History of Electric Induction Heating

This Chapter

Induction Heating
  1. Early work to Salesman
  2. Salesman to entrepreneur
  3. Vacuum furnaces
  4. Henry Rowan, Mars Rocket
  5. Cheston, Cragmet, IRS
  6. Visit Russia, Meet Vera
  7. Around the world, Meet the president
  8. Kramatorsk
  9. Consarc
  10. Consarc UK
  11. Carbon contract
  12. Russians in Scotland
  13. The Embargo is Coming
  14. Embargo and Aftermath
  15. BEPA
  16. After BEPA
  17. Fiber Materials Appeal
  18. Consarc Officials Deny Wrongdoing in Sales to Soviets
  19. Memos from Henry Rowan to Metcalf
  20. Rowland motor patent 1868
  21. Rowland reviews the bids for Niagara Falls power station
  22. Metcalf's father's poem, and Metcalf genealogy
  23. The Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
  24. Problems of Russia's Policy With Respect to China and Japan
  25. History of Ajax Magnethermic
  26. The most important event for Inductotherm
  27. Fright Flight
  28. Black art of carbon production
  29. Polaris Missile
  30. Nuclear Airplane
  31. Nuclear Engine
  32. Molten metal eats through and explodes
  33. Cannon Muskegon Corporation
  34. Metcalf at General Motors Research from April 1955 to Oct 1955
  35. Metcalf pouring superalloy at GE from Oct 1955 to June 1956
  36. Metcalf at Waimet (later Howmet) from June 1956 to July 1957
  37. Black art of carbon production
  38. Project to test NASA hot hydrogen engine
  39. Special Metals Number 9
  40. Metcalf joins Inductotherm group
  41. Device to load materials into a furnace for melting
  42. Bank reneged on a commitment to finance a job in Russia
  43. Inductotherm private airport
  44. NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) and all I know about carbon
  45. NERVA Engine Control Rods
  46. same as 383-Nuke.html
  47. Development of Polaris missle
  48. Ajax NASA
  49. Production of carbon fabrics and threads made from rayon
  50. George Houghton, Aerojet Inspector gives Metcalf Rocket history
  51. Rayon to carbon to graphite
  52. Metcalf buys the control division of the Pelton Water Wheel Company
  53. Rowan's account of firing Consarc President
  54. Kama Purchasing Commission, Ukraine
  55. Role of chromium in vacuum melters
  56. ASEA wins contract for isopress
  57. Induction heating to re-refile tank cannon
  58. Hoover-Ugine Company
  59. Letter to Henry Rowan at Inductotherm
  60. John Mortimer in Rancocas
  61. Consarc Board of Directors Meeting
  62. Consarc Board of Directors Meeting
  63. Hillbilly
  64. How to produce Calcarb
  65. Newsday, late 1987
  66. Embargo Regulations
  67. Seizure of Goods
  68. Minutes of Dept of Trade, London
  69. Minutes of ECGD Meeting
  70. Rowan Interview
  71. Bombshell looks like dud
  72. Letter to Hank Rowan
  73. Consarc Board Meeting
  74. Minutes of DTI Meeting, London
  75. Stansted Fluid Power
  76. Minutes of DTI Meeting, 3 Oct 85
  77. Letter to IHI Master Metals

Induction Heating

By James Farol Metcalf

Metcalf at Waimet (later Howmet) from June 1956 to July 1957

The new title, Junior Metallurgist, had a nice ring to it and my pay was above the magic $10,000 with possible bonuses. The work at Waimet taught me the business of metals. The heart of the business was buying scraps and not getting cheated. I became very good at that part of the business. Nickel was in short supply because of labor troubles at INCO in Canada.

Our sister company, Michigan Standard Alloy (MISCO) could get a nickel allocation for the Hastalloy B they purchased from Waimet. There was about 50-tons of this alloy scrap in the pipe line and nickel price was 65 cents and in the black market it was fetching up to $4.50 per pound.

There was only one trouble. Our melting process using scrap would not pass the ductility tests. Using a lance I first increased the carbon in the melt with acetylene, then reduced the carbon with oxygen, and as a final step used a mixture of Freon and argon. The melts were more than satisfactory.

Selling Hastalloy generated more scrap since the casting tree and risers in the investment casting process Using an old Ajax 2000-pound furnace that Waimet rented during the night from the stainless steel foundry we produced 12-tons per day. Liquid metal was poured into a ladle and transported by crane to the large shot tank. The ladle poured into a refractory lined box with about five hundred small holes in the bottom. Like rain when molten liquid metal falls it turns into drops. These drops fell into water that was circulated to keep it from boiling. The shot product was collected in a wire screen basket that sat on the bottom of the water tank. Seven of these melts were stored in drums until chemical tests were run. After they were cleaned and blended in a large rotating drum blender to make a "Master Melt". A small sample of the final blend was investment cast to make parts for tests. These results were certified and material could be sold to several customers.

Pat Gibbons ran the Waimet operation for Roger Waindle, the founding owner, who was working for the government establishing quality controls standards for the new aircraft metals.

Pat announced without warning that he has accepted a teaching at the University of Colorado and would also be a consultant for Coors working on their new thin beer can. I was now alone in management with a German immigrant that did the accounting. I began to understand that the war with Germany had two sides as far as the humans are concerned. Our second daughter, Barbara, was born in 1956. The doctor was the same man we saw at the Detroit Lions football game each Sunday. He was their injury specialist.

A customer in Cleveland had a problem with an alloy that contained 50% nickel and 50% iron. The little gear shaped casting he was making was cracking at the root of the gear due to sulfur impurities in the metal. My chemical handbook had a possible solution. The data indicated that sodium sulfide would boil away. I purchased a pound of sodium pack in kerosene and booked a flight. This was my first flight that used turbojet engines on a United Airlines aircraft named the Viscount. My only other flight had been in Army planes and the DC3. This engine felt like it was screwing into the air as it climbed. The DC6 and DC7 along with the DC3 were the workhorses of air travel. Hughes had the deluxe model that he used on TWA long flights with some first class sleeping quarters.

Five hours to Europe that Northrup's fiction predicated was just around the corner because Boeing had the military version of the 707 airliner on the drawing board.

The foundry had a 500-pound melt ready when I arrived. I put on asbestos coat and gloves and covered my face with a plastic shield. I wired the sodium to a piece of rebar and plunged it into the molten metal. A gusher of metal rose to the foundry roof and fell down around us. My only burns were to the hair on my head. The foundry men poured about 100-pound of the remaining metal and the castings did not crack. Back in Detroit I found some electrolytic iron that had very low sulfur to make a better mix.

Some disturbing events were taking place in Eastern Europe. The East Germans revolted and the Soviets quickly put it down. Elections were forced to attempt to make East Germany a nation. A revolt in Hungary was put down with a heavy show of force. Americans generally viewed these events as Russian problems, but NATO viewed them as dangerous and the soldiers and equipment along the German border were put on full alert.

Their tanks and field artillery were equipped with battlefield nuclear shells. NATO started flights up and down the Soviet border to test their defense. Two American airplanes were shot down. This event was kept secret from the American public. President Eisenhower ordered these flights stopped and activated the secret U2 to fly spy missions over the Soviet Union.

I worked hard for Waimet as the business grew. At a local meeting of the ASM I had a heated argument with Dr. Nick Grant on the subject of vacuum melting of superalloys. It was my position that using inert gas and slag control offered more possibilities in metallurgy.

The investment casting facility in downtown Detroit was bursting at it seams. There was another operation growing in Whitehall, Michigan and they had installed a vacuum caster. The metallurgist and management at Whitehall felt that a local supplier who had just installed a vacuum melting furnace was producing higher quality metal. Waindle hired two experienced metallurgist in the fall of 1956. One of them had a Ph.D.

I felt there was no future for me in the company.