Ampere Scientific, an Oregon-based company that licenses NETL’s Arc Position Sensing (APS) technology, received a best paper award at the Liquid Metals Processing and Casting conference held in Birmingham, England. The paper detailed a first-of-its-kind demonstration of the technology, which may lead to better processing and larger yields of specialty metals used in the energy, aerospace, chemical industries and other advanced applications.
NETL’s APS technology is a patented, R&D 100 Award-winning measurement technology developed for the specialty metals industry, such as the production of alloys based on nickel, titanium and zirconium. These advanced materials often undergo a metallurgical casting process called vacuum arc remelting (VAR) that is used to refine an alloy’s physical and chemical properties. In this process VAR furnaces generate an electric arc that melts a consumable electrode to create ingots of the specialty metal. However, an imperfect arc can cause flaws in the ingots and these defects can lead to catastrophic failure when the metals are used in their final applications.
APS allows operators to identify arc distribution conditions during arc remelting, offering a way to optimize processing to improve material yield, decrease energy use, improve safety in operations and produce higher quality alloys — potentially saving vast amounts of money in energy and material costs. In fact, APS technology could save 40-50% of the energy currently lost in VAR furnaces, while improving ingot quality and reducing the hundreds of millions of dollars lost annually in revenue due to material waste and associated electrical inefficiencies.
NETL issued two licenses for APS to Ampere Scientific (formerly KW Associates) in 2014, and the team has continued to break ground since its inception. Entrepreneurs like the innovators at Ampere Scientific are vital to the success of NETL technologies, and this most recent accomplishment is a great example of how technology developed at NETL can be transferred to industry. Read more about this and other NETL success stories here.