ARC Metals celebrates 25 years of powder supply to the “heart of North America’s Powder Metallurgy industry”
ARC Metals, located in Ridgway, PA, USA, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary as a powder supplier to the North Central Pennsylvania region. The area, which within a 50 mile radius of St. Marys has the largest concentration of PM part producers anywhere in the world, is considered by many to be the capital of Powder Metallurgy.
Over the past 25 years the company has established itself as key supplier of recycled, or re-milled, ferrous based metal powders and premixes as well as dry magnetic inspection powders for the non-destructive testing sector.
ARC Metals was originally founded in Ridgway in 1987 to service the growing number of PM part producers in the St Marys region by re-milling waste ferrous PM materials into a re-usable powder product. The re-milled powders could be dedicated to one particular ferrous PM grade from a specific producer and supplied back as a press-ready iron powder within an average lead time of just two to three days. The powder could alternatively be blended to a formulation acceptable for specific MPIF grades and sold back to the local PM market.
When the company first began operating 25 years ago it used a single-axle truck capable of hauling a maximum of 15,000 lbs (or just under seven metric tonnes). In the intervening years two more trucks have been added each capable of hauling up to 45,000 lbs (20 tonnes).
The re-milled iron was originally crushed by a manual grinder and the resulting powder taken to other parts of the plant for screening and separating. The chemical composition of the finished blends of powder was checked by an external company.
With the continuing expansion and success of the company over the past 25 years, the production process involving crushing, screening, and separating of iron has now been refined into a continuous process using automated equipment, and most of the chemical testing is now also performed in-house in a dedicated laboratory manned by three employees.
ARC Metals today occupies over 80,000 ft2 of floor space. It has expanded from ten employees to over 30 and has gone from the original two blenders with limited capacity to 16 blenders that can produce mixes from 10 to 45,000 lbs. The company has also installed a jet milling facility to produce Fe3P and Manganese Sulfide powders.
“During our first 25 years, we went from being a good company to a great company thanks to our dedicated employees and the strong relationships that have been built with our customers,” stated John Blauser, Sales Manager.
Expanding on the company’s success in the words of Jim Distler, Plant Manager, “We excel in what we do because of the partnerships we have with our employees, customers, suppliers and organisations like North Central, who have helped us grow over the years.”
Eric Bridges, Executive Director, North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission said that ARC Metals has been a stalwart member of the Ridgway community for 25 years.
“North Central’s relationship with ARC Metals began back in 1987, when as a tenant of our multi-tenant center, they approached us about start-up financing. Since then the company has been a full-fledged partner with North Central, taking advantage of our workforce development, business finance and export/trade assistance, and going through several expansions. As a company, ARC Metals reflects the character and commitment to the community that is so deeply seeded in north central Pennsylvania. We congratulate them on their 25 years and look forward to many more.”
In 1997, ARC Metals was acquired by Hoeganaes Corp, the world’s largest producer of water atomised iron/steel powders. Today, ARC Metals is proudly part of the GKN Sinter Metal/Hoeganaes group and in addition to its continuing commitment to producing re-milled iron powders for the local PM community, the company also provides LTL blending services for Hoeganaes Corporation and its customers.
The product lines provided by ARC Metals today include over ten different MPIF grades of re-milled iron, reprocessing of customer product, new powder premixes, virgin iron, additive sales, bronze powders, combination new / re-milled blends, and a line of dry magnetic inspection powders for the non-destructive testing sector (NDT), off shore drilling, and other industries.
NDT magnetic particle inspection
NDT magnetic particle inspection is used to detect defects detect in ferrous parts. The method is used to inspect a variety of product forms such as castings, forgings and weldments. The only requirement from an inspection standpoint is that the component being inspected must be made of a ferromagnetic material such as iron, nickel or cobalt, or some of their alloys.
Many different industries use magnetic particle inspection for determining a component’s fitness-for-use. Some examples include of structural steel components, automotive, petro-chemical, power generation and aerospace industries. Underwater inspection is another area where magnetic particle inspection may be used to test such things as offshore structures and underwater pipelines.
ARC Metals’ Ancolor Dry Magnetic Inspection Powders are produced in a variety of colours including white, gray, red and yellow, and are shipped globally.