R&D research combining novel raw material compositions to create new products.
A major aerospace company had put in over three years of R&D research into developing a promising new product. They had reached a critical junction in their research that hinged on creating a novel raw material input for a high temperature coating. The company was well versed in the potential benefits of the selected raw materials, but needed to prove their theory that melting these materials at ultra-high temperatures would create a powerful new material with enhanced performance characteristics.
The raw material was a key component in their new product. To reach the final step of product testing they needed to produce just a few pounds of the custom furnaced material. According to laboratory research the proposed raw material had great potential, but the company lacked the equipment and know-how in electric-arc furnacing to test their concept. The company’s needs were clear; having done the work of identifying the raw materials, they needed assistance in producing a custom fused material.
The company contacted Washington Mills to inquire about the possibility of melting the two raw materials at very high temperatures to produce just a few pounds of material for test purposes. Washington Mills recommended the services of its new product development group. Washington Mills’ furnace specialists have many years of experience in melting different raw materials and the skills to quickly dial-in on possible furnace parameters and proportions of raw materials. Washington Mills’ pilot fusion plant is equipped with scaled down electric-arc furnace technology capable of producing 5-100 lbs of custom fused minerals.
The furnace specialists analyzed the raw materials and speculated as to how they may react in the furnace. Based on the analysis and their years of fusion experience, the group suggested running a series of five separate electric-arc furnace runs. The different runs allowed for the subtle tweaking of furnace parameters as well as the alteration of material composition - which entailed adding more of one material and less of the other until the sample matched the product concept. The goal was to provide for some flexibility in testing, but bring the trial and error time at the furnace down to a minimum.
The custom furnace runs were a success; the raw materials melted well and five pounds of finished product was produced for use in the company’s product trials. The company was pleased with Washington Mills’ electric-arc furnace knowledge, and the fusions were completed very quickly - within only one week. By utilizing the services of Washington Mills’ new product development group and furnace specialists, the company avoided the large capital expenditure of purchasing new equipment, and saved years of time and resources that would have been required to acquire the know-how and skills necessary to operate the equipment successfully. By providing the fusion technology and know-how to prove a theory, Washington Mills saved the aerospace company a significant amount of time, resources and money. The company is planning to test more custom fusions with Washington Mills in the future
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