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

ASEA Wins Contract for Isopress

The Kama Purchasing Commission in New York continued to look for equipment and processes for their clients after the main purpose of purchasing the foundry equipment for the KMAZ truck. Our agent, Philipp Overseas led by Vice President Stanley Straus appointed Ilya LeCuch as resident sales manager in Moscow who fed Cheston with a continuous stream of inquires after he helped us close the order for a 30-ton vacuum melting furnace in Kramatorsk in August of 1973.

One of these possible orders was for pouring steel using Auto-Pour made by an Inductotherm Company named Liquimetrics. On the 18th of February 1974 HW Zelley declined to bid because his inductor was designed for cast iron and he was not ready for steel.

I proposed a 60-ton resistance heated holding ladle based on the design we built for Oldsmobile in 1970. This furnace was to feed a series smaller containers that followed a casting line for large truck engine blocks for automatic pouring. I almost sold this idea to a Chevrolet foundry in Buffalo.

This enquiry lead to a modified quotation of about $1 million but even I knew we were not qualified to make this product. Preparing quotations and traveling to Moscow to sell the clients was very expensive for Cheston and not a single one of these efforts turned into an order.

Shortly after Raufer's Cheston was able to obtain two large orders for induction heating equipment at Watervliet Arsenal and Hoover.

During the fall of 1974 we were having major difficulties obtaining visa's for the Soviet inspectors. They were finally given permission and arrived early in 1975.

In early 1975 Straus obtained an enquiry from Amtorg Trading Company in New York for equipment and know-how to produce tool steels using powdered metals compacted in an isopress.

Straus responded to this inquiry to Metallurgimport on the 25th of February that Metcalf, Chairman of Cheston and Smith, VP of Autoclave Engineers planned to be in Moscow on March 17. Charles R. Eckert, Asst. to VP Sales Inductotherm, responded to Straus on the 28th of February that Jim Metcalf would be in touch shortly. On March 6 Charles W. Smith Jr. wrote Cheston a letter that his schedule would not permit a March visit but set the price for the equipment Autoclave would supply at about $1 million. The management of Crucible Steel opted not to offer the technology. On March 12 we informed the customer that we would be prepared to offer this equipment without Crucible since Inductotherm could and were willing to make the equipment for producing powder tool steel metal and Autoclave had the necessary know-how and equipment to compact the metal.

The process appeared to be simple. The first step in to melt the desired composition of tool steel in an induction furnace. This metal is poured into a refractory lined box equipped with an open nozzle on the bottom. As the liquid metal exits the nozzle it is blown by high-pressure argon gas into small particles that freeze before they land at the bottom of a chamber. The powder is in put into a thin wall steel container, in this case 18 inches) with the top welded shut after the powder is inside. Two small open pipes at the top allows heating while helium gas is put in one pipe and vented out the other to prevent the powder for oxidizing. When hot the pipes are closed at the filled cylinder is quickly placed into another heavy wall cylinder capable of holding back 10,000 pounds per square inch of nitrogen gas.

In this situation pressure is put on the powder in all directions so the individual particles are squeezed together and bonded for further processing.

I had a visa and ticket to Moscow for the 17th of March so it was off to Russia to set up the sale with the help of LeCuch. This recent Jewish immigrant from Riga was in a peck of trouble. His wife, Maria LeCuch, was on the airwaves preaching American ways to the Russian speaking world from the Voice of America. He was messed up in the black market with the Dollar bars operations that entertained foreigners with music, food, and booze in Moscow. Worse of all he had been caught with an original manuscript that the Jewish author wanted published in America. This would be the last visa issued to LeCuch.

On the 18th of April 1975 I wrote the Secretary of Commerce, Bureau of East-West trade, pointing out that tool steel technology was not on the control list nor was isostatic presses less than 20,000 pounds per square inch. The letter also noted that there could be possible extensions for technology for isopresses into processes that could be restricted. NOTE FOR THE RECORD. During the period from 1973 to 1986 I managed four contracts with the Soviets with a total value of about $30 million. In each case the government was fully informed and approval was given. In 1992 I set up a joint venture operation in the Ukraine to produce carbon insulation. In this case the US government became annoyed with me for providing too much information.

In Chapter 34 of Rowan's book, The Fire Within, he tells the story about the government stopping a shipment to Iraq. In the following clip he takes a little back hand swipe at me.

"Have you contacted the Department of Commerce?" I asked, though I was certain Marino had. Unlike our breezy friend Metcalf, whose association with Consarc had come to an end, Marino wasn't one to cut corners.

On the 2nd of June Crucible's technologist, Dr. Aksoy, arrived in Moscow but had to stay in a hotel almost an hour for the center. LeCuch was no longer there and I had no influence on the hotel reservations. All process details were settled during these four days of meetings. I made our offer in the sum of about $7,600.0000 that included $2,350,000 for Crucible KNOW-HOW.

On the 1st of September 1985 Fredda Sachorow from the Burlington County Times interviewed me in Cheston's office in Rancocas. Two days later an article appeared and as usual it said much more than I told her.

The final meetings on this sales effort were held starting September 8, 1975 and included EJ Dulis, President Crucible Research, J Metcalf, President Cheston International and VM Hintze, Manager Philipp Overseas.

Valodie Hintze had an interesting past. His great grand father moved his family to Manchuria in about 1900 during the construction of the Siberian railway and remained in one of the towns to service that railroad. People who love history can read Trotsky's 1926 paper to Stalin outlining to policy toward China and this railroad.

Valodie was about ten years old when Communist China took over the railroad. Stalin refused to take the Russians working on this railroad because he viewed them as capitalists and troublemakers. China did not want them because they worked with Japan during the occupation of Manchuria. They finally made it to Australia and many of these people immigrated to America in the late 50's. He was a Russian but had never seen his homeland and soaked in the culture during his visit including several church services to his surprise.

My last letter on this subject was written on September 25, 1975 informing Metallurgimport that the Cheston staff would be in Kramatorsk for an extended period and would be happy to answer any questions.

Finally in April 1976 Philipp Overseas notified us that STORA, the famous tool steel maker in Sweden, offered better and cheaper technology and ASEA, the leading isopress producer was cheaper than Autoclave.

This was my total knowledge on the subject of isopress equipment before I sold one to the Soviets in 1983.

ONE THING I DID NOT KNOW. After Reagan took over as president in 1981 he was able to pressure the Swedish government, French suppliers and American suppliers of isopress equipment to stop selling this equipment to the Soviets. This item was in the Militarily Critical Technologies List prepared by Richard Perle at the Pentagon but it remained TOP SECRET until 1985. http://www.ioa.com/~zero/021-EmbargoAftermath.html