Hope We See You In Detroit!

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COBO Convention Center – south elevation. 

We’re fine tuning our plans for the upcoming Heat Treat 2015 – ASM Heat Treating Society Conference & Exposition, Oct 20-22 at the COBO Convention Center in Detroit MI.

At the show, be sure to stop at the Kowalski Heat Treating Booth #732 and see all of the new and exciting developments we’re bringing to our customers, from vacuum hardening to rack salt to salt austempering / marquenching, to deep cryogenics and close tolerance specialty flatwork. Don’t forget to ask us about our new N2Clean Controlled Atmosphere Processing, the nation’s finest socially responsible PIA flatwork facility!

Better yet, shoot me an email at skowalski@khtheat.com and reserve a time to chat.

And don’t forget, we’ll be giving away an Apple iPad Air to the customer with the toughest PIA (pain in the #%$) Job, so bring us your pain!

If you are not planning to attend the show, you can still be eligible to win our PIA Job Contest – To enter, just send us an email at winanipad@khtheat.com describing your heat treating struggles and we’ll enter you into the contest.



Chipping Away at the Problem.

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Top left: The 15 types of pentagonal tilings discovered. Art: Ed Pegg/Wikipedia   Bottom left: The math.
Right: The 15th convex pentagon found to be able to tile a plane.  Art: Casey Mann

At Kowalski Heat Treating, we’re all about doing great work, constantly searching for new and better ways to help our clients grow their businesses – often rooted in problem solving your PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs. And we marvel at new thinking and new discovery.

This week’s blog and email post salutes the work of three mathematicians in their discovery of the latest convex pentagrams to tile a plane, courtesy of a post by npr.com.

Jennifer McLoud-Mann, along with her husband Casey and David Von Derau have spent the past few years trying to help unravel one of math’s long-standing unanswered questions. How many shapes are able to “tile the plane”? — meaning shapes that fit together perfectly to cover any flat surface without overlapping or leaving any gaps. For example, mathematicians have proved that all triangles and quadrilaterals (shapes with four sides), can tile the plane, and have documented all of the convex hexagons that can do it. But what about five sided pentagrams.

When dealing with pentagons — specifically convex, or nonregular pentagons with the angles pointing outward – the number of convex pentagons is infinite — and so is the number that could potentially tile a plane. It’s a problem that’s almost unsolvable, but also so simple, as anyone could start working toward a solution using just pencil and paper.

Last month, a cluster of computers spit out some intriguing possibilities. Sifting through the data, McLoud-Mann thought she found either impossible pentagrams (one’s that did not fit the problem), or ones that already fit into the 14 types that had been found.

But, this time it was different – the team came up with the first new convex pentagon able to tile the plane in some 30 years, joining only five mathematicians who have accomplished this feat. McLoud-Mann is considering what to do with the pattern – either tile a spot in her home or build a display of the pattern at her University of Washington site. To read the full original story, go HERE.

You know, I’m inspired to re-tile my bathroom with the new pentagon this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out.



Congratulations to NASA on their most recent “PIA” job

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New Horizons was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Pluto and Charon when it snapped this portrait late on July 8, 2015. Image Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.

In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles from Pluto.

This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. This side of Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness. Most prominent are an elongated dark feature at the equator, informally known as “the whale,” and a large heart-shaped bright area measuring some 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) across on the right. Above those features is a polar region that is intermediate in brightness.

“The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today,” said Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “It will be incredible!”

We at Kowalski Heat Treating salute the hard working engineers and scientists who have accomplished this amazing feat.  (courtesy nasa.gov website)



Tech it out!

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We are proud to announce our continued ISO 9001 Certification. Each and every one of us at KHT values your business and we hope you understand that this certification represents our dedication to you within every process, procedure and action we take.

Here are the eight main business principles we strive to exceed:

• Customer focus
• Leadership
• Involvement of people
• Process approach
• System approach to management
• Continual improvement
• Factual approach to decision making
• Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

We want you to know that it’s not just about performing tasks to conform to the ISO 9001. It’s about performing every task for the mutual good of our businesses. Yours and ours. Simply put, it’s a culture thing here at KHT. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.

— Steve




At Kowalski Heat Treating (khtheat.com), we’re constantly working on behalf of our customers to achieve the proper balance of strength, durability and end performance when processing alloy and tool steels. This heat treatment process consists of heating and cooling these steels to move atoms to an atomic state called martensite.

The atomic arrangement of steels vary depending on the structure or phase it is in. Controlled heat treatment changes the arrangement of these atoms resulting in a desired hardness and mechanical properties specified by our customers. Often we customize this process to enhance tool life and durability.

“Tool steels are typically annealed after rolling or forming to make them suitable for machining and other operations, a process which consists of heating the steel slowly and uniformly to a temperature above the transformation range,” says Dave Lorenz, VP of Operations / Metallurgist at Kowalski Heat Treating. “The transformation range is the temperature at which the steel starts to form austenite, usually around 1350°F (the annealing temperature is 1600-1700°F). A slow cooling rate (25 – 40°F/hour maximum) from this temperature enables the alloys, in combination with the iron atoms, to form uniformly dispersed spheroidized carbides in a matrix of ferrite. This ferrite structure is a body-centered cubic structure (see graphic), typically the condition in which we receive steel tool grades unless they are pre-hardened by the customer.”

“To achieve the next phase, the tool steel is hardened by bringing the material up to its austenitizing temperature, which will range from 1500 – 2250°F depending on the grade,” said Dave. “Upon going through this transformation temperature range, the structure changes again – from ferrite to austenite. This austenite atomic structure is a face-centered cubic (see graphic) – a high temperature phase only formed by heating the tool steel to the appropriate temperature. Austenite is non-magnetic and is slightly denser than ferrite, causing the steel to shrink slightly when at this stage in heat treatment.”

“Upon cooling or quenching from the austenitizing temperature, the steel is transformed once again into a new atomic arrangement called martensite. The steel must be cooled fast enough to keep the dissolved alloy content in the matrix of the steel. The martensite is in the form of a body centered tetragonal structure (see chart) – the desired structure that most of our tool steels are in to achieve high hardness and strength properties. This arrangement of atoms is less dense which results in an overall growth after the quench and subsequent tempers.”

Once completed, the tool steel is shipped back to customers to be machined or sharpened for superior performance.

For more information on tool steel processing, contact Kowalski Heat Treating (khtheat.com) – the leader in distortion sensitive thermal processing, celebrating 40 years of excellence and customer service.



KHT is 40 This Year! Still Focused On Your PIA Jobs.

Kowalski Heat Treating was established in 1975 to specialize in Distortion Sensitive Thermal Processing, or in the words of our founder PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs!

Our dimensional management divisions and teams of specialists can help you save time and money, revitalize underperforming materials, reduce waste and scrap and provide confidence you are working with a reliable, dedicated partner.

We love and want your PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs!, your high volume, consistent critical jobs or your “one-off” hard to solve prototypes.  No matter. Our divisions are built to provide world-class specialized solutions for our customers, leveraging forty years of thermal processing excellence, backed by our commitment to quality, customer service, family and community.

To learn more, visit each of our specialty divisions HERE, or just call us at 1 888-KHT-HEAT (548-4328) or 216-631-4411.

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