Tag Archives: new technologies

N3FC – A New Coating for Wind Turbine Parts

The evolution of technology in the energy production sector is integral in producing more, greener energy at an affordable price. Amongst the highest costs in producing wind energy is the build and maintenance of the turbines themselves. However, these costs may drop in the future, thanks to a surprise discovery by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

What is N3FC

N3FC is the name of a coating that was developed to lubricate and coat, thereby reducing friction between parts. Thanks to carbon-to-carbon bonding that is described as “diamond-like,” the coating helps to reduce micropitting.

Micropitting is a phenomenon that is caused by repeated rolling and sliding cycles in gears and bearings. While this phenomenon happens in more technology than just wind turbines, it is the main reason that turbines have to be brought down for maintenance and repair. Once the micropitting starts, continuing contact makes chipping and corrosion even worse with every cycle. After thousands of cycles, this can produce large cracks in parts, leading to maintenance need or even drivetrain failure.

N3FC reduces the friction, and has been tested at the University of Akron’s Engineered Surfaces Laboratory for over 100 million cycles without appreciable micropitting. While the coating still requires real-world testing outside of the controlled laboratory environment, this is a very encouraging result.

N3FC and Wind Turbines

One of the major costs of producing wind energy is the maintenance of the turbine units. A high-performance coating will reduce the wear and tear on components. This means less of a need for maintenance, a cost that continually drives up wind energy cost. It also means less downtime for each turbine, leading to greater production per unit as well as for the overall grid.

Even with proper maintenance, drivetrain parts wear down after time and require replacement. N3FC will reduce that wear, extending the lifetime of drivetrain parts. This means less need for replacement parts, reducing the capital investment in the turbines and bringing the production cost down. As with maintenance, drivetrain replacement can lead to lengthy downtime, so having a more durable drivetrain can again reduce downtime, and increase the amount of energy produced per turbine.

Here at Hi-Tek Manufacturing, we applaud any development that can make wind energy a safer, less expensive alternative. Green energy is the future for our community, bringing the needs of the citizens in line with the needs of our surrounding environment. For more information about our capabilities in servicing the turbine industry please contact us.

Hi-Tek Manufacturing, Inc. Installs New 5-Axis Horizontal Milling Center

Hi-Tek Manufacturing, Inc., leader in the production of aviation and power generation hot gas path turbine engine components, have just completed the purchase and installation of a new CNC 5-Axis Niigata Horizontal Trunnion horizontal milling machine.  The milling center, Model HN63E-5X, supplied by SNK America, Inc. of Mt. Prospect, IL., compliments existing Niigata HMC’s installed just three years ago.  This new advanced machine was on display at the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago and purchased directly from the floor.

CNC 5-Axis Niigata Horizontal Trunnion horizontal milling machine

The heavy duty machine has been specifically designed for machining difficult materials such as high nickel alloy HGP turbine engine components.  The machine features a boxed guideway rigid structured machine with 900nm of torque at 6,000 rpm, designed specifically for hardened metals.  The machine boasts the following features/benefits:

  • A tilting table trunnion design with full 5-axis contouring capability for complex parts with extended reach to machine intricate five-face, multi-faceted components.
  • Single work set-up which increases productivity while maintaining geometries for optimum accuracy.
  • Rugged design and construction with heavy duty 5-axis trunnion table supported by high load type roller bearings, solid boxway construction with massive thick-walled, heavily ribbed frames.
  • Rigid horizontal spindle configuration – standard 35 HP, 6,000 rpm
  • Standard 62 tool capacity (expandable to 128 tools for growth) and pallet changer
  • Simultaneous 5-axis contouring with Niigata Advanced Controller
  • Pallet size is 24.8” x 24.8” to support a maximum workpiece size of 37.4” x 31.5” and a permissible mass of up to 2,200 lbs.

The new horizontal machining center shipped directly from the IMTS show to Hi-Tek in Mason, Ohio.  “The SNK America, Inc. installation team has been outstanding,” said Rich Hawk, Hi-Tek Maintenance Supervisor.  He went on to add that “the attention to detail and installation was flawless with excellent training of the Hi-Tek maintenance staff.”

Hi-Tek Manufacturing, Inc. has been serving the aviation and land based power generation OEM marketplace for over 36 years and is located in Mason, Ohio.

Introducing New Technologies and Processes

At Hi-Tek Manufacutring, we’re committed to customer satisfaction by investing in newer, more improved technologies. This is why we’ve recently installed the first of what will eventually lead to many Diode Pumped Fiber Laser machines. The lasers have such features as an Articulating Beam Director, Shaped Hole Drilling, Ablation thru TBC coating and Drilling on the Fly capabilities. Initial results have already shown a decreased processing time compared to the more traditional technology.

Hi Tek new technologies

We’ve also recently installed two GM Vacuum Furnaces. The features include 36” x 36” x 48” working chambers, an operating range of 1,100° to 2,400° Fahrenheit and 10-6 Torr Ultimate Vacuum. Our company plans to utilize these furnaces for brazing and heat treating operations. These vacuum furnace installations will provide increased capacity and make room to improve Hi-Tek’s lead-time for complete products. Again, our focus is dedicated to providing the best value services to our customers.

Hi Tek new technologies 2

Generation Y Candidates in High Demand for Manufacturing Jobs

HiTek mfg CNC grinding

The manufacturing industry is facing a generational gap issue, especially among the youth of the so-called “Generation Y.” In fact, by the year 2025, approximately 75% of the workforce will be from that generation. As older generations in the industry begin to retire from their manufacturing jobs, there are very few in younger generations who are either qualified or willing to apply for those manufacturing jobs to replace these retirees. This will have a negative effect on the industry in the years to come.

Fortunately, there are young students who are working on their proper education for these future jobs, however, the vast majority of them haven’t finished school yet. This leaves a large gap between people who are leaving the manufacturing sector and new talent people who aren’t yet ready to enter the workforce.

The main reason younger generations aren’t applying for these positions is because of negative stereotypes that surround the manufacturing industry. According to ThomasNet.com’s 2013 Industry Market Barometer survey of over 1,200 manufacturing companies, 7 out of 10 companies feel that manufacturing careers have a negative public perception, especially with younger generations.

However, as we move quickly towards a technology-based world, manufacturers see these new technologies as opportunities for growth. Eight out of 10 companies plan to use new technology to increase production in the upcoming year. Since the current generation is being raised in a world driven by technology, this will help attract more people in that age group into taking on these open manufacturing positions.

Besides utilizing technology, another way to improve the manufacturing job market is to give younger generations a deeper understanding of the manufacturing industry itself. By raising awareness about what they do, manufacturers can begin to distance the industry from any negative connotations that people may have. Manufacturers can do this by partnering with job recruiting agencies, creating education tools and factory tours for elementary and middle schools or providing internship programs for high school or college students.

Another option to consider is to re-brand the manufacturing market to make it more innovative and up to date for current and future generations. By making efforts like these, manufacturers will begin to bridge the gap between generations and get more people excited about manufacturing.