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Two Penn State University students presented results of independent research projects related to powder metallurgy as they completed summer internships at Atlas Pressed Metals.

DaneMorgan-intern2015-200pxDane Morgan of Grampian, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major at Penn State Behrend, and Logan Shirey of New Bethlehem, a junior studying General Engineering Applied Materials at Penn State DuBois, both worked for 12
weeks in Atlas’ materials lab under the supervision of Dr. Craig Stringer, Senior Metallurgist at Atlas. Both cited interest in the powdered metal field, the need for relevant experience, networking and career exploration as reasons for choosing Atlas for their internships.

Morgan’s project evaluated tensile bars that were molded and sintered at Atlas, for comparison against the industry standards. The project tested various materials including potentially new alloys, with results that will be both helpful to engineering and sales strategies, and will also be used as a basis for future data collection and benchmarking at Atlas.

“There is not a lot of tensile testing in the industry,” Morgan told members of Atlas management, sales, engineering and production during his project presentation. “This data will become very helpful in comparing Atlas standards to the MPIF standard.”

LoganShireyIntern2015-200pxShirey’s project was to develop an enhanced materials compressibility database. He selected six of the most common powders used at Atlas and pressed sample rings. Shirey studied and recorded dimensional change and green density factors as a function of compressibility under varying sintering conditions. Looking at data, results and trends help engineers at Atlas design tooling based on actual conditions at Atlas vs. predicted industry standards, he said.

“It was an awesome opportunity,” Shirey said. “I’m glad I did it.”

As supervisor, Stringer trained the students in using various laboratory testing equipment and facilitated exposure to the entire manufacturing process at the plant. Each morning would begin with a quick update meeting to discuss project status, results and lessons learned before discussing objectives for the coming day. The students not only conducted their research projects, but they also participated in several other department projects.

“They chose projects and jumped right in and helped with various projects on the floor – whatever needed to be done,”Stringer said.

Chuck DeLong, engineer at Atlas, added, “This was a good experience. I was impressed by their work ethic and what they accomplished when they were here.”

rpfingstlerSAN DIEGO - In the annual state-of-the-industry address, Metal Powder Industries Federation president and Atlas Pressed Metals CEO, Richard “Dick” Pfingstler, posed a picture of “resilience and creativity” for the powder metals industry, which is again poised for growth in 2015. Pfingstler’s comments were presented at last month’s POWDERMET 2015 conference in San Diego.

Indicators for the industry include annual powder shipment volumes and powdered metal (PM) processing equipment purchases, both of which grew in 2014 and on track for similar trends this year.  The PM sector of powder shipments increased by over 4% to 376,944 short tons last year. Equipment builders also enjoyed a good 2014, according to Pfingstler, reporting that PM parts fabricators are ordering new equipment for both capacity upgrades and improvement, including presses and furnaces, and are investing in robotics for manufacturing automation.

Difficulties presenting to the PM industry, Pfingstler said, include finding qualified employees, especially die setters and engineers. PM companies and the MPIF have been participating in university-level career fairs to increase awareness about the PM industry.

In the arena of innovation and new product development, there are numerous pursuits. Pfingstler noted a new generation of high-performance PM aluminum materials, the rise of additive manufacturing (AM) and lightweighting trends in the automotive industry as opportunities for PM to come to the table and potentially grow into new markets and applications.

“Without a doubt, additive manufacturing presents some very interesting opportunities as a new technology,” Pfingstler said. “There are currently three well-known commercial PM applications: titanium medical implant parts, cobalt-chrome dental copings, and cobalt-chrome aircraft engine nozzles made by GE. Rolls Royce is also testing a prototype from bearing housing made from a titanium-aluminum alloy for its Trent XWB-97 engines.”

The industry also innovates within its manufacturing process, with Pfingstler noting that the MPIF Technical Board is reviewing ways to reduce dimensional variability on PM parts, with the goal to improve dimensional tolerances by 50 percent.

Pfingstler also commented on the outlook for several notable end markets, including automotive. Benchmarking for US automakers lists average PM content for all vehicles at 45 pounds, with that average rising to between 55 and 60 pounds for light truck. These US figures are in marked contrast to the average European vehicle, which in 2014 contained an estimated 21 pounds of PM parts, he said.

In addition to the lightweighting trend, automotive is becoming more open to Metal Injection Molding (MIM)-designed parts for engines, electrical systems and chassis. The use of PM hot isostatic pressed (HIPed) products for the oil and gas market will increase, despite declines in oil drilling and fracking, he said.

“The last few years have been very good for the PM industry and for MPIF as it continues to do an outstanding job bringing industry leaders and practitioners together to support meaningful programs, projects and activities that help all our companies grow and prosper,” Pfingstler commented.

PA-Gov-impact-awardHARRISBURG, PA – Team Pennsylvania Foundation President Laura Williams recognized Atlas Pressed Metals for creating jobs and making positive contributions to the region’s and state’s economy, as part of the 2015 Governor’s ImPAct Awards. Company President Jude Pfingstler accepted the award at a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey this past Thursday.

“This comes as such an honor to everyone here at Atlas,” Pfingstler said. “We all made this happen together.”

Atlas award 2015

The Governor’s ImPAct Awards recognized 50 companies from throughout the state in five categories: Jobs That Pay, Community Impact, Small Business Impact, Entrepreneurial Impact, and Export Impact. Atlas was the recipient of a Small Business Impact award for its commitment to industry advancement and active research in materials and production innovation; for its proactive support of students and promoting careers in science, technology and manufacturing; for its intentional movement toward business growth demonstrated by management leadership and an ongoing expansion and new investment in equipment; for its role as an employer, supporting and encouraging employees to foster the company’s growth; and for its philosophy of providing excellent and timely customer service, empowered through in-house expertise and the belief that the best business practices are conducted through nurturing business relationships.

The Small Business Impact Award is given to a small business that has been an innovator within its industry, demonstrated revenue/profit growth, increased its workforce, and committed to the growth and development of its employees and community. The company must have 100 or fewer employees. Other award categories are Community ImPAct Award, Entrepreneur ImPAct Award, Export ImPAct Award and Jobs That Pay ImPAct Award.

“Today we celebrate Pennsylvanians who work hard every day to help their workers thrive, to grow their companies, and to improve the communities in which they live,” Laura Williams said. “All of these things, one day, one place at a time, help to make Pennsylvania better.”

Atlas was nominated for the award by the Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) network. Each of the 10 PREP regions submitted up to five nominations per category. The PREP network works to regionalize and coordinate local economic development services to businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Department of Community and Economic Development provides grants through PREP to local economic development service providers that provide assistance and other resources to support local business expansion and growth. 

The awards were sponsored by the state’s private sector partner, Team Pennsylvania Foundation, and were coordinated by DCED, Team Pennsylvania Foundation (Team PA), and Journal Multimedia. Representatives from Team PA and Journal Multimedia evaluated the nominations and selected the award recipients. 

For more information and the full list of finalists and winners, visit teampa.com/gia. For more information about Atlas Pressed Metals, visit www.atlaspressedmetals.com or contact Erin Heath, Business Development Manager at 814-371-4800 or erinheath@atlaspressed.com

PA-Gov-impact-awardHARRISBURG, PA – Atlas Pressed Metals is being recognized for excellence as a small business and its economic impact within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as part of the third annual Governor’s ImPAct Awards. Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey on May 21.

“We are excited to hear the news that Atlas is a finalist among the many strong small businesses in the region,” Atlas president Jude Pfingstler said. “I give credit to our 92 employees for giving their best every day, helping us to innovate, grow and support our community.”

The Governor’s ImPAct Awards recognizes companies from throughout the state in five categories: Community Impact, Entrepreneurial Impact, Export Impact, Jobs That Pay, and Small Business Impact. Atlas was nominated for the Small Business ImPAct Award for its roles in product and process innovation, growth, and commitment to the community. Atlas is one of five finalists in the category and was nominated for the award by the North Central Partnership for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) network. Each of the 10 PREP regions submitted up to five nominations per category. PREP is a statewide network of partners that works to regionalize and coordinate local economic development services to businesses and entrepreneurs.

The criteria for the Governor’s ImPAct Award categories are:

  • Community ImPAct Award - This award is given to a company that exemplifies the tenet of "doing well by doing good." The winners in this category show a sustained commitment to the growth and development of their employees and the community(ies) in which they do business.
  • Entrepreneur ImPAct Award - This award is given to an entrepreneur who has led his or her company to a position of strength in the marketplace by way of growth in one or all of the following areas: creativity, innovation, managerial ability, leadership skills, and turnaround.
  • Export ImPAct Award - This award is given to a company that has significantly increased its export sales and the number of new foreign markets to which it sells
  • Jobs That Pay ImPAct Award - This award is given to a company that has demonstrated consistent job growth and retention over the past two years. The company must have had a positive net gain in new jobs during this time period.
  • Small Business ImPAct Award - This award is given to a small business that has been an innovator within its industry, demonstrated revenue/profit growth, increased its workforce, and committed to the growth and development of its employees and community. The company must have 100 or fewer employees.

Representatives from the Team Pennsylvania Foundation and Journal Multimedia evaluated the nominations and will select the award recipients. 

For more information and the full list of nominees, visit newpa.com/gia.

UglySweaterCheck

Pictured from left are Bob and Carla Adamson of the Gateway Humane Society, Marina Harmon and Tom Krug, both from Atlas Pressed Metals. Gateway Humane Society was selected as the charity of choice by Harmon and recently received a donation from Atlas Pressed Metals with the proceeds from the company’s ugly Christmas sweater contest, won by Harmon.

DuBois – Employees at Atlas Pressed Metals, participating and voting in an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, enjoyed some holiday fun all while benefiting a local charity.

Contestants were photographed in “vintage” or home-made holiday sweater designs, ranging from the simply stated “Ho, Ho, Ho” to elaborate be-tinseled holiday tack. Employees voted on their favorite, or perhaps the ugliest, sweater, and the emerging winner was Marina Harmon from Customer Service. Her kelly green sweater featured tumbling Christmas sock monkeys, green glitter poinsettias and the traditional Christmas pickle.

Harmon was given a gift card for winning but all entry fees, along with a donation from the employee vending fund, were donated to the charity of the winner’s choice. Harmon selected the Gateway Humane Society.

Bob and Carla Adamson, president and secretary of the Gateway Humane Society, visited Atlas Pressed Metals to receive a check for the donation. They stated the greatest need for funds are for animals’ veterinary bills. The shelter, located in Falls Creek, currently houses about 30 dogs and 22 cats in need of a home.

Atlas Production Coordinator Tom Krug developed the contest along with Production Manager Jen Rhines. Krug stated he would like to make the contest an annual event.