Alloyed, Oxford, UK, has acquired an Arc 200 melting furnace from Arcast Inc., Oxford, Maine, USA, and has installed it alongside the range of technologies already available within its Rapid Alloy Research Centre. This follows on from the company’s investment in an Electro-Thermal Mechanical Testing (ETMT) machine in 2020.
“Alloyed is an expert in the development, licensing, and manufacture of proprietary alloys, alloy powders, and alloy components for a growing number of industry sectors,” stated Gael Guetard, the director of Rapid Alloy Research Centre Director. “The acquisition of the Arc 200 from Arcast means that Alloyed is one of the only private commercial companies to have this technology in-house. It has been purchased to complement our two induction melters installed in 2020, these two melters having been key assets for our Cu, Ni, Pt, Fe, and Al alloy development projects.”
Guetard continued, “The induction melters use a ceramic crucible which reacts with some alloys and are limited to 2000°C, whereas the Arc 200 has a copper crucible that accommodates higher melting point alloys and means we can now produce alloys with high levels of Ti, Zr, Nb, Ta, Mo, W, etc. This significantly widens the markets and customers we can reach, particularly in the medical, space, and nuclear sectors.”
The Arc 200 uses a tungsten electrode to generate an arc in an argon atmosphere and melts the feedstock materials in a water-cooled copper crucible. The specific machine purchased by Alloyed also has the following options: high vacuum (10-5 mbar) and getter, allowing a clean melt; electromagnetic stirring/pulsing and button flipping, enabling the chemical homogeneity of the melt; high power (up to 800 A) to melt any metal; and tilt-casting into a mould, controlling the solidification structure and shape of the ingot.
“Before we purchased the Arc 200, we would outsource the melting of high temperature and reactive alloys, and this had the knock-on effect of increasing cost and lead times of our projects,” Guetard explained. “In addition, it meant that we had little control over quality. Bringing this capability in-house means that we can significantly increase the pace of our alloy development projects and gain more control over the quality of the alloys, which is fundamental to customer satisfaction.”
“The arc melter fits within our Rapid Alloy Research Centre, where the ingots cast in the Arc 200 can be processed, characterised and tested. We are currently in the commissioning phase, but we already have several exciting new alloys lined up: Ti-based alloys for medical applications, bulk metallic glasses for jewellery, high-entropy alloys for gas turbines, refractory-based alloys for space, and more. We are excited to engage with new customers moving forward who can now benefit from our expertise and agility in customised alloy development,” Guetard concluded.