H.C. Starck Solutions Attends Glasstec Virtual 2020

H.C. Starck Solutions is proud to announce its participation at this year’s Glasstec Virtual 2020 on October 20-22. This show is the world’s leading trade fair for the glass industry. Top speakers from various areas of the glass industry will be presenting the latest trends and developments in glass production, glass processing, glass finishing, as well as glass products and applications. We are excited to attend and share our knowledge of molybdenum products used in the glass manufacturing industry.

We will be a virtual “exhibitor” at this show. Our Market Directors, Cristian Cretu and Robert Marchiando will be presenting a live panel session, “Molybdenum in Glass Melting – Products, Applications, Benefits” on October 20, 7:40AM EST (13:40 -14:10 CEST). This presentation will offer an overview of molybdenum (Mo) products used in the manufacturing of various glass types. With applications ranging from traditional glassware to advanced fiber glass and pharmaceutical vials, Mo proves to be the material of choice for glass melting electrodes (GMEs). Benefits of different types of GMEs as well as criteria for choosing the right product will be discussed.

Learn more about the show here

Register for free here

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Critical Role of H.C. Starck Solutions in Semiconductor Supply Chain Highlighted During Congressman Auchincloss Visit

Press release originally published on PR Newswire.

 

April 7 – Newton MA. The essential role of H.C. Starck Solutions in the semiconductor, aerospace and defense markets was the focus of a visit by Congressman Jake Auchincloss to the global headquarters in Newton on Wednesday. The company supplies the most technically advanced tantalum sputtering targets for the semiconductor supply chain as well as refractory metal products for space and defense applications.

“We were excited to give Congressman Auchincloss the opportunity to see how H.C. Starck Solutions is an essential business, has been successfully executing Covid protocols and keeping our employees safe, while maintaining continuous production of high technology products for our customers in the semiconductor, medical and defense industries” said Jake Homiller, President & CEO of H.C. Starck Solutions.

During the Congressman‘s tour of the plant, several key areas of operations and the differentiators of H.C. Starck Solutions’ process technology were highlighted. Congressman Auchincloss addressed the workforce, emphasizing the importance of the work being done to support the strategic needs of the US and the continued importance of investing in high quality jobs in Massachusetts.

“H.C. Starck Solutions is a critical node in the semiconductor value chain and it represents Massachusetts’ advantage in advanced manufacturing. We are a state that is a world leader in the manufacturing of complex, high value goods. And right here in Newton, we have an example of an employer that is doing work that is critical for many of the products we take for granted in daily life. H.C. Starck Solutions represents not only the jobs of today and of the future, but also America’s competitive advantage,” said the Congressman.

The group discussed the plant’s capabilities, processes, and end products. “It was great to share with the Congressman how our Newton facility supports the semiconductor industry, which has been highlighted by the Biden Administration as a critical supply chain risk. We are proud of what our plant does, and it was great to see the Congressman and his team so engaged with our workforce,” said Homiller.

With the support of our elected officials, H.C. Starck Solutions looks forward to building on its legacy of refractory metal innovation and continuing its support of customers in critical end markets.

 

About H.C. Starck Solutions

H.C. Starck Solutions is a leading global manufacturer of metal powders, complex fabrications, and additively manufactured parts made from refractory metals. It is headquartered in Newton, MA, with operations in the United States, Europe, and Asia.  Its three U.S. manufacturing plants are in Newton, MA, Euclid, OH, and Coldwater, MI. The company works with four key refractory metals and their alloys, supplying its products to the semiconductor, aerospace, defense, medical, chemical processing, glass melting, and commercial heat-treating industries.

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TIPE Women in 3D Printing Webinar: Optimizing Refractory Metals for Additive Manufacturing

H.C. Starck Solutions was a recent a sponsor at the TIPE 3D Printing Virtual Conference powered by Women in 3D Printing January 27-28, 2021. Women in 3D Printing is an organization that supports and inspires women in additive manufacturing, with a mission to close the gender gap in the field. Through memberships, host events, job boards, and a dedicated magazine, they endeavour to increase the visibility of female leaders in the additive manufacturing industry and encourage newcomers to use 3D printing technologies.

About TIPE 3D Printing

With a focus on case studies, additive manufacturing user applications, visionary talks on the future, and people shaping the industry, TIPE 3D Printing curates an inspirational all-female agenda of speakers and panelists. Long-lasting connections and networking opportunities are emphasized throughout this human-centred event, which welcomes all members of the additive manufacturing community and related fields. The conference had an inspirational all-female agenda of speakers and panelists highlighting the latest work in additive manufacturing technology, the industry, the people, and the global economy.

Our very own additive manufacturing R&D Engineer, Faith Oehlerking, was a speaker in the “Material Innovations” session of the Technology Track on January 28. This presentation, “Optimizing Refractory Metals for Additive Manufacturing” highlights H.C. Starck Solutions’ materials, methods, markets, and recent research developments within the additive manufacturing space.

Faith currently works in the Coldwater, MI facility, focusing on developing the company’s refractory metal AM powders for the laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing technology.  Previous to H.C. Starck Solutions, Faith was a product development engineer for Formetrix Metals, a metal 3D printing start-up developing L-PBF materials for the tool and die industry. Faith received her B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

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Using Tantalum in Corrosive Environments

The chemical processing industry (CPI) forms an enormous share of the global economy. Manufacturing a wide variety of commodity, intermediate, fine, and specialty chemicals the approximately USD $4 trillion segment (based on pre-pandemic estimates), also produces many chemical building blocks essential to numerous other industrial areas.

Corrosion-resistant refractory metals like tantalum (Ta) are essential to operations in various chemical processing facilities. We will explore what tantalum is used for in CPIs shortly, but first it is worth looking at some typical processing conditions in CPI.

Corrosion in CPI —An Overview

Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), agrochemicals, detergents, pigments, petrochemicals, and myriad other consumer and industrial base chemicals are produced world-wide in gigantic quantities every single year. The intense economic requirements characteristic to the CPI are compounded by inherent processing difficulties.

Most of the CPI utilizes reagents such as hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, nitric, phosphoric, and sulfuric acids. The corrosivity of each increases with concentration, but additional factors such as temperature, vapour phases and pressure can accelerate the chemical attack of container linings and mixing components. In mixing applications, the velocity of impellers also plays a part. Careful materials selection for chemical processing equipment and vessels is vital for ensuring the long-term safety and economic viability of your workflow.

Often, metals that are susceptible to corrosion in the long-term will be chosen for a given service time with maintenance/replacement scheduled well in advance of failure. This is not a sure-fire solution, however.

Tantalum in Chemical Processing

Tantalum sets the benchmark for long-term performance in corrosive environments. It is inert in the presence of most acids (except for hydrofluoric) and its corrosion-resistance is comparable to glass in chemical reaction vessels and pipework.  Tantalum is not suitable for use in caustic environments where sodium or potassium hydroxide, for example, are present.

Although tantalum may seem like an expensive choice when compared with maintenance intensive alternatives like graphite, or silicon carbide (SiC), the total cost of ownership over the many years of virtually maintenance-free operation render tantalum the solution of choice for a broad spectrum of CPI applications. Since tantalum CPI equipment can last multiple decades, the initial investment is easily offset by decreased downtime and higher production rates. In addition, using tantalum eliminates particle generation in systems where purity is essential (i.e. pharmaceuticals). In the end, the go to solution for high purity, high performance and reliable operation is either pure tantalum of the tried-and-trusted Ta2.5W alloy.

Tantalum is an excellent candidate for additive manufacturing (AM) using either powder (for complex shapes with thin walls) or wire-based processes (for rapid manufacturing rates).  Depending on the complexity of the equipment being printed, various AM processes have demonstrated the cost-effective creation of tantalum parts and components that would otherwise be physically impossible or prohibitively expensive to manufacture using traditional subtractive techniques (e.g., machining, drilling, etc.). Components such as small high efficiency heat exchangers, micro-reactors, pump impellers, acid mixers, and many others can be manufactured using AM techniques in tantalum and tantalum alloys to suit complex applications in various CPI sub-segments.

Tantalum Alloys from H.C. Starck Solutions

At H.C. Starck Solutions, in addition to the standard Ta2.5W alloy, we offer a modified Ta2.5W that was engineered for enhanced corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement resistance. Our Ultra 76+ products are available in a wide range of formats, including unfinished bars and billets, semi-finished coils, rods, and wires, and tubing. This novel tantalum alloy offers the potential for increased productivity due to its superior corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement resistance at higher operating temperatures and acid concentrations.

Contact a member of the team today if you would like to learn more about our range of tantalum products.

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The element symbol for the refractory metal tantalum

Tantalum: Properties & Applications

Tantalum is one of the rarest elements on earth in both pure and alloy forms. At the same time, it is needed in a wide variety of applications. First discovered in 1802, it was originally thought to be a niobium allotrope which is chemically similar to tantalum. However tantalum was determined to be an element of its own, one of the most corrosion-resistant metals available, with a rarity similar to that of uranium.

Chemical Properties of Tantalum

Atomic Number 73
Atomic Mass 180.94788 u
Density 16.6 g/cm3
Melting Point 3,017 °C
Co-efficient of Thermal Expansion 10-6/K

Tantalum Properties

With its grey finish, tantalum is similar in color to platinum. It has a density of 16.6 g/cm3; double that of steel. It is highly ductile at room temperature and has the fourth highest melting point of all known metals at 3017°C (5463°F).

Tantalum is used in a wide range of alloys to increase strength, ductility, and melting point. Tantalum can be used in a range of forms suited to different industrial applications such as powder which can be used in electrical capacitors and sheet to line columns and vessels in chemical applications, and as vacuum furnace parts.  When it is drawn into a thin wire, tantalum is used as a filament for metals which evaporate such as aluminum.  In addition to these forms, tantalum can also be used as rods/wires, tubes, strips, foils,  and oxides.

Tantalum Applications

Chemical Processing

Tantalum has excellent corrosion resistance to most acids (a notable exception is hydrofluoric) in a wide range of concentrations and temperatures.  Its corrosion resistance is similar to glass in many of these acids.  Consequently, it is used in chemical processing equipment where hot, highly corrosive environments are encountered.  Heat exchangers, bayonet heaters, tank liners, valve liners, feed lances, rupture disks, and various other components are fabricated from tantalum.

Semiconductors

The semiconductor market is built on the foundation of silicon chip manufacturing technology. Integrated circuits (ICs) are produced with nanoscale feature sizes and the optimization of electron conduction between nanometer-scale features is critical. Tantalum can be used in logic chips and DRAMS to facilitate the use of copper as interconnects as, unlike copper, tantalum atoms do not diffuse into silicon at the temperatures these chips operate at.

High-purity tantalum and tantalum nitrides are grown on top of the copper chips to stop electromigration of the copper atoms, meaning the semiconductor devices remain reliable for longer. At H.C. Starck Solutions, we supply  sputter target blanks which are often used to generate barrier layers in modern ICs.

Medical Equipment

Tantalum is extremely biocompatible and does not produce toxic products or trigger adverse immunological responses when exposed to body or bodily fluids. This means that tantalum works well for medical applications that require pairing with living tissue such as medical implants and prosthetics.

Military and Aerospace

Nickel based superalloys are used extensively in gas turbine engines for commercial and military aircraft where they are exposed to extremely high temperatures and stresses.  Tantalum additions to these superalloys help improve high temperature strength. Parts and components made from these tantalum containing superalloys can operate at higher internal combustion temperatures resulting in enhanced thrust efficiencies and lower fuel consumption.

Furnace Applications

Refractory furnace trays and boats are routinely used to hold semi-finished goods during extremely high temperature processes like sintering. Tantalum is an exceptional material for furnace applications, retaining good dimensional stability at process temperatures with excellent resistance to creep deformation ensuring long service.

Nuclear Applications

Superconducting wires intended for use in nuclear applications often incorporate tantalum diffusion barriers designed to resist internal diffusion and impart enhanced mechanical properties to the superconducting element. This is useful for large-scale scientific initiatives such as nuclear fusion research.

Electronics Industry

Tantalum has exceptional storage capacities with the ability to store more charge per gram than any other comparable metals. For this reason, tantalum is well-suited to the production of electrical capacitors and resistors whilst being able to hold large amounts of charge in a small component. This has meant manufacturers have been able to make electrical parts and devices much smaller.

H.C. Starck Solutions can provide excellent assistance in the application of ready-made and proprietary parts using pure tantalum and tantalum alloys. Contact the team today, to find out more.

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H.C. Starck Solutions Exhibits at AMUG 2021

We are so excited to announce that we will be exhibiting in person at AMUG (Additive Manufacturing Users Group) in Orlando, Florida, May 2-6, 2021! AMUG is a global community focused on accelerating the education and advancement of additive manufacturing and 3D printing. The AMUG conference brings together engineers, designers, managers, and educators from around the world to share expertise, best practices, challenges, and application developments in additive manufacturing.

H.C. Starck Solutions’ expertise in AM methods, as well as refractory metal part manufacturing, makes us the ideal partner for our customers’ current applications, as well as for the development of solutions to their future challenges. Our competency in material selection, part design, process validation, and full-scale manufacturing provides a leading edge in the fast-paced AM industry. With refractory metal feedstocks including both powder and wire, we’re able to support multiple AM methods.

Based on 100 years of experience in the manufacturing and development of refractory metals, H.C. Starck Solutions has powder and wire feedstock with tailored properties perfectly suited for AM. Our core competencies of W, Mo, Ta, and Nb, in pure and alloyed forms, ensure materials with the highest quality and performance for our customers. As an integrated player, we use our feedstock materials and turn them into innovative finished products using the best-suited additive manufacturing methods.

Since the introduction of AM, a large variety of process technologies have been developed of which no single method fits all applications. H.C. Starck Solutions works closely with its customers and partners to select the correct feedstock and method that will provide the most value to any given application. We have successfully demonstrated refractory metal AM with multiple methods.

Faith Oehlerking, our Additive Manufacturing R&D Engineer, will be giving a technical presentation at the show on Wednesday, May 5, 3-4PM EST in the AM Metal Technologies Track. Her presentation will be called “Optimizing Refractory Metals for Additive Manufacturing.”

Our booth (#64) will be open to visitors at the AMUGExpo on Sunday, May 2, and Monday, May 3. If you are interested in speaking with any of our team about H.C. Starck Solutions’ refractory metals for additive manufacturing, please visit our booth where we will also be displaying some of our AM products.

 

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Additive Manufacturing Collaboration Maximizes Thruster Performance for Spacecraft Propulsion

Using a Renishaw RenAM 500 Series AM machine with refractory metals supplied by H.C. Starck Solutions, HiETA and the University of Southampton have unlocked new design thinking for satellite propulsion by enabling engineers to build fine structures and complex 3D geometries that could not be produced using traditional fabrication techniques. Through close collaboration, the team delivered an innovative new resistojet propulsion system named STAR (Super high Temperature Additively manufactured Resistojets) consisting of nested and interconnected heating elements.

Through funding from the UK Space Agency Flagship Program and with the additional collaboration from the Satellite Applications Catapult and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, the team has been able to demonstrate the potential benefits of an AM design approach for enhancing performance of a refractory metal-based resistojet propulsion system. The webinar will cover all of the challenges that the team had to overcome to successfully build refractory metal-based resistojets using AM. Topics will include the design, modeling, material selection, AM build and testing of the resistojet propulsion system.

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