Forging furnace fuel consumption, constant refractory maintenance and unscheduled downtime are significant cost drivers for the forging process. Failing furnace refractories and poor furnace temperature uniformities leading to product cold spots, negatively affects the quality of forged parts. Increasing furnace efficiencies and reducing unscheduled down times will lead to better quality precision forgings and increased production.
Applying ceramic coatings to the refractory within the forging furnace mitigates or resolves these issues. Improvement in product quality of manufactured parts using ITC Coatings, will allow for a reduction in part failures and increase the quantity of parts supplied supporting the warfighter.
In August 2020, a Forging Defense Manufacturing Consortium (FDMC) project led by Thermal Coating Solutions in partnership with ITC Coatings, installed ITC Coating on two partner forging furnaces. Both companies worked with TCS and provided updates and data on the furnace improvements. The coatings were installed directly onto the hot face of the furnace refractory linings during previously scheduled downtimes at both forge shops.
As of March 2022, the furnaces continue to perform well and have not required any unscheduled maintenance to date. After the ceramic coatings were installed, reductions in fuel consumption from both plants were reported around 18% and 40%, depending on furnace type and the number of loads run in a given month. Additionally, recovery time at both sites was improved. Recovery time was measured as the total time required to return to operating/forging temperature after the furnace door has been opened and closed to allow the removal or loading of parts. Reductions in recovery times have been reduced through the use of ITC Coatings as reported around 20% to 60% depending on furnace type and the number of loads run in a given month.
The project is also working on a trial for coating electrodes in an electric arc furnace application, for the purpose of reducing electrode consumption.
The Forging Defense Manufacturing Consortium (FDMC) strives to identify, investigate, develop, and deploy solutions to improve the capability and competitiveness of the forging industry in support of Department of Defense (DoD) supply chains. FDMC continues to be the sole consortium bringing together the forging industry, academia, and DoD.
FDMC partners with the Forging Industry Association (FIA) to provide the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) direct access to over 300 forging industry forge shops and industry suppliers.
FDMC’s longstanding, well-documented performance on past programs provides DLA with a proven, integrated, low risk, high-performance solution.