the quality of products as the new Quality Engineer.”
“Aluminum is here to stay – it is highly recyclable, strong, light, and very customizable for a variety of applications.”




Aluminum Art

Form of Wander
Represents Beauty and Resilience
Situated on Tampa’s active waterfront, the green hued aluminum canopy created by MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY announces itself.
“A destination for your Sunday stroll, a meeting point for your morning runs, an obstacle course for games of tag –
Form of Wander
is an experience as much as it is a signal on the horizon.”
Shortly after the piece of this aluminum sculpture were riveted in place, Tampa withstood extreme winds from Category 4 Hurrican Michael. The structure was devised to stand up tp such weather. For more information on this artist, visit

Todd Boggess and Shridas Ningileri were spotted enjoying the Form of Wander in Tampa recently!

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

Don’t Forget to Connect with Secat on Social Media!

CONNECT with Secat’s
Company Profile on LinkedIn.
LIKE us on
@SecatAluminum, #WeLoveAluminum
Check out our 


2020-10-22T17:07:47-04:00November 21st, 2019|Newsletter|Comments Off on SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 7, Issue 3

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top