SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 8, Issue 2

Aluminum WrapUp
Volume 8, Issue 2
May/June 2020


Covid-19 – Secat Is Open For Business

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Secat remains open for business and is operating under a normal schedule in order to meet the needs of its customers. Our excellent staff is following CDC and state/local guidelines in terms of proper hygiene and social distancing. However, all administrative activities are performed at home in order to minimize any health risks.

Covid-19 Industry Response
The Aluminum Association provides updates and resources for the industry during this challenging time.  

Stay Tuned for New Training Courses!
As much of education is transitioning to a virtual/online format, Secat is preparing
a series of
short online courses entitled “Aluminum Extrusion Processes”. These courses will cover the Extrusion Process including short modules that explain Basic Metallurgy, Billet Casting, Homogenization, Extrusion Process Basics, Aging and Heat Treatment and much more. 
We hope to continue offering live classes when circumstances allow. In the meantime –
stay tuned for more details
 to stay up to date.

Secat Is Hiring!
Secat has an immediate opening for a Technical Director. If you, or someone you know, is interested in an exciting opportunity, please visit our
Career page
or contact Secat at to apply.

Person of Interest
Dr. Lee Davis
Director of Operations
Tri-Arrows Aluminum, Inc.
Lee started in 1989 with Alcoa DC in ingot casting and electrical conductor (EC) rod rolling, then became the Atomized Powder Plant Manager. Next he worked for Wagstaff Inc focusing on research and development for technologies to produce large format DC rolling ingots through small horizontal DC continuous forging stock. Lee moved to the Novelis Molten Metal processing group for several years focusing on global recycling, casting, water treatment and scalping activities and green-site start-ups, before moving into a plant management position in Coated Sheet Operations. Currently, Lee is Director of Operations for Tri-Arrows Aluminum, a domestic leader in flat rolled sheet for rigid packaging. He obtained BS Metallurgy and PhD Materials degrees from University of Texas at El Paso and the Colorado School of Mines as well as BA in Applied Behavioral Science–Leadership from Bastyr University. Away from work, Lee’s focus includes his family, dog, bass fishing, hiking/climbing, playing live music, and traveling.
What brought you to the Board of Directors of Secat?
Tri-Arrows Aluminum – TAA (in its previous incarnation as Arco Aluminum) was one of the founding members for SECAT. As such, we have a rich history and long association with SECAT which has included a seat on the board of directors since the beginning. I have also personally worked on a few joint SECAT projects with Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest National Labs, and others, so I know SECAT expertise firsthand. For all those reasons, when TAA President Henry Gordinier asked if I’d like to represent us on SECAT’s board I was honored to say yes. I hope that my combination of R&D experience and operations focus on melting and rolling are helpful to SECAT.
In your opinion, what makes Secat unique/special in the industry?
As far as I know, SECAT is the only independent laboratory that is focused on aluminum rolling and extrusion/profile. Most large producers in the USA have well-developed internal laboratory functions. Tri-Arrows is probably the largest flat-rolled producer (almost a billion pounds annually) without its own North American lab. SECAT’s independence and wide-ranging expertise allows us to utilize a wide-range of services for both Tri-Arrows and our end-use customers. These services range from mechanical testing to metallurgical sheet characterization to formability analyses and many more. TAA uses these services on a monthly basis despite access to extensive labs run by our owners at the United Aluminum Company of Japan (UACJ). The independence of SECAT and their short turn-around times are unique in the industry.
What is the most important/exciting development you see in the future for Secat?
It’s hard to say “how” this will ultimately occur, but I think one of the most exciting roles for SECAT in the next decade can be as an “Organizational Learning” resource for the industry. The aluminum industry continues to lose vast amounts of personal experience and expertise. It seems there are few means by which to replace or replenish these receptacles of knowledge. SECAT’s internal expertise combined with its unique role as neutral third-party could position it to be the preeminent supplier of “knowledge” about aluminum sheet and profiles in North America. Maybe “training” is the future!
I’d just like to share that I am excited about the future of SECAT and I look forward to its growth as a center for learning in the aluminum industry.
You can learn more about us on Secat’s website

You can learn more about us on Secat’s website

Featured Capabilities
Haas TM-1 Tool Room Mill
A new CNC mill has been installed at Secat which provides greater flexibility, improves sample quality, and adds long-term potential to our capabilities. A Haas TM-1 tool room mill was chosen as the replacement based on rigidity, machining envelope, and feed rates. The TM-1 has a machinable size of 30” travel on the X axis, 12” travel on the Y axis, and 16” travel on the Z axis, with a 200 ipm maximum cutting rate and 4,000 rpm spindle speed from a 7.5 hp drive. The Next Generation Control (NGC) combined with a Wireless Intuitive Probing System (WIPS) allow for rapid zeroing of work coordinates, probing of specimen geometry, and rapid changeover in setups between types of samples. The NGC and WIPS system also ease training for new staff using the Visual Programming System (VPS) to rapidly setup work coordinates and simple program paths. Click
to see a video of the mill in operation.
The TM-1 uses a CAT-40 taper tooling system which allows for larger, more rigid tooling and faster tooling changeouts than previously capable at Secat. The current tooling available at Secat consists of end mills specifically chosen for aluminum in diameters of 3/16”, 1/4”, and 1/2”. Also available are shell mills of 2” and 4” diameters for rapid facing of samples.  With the current tooling assortment, Secat can mill profiles, pockets, and face off material for evaluation and fixture making for other equipment within the lab. Work holding is achieved with either a Kurt DX-6 vise, using soft jaws for customizable holding of samples with a maximum size of 6” x 9”, or a multi-station tensile cutting fixture which can hold up to six 0.5” stacks of samples for machining at a time.
The current improvements to Secat’s machining capability are a 10x reduction in cutting time, ability to utilize additional tooling common in traditional milling operations, larger work envelope with more flexibility in types/sizes of samples, and fixturing. Previously, a standard tensile program path would take more than 10 minutes to machine a tensile dog-bone sample. The Haas TM-1 mill, permits these samples to be machined in 1 minute. Previously, Secat engineers were unable to perform facing operations in the old mill, but the TM-1 allows Secat to face material for Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES) evaluation or reduce the amount of manual grinding needed for macro etching evaluations in large samples. There is also now the ability to pocket mill as deep as 3” for milling out samples from a larger material section such as a billet casting slice or ingot slice. The larger envelope of the TM-1 allows machining of Forming Limit Curve (FLC) samples in-house which provides better control and faster turnaround times.  
Long term growth potential with the TM-1 is centered around the flexibility of having a larger rigid CNC mill with all the capabilities of traditional milling as opposed to a tensile cutting centric designed mill. In addition to the previously mentioned improvements, the TM-1 allows Secat to enhance and expand its offerings. Past experience has shown cases where potential projects have required special fixturing or dies. For instance, Secat made hemming bend fixtures and were requested to test components in their final form, for which Secat had to utilize outside sources for manufacture, with typical lead times of 3 months. In-house capability allows Secat to cut lead times drastically. In addition, wear and damage on dies typically requires a 6 month lead time for replacement, but with the ability to rough out the dies in-house, and only utilize outside sources for finish grinding and heat treatment, the 6 month lead time is significantly reduced. Correspondingly, new dies that customers would like to experiment with can be made in a similar fashion. Testing out a square box deep draw to more accurately depict a finished product for a customer or changing the draw ratio of current dies housed at Secat would now only require the finish grinding and heat treatment to be done outside.

The TM-1 offers significant benefits to the previous CNC housed at Secat. Below is a bullet point summary of improvements.
  • Doubling of machining envelope for larger more varied specimen types
  • 10x reduction in machining time
  • Improvement in machined surface quality and dimensional tolerances
  • Expansion of tooling options and operations
  • Ease of machine setups
  • Reduction of setup time between types of samples and operations
  • Greater flexibility in accommodating special requests
  • Expansion of in-house sample preps
  • Reduction in special fixture and die manufacture times
You can learn more about us on Secat’s website

Aluminum Art
Aluminum Horses in Central Park
Three oversized horses sculpted from aluminum are currently standing sentinel at the entrance to Central Park in New York City. “The Horses”, by artist Jean-Marie Appriou, grace the Doris C. Freedman Plaza off of 5th Avenue. The Plaza is home to nearly year-round installations by Public Art Fund (
“One horse is seated, facing the entrance. Another is hyperextended and bending down, forming an archway through which visitors can walk. The third is standing, but is missing everything from torso up. The aluminum is molded to look like muscle in some places, metal plates in others, and even like fabric. What is perhaps must striking is the scale — passerbys are barely half the height, if not less.” – Michelle Young, untapped new york.
Appriou “carved clay and foam models to cast in aluminum, emphasizing the tool marks and fingerprints of his tactile process. The works’ jagged textures and silvery surfaces create a dynamic play of light and shadow as we move around them, emphasizing the hallucinatory qualities of their composition and imbuing them with a dreamlike energy.” -Public Art Fund
You can see more of this
magnificent art here…

Aluminum Art

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

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2022-04-11T09:41:56-04:00June 9th, 2020|Newsletter|Comments Off on SECAT Newsletter, Vol. 8, Issue 2

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