FIERF Donor Spotlight – Finkl Steel

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The Forging Industry Educational & Research Foundation (FIERF) would like to recognize one of our Platinum Anvil Society Donors, Finkl Steel. Finkl Steel was founded in 1879 and has been a member of the Forging Industry Association since 1935. With locations in Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and Quebec, Finkl Steel has two melt shops, three forging facilities, and four production facilities. Finkl Steel processes over 200,000 tons of steel each year and is the leading supplier of custom open-die  forgings, plastic mold steels, die casting tool steels, and forging die steels. 

Finkl Steel has been a strong supporter of the Forging Foundation  for many decades, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to  support programming for students who are interested in working in  the forging industry.

In 2004, the Forging Foundation established a scholarship in  memory of Charles W. Finkl, awarding full-time college junior and  senior students who are studying chemical, computer, electrical,  industrial, materials, mechanical, or metallurgical engineering a  scholarship. Finkl Steel is also a contributor to the Forging Industry  Women’s Scholarship Program, which funds scholarships for  collegiate women interested in the forging industry, seeking degrees  in engineering or business. 

“Finkl Steel’s legacy has always been based upon innovation, technical  expertise and education. Our founders always believed that the best  suppliers are the ones who help educate the industry and their customers.  This is why we founded the Finkl Forging Forum, and why we so  strongly support the FIERF segment of the FIA. It’s very important to  support our future, and donating to the FIERF organization allows us  to support scholarships that we find extremely important and to continue  to fund the growth and innovation of the forging industry.” – Danielle  Smith, Director of Marketing Administration & Inside Sales, Finkl  Steel.

Thank you, Finkl, for your generosity and continued support of the  Forging Foundation throughout the years! 

Consider a gift of support of your own. Contact Amanda Dureiko  at [email protected] if you are interested in inspiring the next  generation of forgers!

Mold Making Technology – Advances in P20 Steel Potentially Eliminates Need for Stress Relieving After Rough Cutting

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Founded in 1981, Omega Tool Corp. of Oldcastle, Ontario, Canada, specializes in the design and manufacture of large injection molds—over 50 tons/tonnes —focusing on high-profile components like bumper fascias. The shop typically produces 80-90 fascia molds annually. While the auto industry is Omega’s primary customer, the team also builds molds for heavy truck, industrial, consumer and medical industries.

Moreover, thanks to vertical integration initiatives, Omega has enhanced its state-of-the-art validation facility to ensure customers achieve dimensional and aesthetic results on their molded parts. Besides the Oldcastle facility, which employs 220 people, Omega maintains a second facility in Queretaro, Mexico, with 20 team members. The company is ISO 9001:2015 certified. Omega was named 2017 Foundational Principles Supplier of the Year by then FCA US LLC (now  Stellantis) and 2019 Supplier of the Year by General Motors Co., and has won several other engineering innovation awards.


Omega Tool Corp. specializes in designing and building large injection molds, mainly for automotive bumper fascias as well as heavy trucks, industrial products, consumer goods and the medical industry. Photo Credit: Omega Tool Corp.


Early in 2020, Omega was invited by an automaker customer to participate in a study comparing conventional P20 against a relatively new P20 grade developed by Chicago-based Finkl Steel. Introduced a few years before, the material was gaining popularity among European moldmakers but hadn’t caught on in North America yet.

The new grade offered a host of interesting properties. However, what most intrigued both OEM and mold builder was the possibility of skipping the stress-relieving step after rough cutting, which could shorten mold production by up to a week. With that in mind, Finkl, Omega, its OEM customer and the molder set out to see if, indeed, that was the case. They recognized that while there was interest in the new material, most companies would be reluctant to spec it without more test data so they could understand its behavior versus conventional P20. “Omega is always looking for continuous improvements and working with suppliers to remain the industry’s global leader and premier solutions provider,” explains Greg DeFrancisco, Omega director of sales, program, management and estimating. “Because of that philosophy, customer wants and needs are always our primary focus. We’re continually looking for ways to make molds more efficiently without sacrificing quality or durability.”

“The key to formulating a good mold steel is uniformity of hardness and microstructure—from surface to center.”

Omega and the OEM decided to compare Finkl’s standard MD steel against the company’s new MD Xtra grade side by side in the cavities of a pair of large (80 x 28 x 20-inch/203 x 71 x 51-centimeter) fascia molds for a 2022 full-size pickup program. They would produce the cores of both molds and the cavity of the primary mold in MD steel while producing the backup/capacity mold’s cavity in MD Xtra. They chose to conduct the comparison on the cavity side since it had all the geometry, most of its steel had been removed and it featured a collapsible core to ensure no parting lines were visible on the A surface of the part after demolding. “The plan was to check hardness, temperature levels and movement of MD versus MD Xtra on two identical tools produced by the same mold builder using the same machines, cutters, operators, programs and settings,” notes DeFrancisco. Since these were costly production tools, program risk would be reduced by stress relieving both steels to Finkl’s recommended settings. However, Omega would scan the deflection on both cavities before and after stress relieving and perform a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) scan using two different technologies after completing the molds. As the final step, both molds were shipped to the Tier 1 molder to shoot actual fascia parts in a high-modulus, 20% talc-filled TPO grade.

A leading supplier of steels for plastic molds and die-cast dies, Finkl Steel developed MD Xtra, a low-alloy/low-sulfur P20-type alloy circa 2017 to address limitations with conventional P20 when used in increasingly large injection molds. Photo Credit: Finkl Steel

Developed for a Different Purpose

Finkl Steel was founded in 1879 and is a leading supplier of steels for plastic molds, die-cast dies, forging dies and custom open-die forgings. Steel for plastic molds is one of Finkl’s most significant product lines. In addition to its flagship plant in Chicago, Finkl also has a fully integrated forging plant in Sorel, Québec, Canada, where 100% of the electricity used is generated from renewable sources. It also maintains a custom forging plant in Detroit and a machining and heat-treat facility in Houston. In 2017, Finkl launched MD Xtra, a low-alloy/low-sulfur grade developed to address limitations of conventional P20 in increasingly large injection molds—particularly fascia blocks. “P20 has served the industry well for most of its existence, but it was optimized—concerning physical properties and cost—around molds whose thicknesses were less than 20 inches [51 centimeters],” explains Ben Ritchey, Finkl technical director. “Although modifications to P20’s basic chemistry have occurred over the years—such as adding nickel to improve hardenability and toughness—the sizes of today’s largest molds have reached a range where you need to move beyond P20 to achieve the ideal properties needed by such big molds.”

Ritchey adds that the key to formulating a good mold steel is uniformity of hardness and microstructure—from surface to center. “Uniform hardness ensures the mold has strength where it’s needed, but it also plays a significant role in polishing uniformity,” he continues, adding that hard and soft materials polish differently, so having a wide variation in hardness across a block requires a polisher to adjust technique or risk creating defects like orange peel or pitting.

Deflection analysis.

During the study, the benchmark MD cavity on the primary mold and the MD Xtra cavity on the backup mold were scanned for deflection before and after stress relieving. The MD Xtra cavity exhibited 35% less deflection than its MD counterpart. Photo Credit: Omega Tool Corp.

“Microstructural uniformity, in particular minimizing segregation of carbon and alloying elements on the microscopic level, is also key in ensuring uniform polishing, but it’s essential when texturing or graining the mold,” Ritchey continues. “Hence, our prime focus in developing MD Xtra was to ensure uniformity of hardness and microstructure in large cross-section molds. To do this, we focused on reducing the steel’s carbon content, as carbon is a key contributor to microsegregation, although it’s also vital for providing strength. We ultimately achieved this via microalloying additions that ensure both uniformity of high hardness across large cross-sections without being limited by the heat transfer rates to achieve martensite upon quenching in a traditional P20-type steel.”

During development, researchers realized the new material offered several other benefits they hadn’t formulated for: improved thermal conductivity, which can reduce mold cycle times, and a higher possible hardness range (they can achieve a super-hard range of 39-43 HRC in addition to high-hard (HRC 34-38) and regular (HRC 30-34). For super-hard grades, thickness is limited to 32 inches/81 centimeters. Like all super-hard steels, MD Xtra super-hard is more difficult to machine, but this shouldn’t be an obstacle with proper planning and tooling. Ritchey also notes that Finkl expects MD Xtra to offer the same or better long-term durability than conventional MD owing to its more uniform strength and toughness through the cross-section.

Through-hardness analysis.

Another takeaway from the study was that the MD cavity showed a 20% change in through-section hardness while the MD Xtra cavity exhibited only a 5% change. Photo Credit: Omega Tool Corp.

Another feature researchers discovered is that MD Xtra naturally has lower residual stresses. “Residual stresses in a hardened steel result from many factors, but the greatest contributor is the hardening process itself,” explains Ritchey. “We achieve higher strength by straining the steel at the atomic level. The question is whether those stresses are balanced and uniform. For a large block of steel like a mold block, it can be particularly challenging to balance stresses using industrial processes. Hence, the industry’s best practice has been to recommend stress-relieving blocks after rough machining to avoid unpredictable movement or distortion.” Simulation results suggested that since MD Xtra offers improved uniformity of hardness, microstructure and stress after hardening, perhaps it also would offer sufficiently high dimensional stability, potentially eliminating the required stress relieving after rough cutting.

Encouraging Results

To ensure post-hardening and machining stresses hadn’t caused the MD Xtra cavity to shift dimensions, both it and the benchmark MD cavity were subjected to two CMM techniques. First, both cavities were examined in-house via Creaform laser scanner and then both were sent to a third-party supplier to be probed. Photo Credit: Omega Tool Corp.

The study began in February 2020 and took 24 weeks before the first parts were shot—two weeks longer than usual owing to Omega’s decision to send both cavities out for a second type of CMM scan. “We didn’t just measure them in-house with a Creaform. We also had a third-party supplier probe the cavities to quantify the results,” recalls DeFrancisco. “We also performed additional tests on the blocks before and after stress relieving, which incurred additional time.”

Compared to MD steel, MD Xtra exhibited roughly 35% less movement during deflection analysis. Also, Omega measured a 20% change on MD in through-hardness analysis but only a 5% change in MD Xtra. Not only did the new P20-type material machine slightly faster on the same CNC centers at the same settings, but it required 30-40% fewer cutter inserts to complete the job, representing additional savings. Further, it polished the same as MD steel and when grained using a Benedict (acid etch) process to 0.0036 inch/0.091 millimeter, it provided the same results. Higher thermal conductivity meant that the molder was able to reduce cycle time by two to three seconds on the tool with the MD Xtra cavity when they molded the fascias.

Possible Game Changer

“While we’re not the first company to promote a steel that doesn’t require stress relieving, most approaches to date have increased manufacturing costs,” adds Ritchey. “We were careful from the start to optimize our formulation and modifications to ensure cost was minimally impacted. Although this premium material does sell at a higher cost than conventional P20, the benefits it brings in terms of greater consistency, lower stress, better thermal conductivity, better polishability and the option to skip the stress-relieving step can quickly offset price differences—particularly on the large molds for which we formulated this material. Plus, by eliminating the stress-relieving process itself and transportation to and from the stress-relief facility, we improve the overall carbon footprint of mold steels.”

FIA Magazine – Improving the Quoting Process

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The following information has been prepared in order to assist  forging producers in streamlining the RFQ process. The goal is  to help forgers get the information they need from their clients, so  they are able to quickly and efficiently provide an accurate proposal.  For a copy of this information and a downloadable RFQ Checklist please contact FIA Director of Marketing & Events, Angela Gibian at [email protected] or call 216-781-6260. 

How can you ensure that the quotes you receive from your  forging supplier meet your expectations and needs? Many  times, a quotation fails to meet a customer’s needs because a clear  understanding of what is required was not conveyed in the initial  Request for Quote (RFQ). An RFQ that accurately details what is  expected of the forging supplier will ultimately save you time and, in  some cases, money. 

As a buyer of forgings, it is important to know what information is  needed in your RFQ package so that the forging supplier can provide  you with the most accurate quotation. Complete RFQ packages  eliminate the need for additional follow up questions and will help  suppliers return quotations to you faster. It will also ensure a fair  comparison is made between potential suppliers because everyone is  working with the same supply criteria. 

What information should be supplied? 

The RFQ header should contain all the basic information, including:

  1. Company Name
  2. Contact Names & Contact Information 
  3. Bill-To & Ship-To Addresses 
  4. Whether a quote is Budgetary or Active 
  5. Should the Supplier to be on a Certain AVL (Approved  Vendor List)? 
  6. Due Date for the formal quotation 

Along with the basics, there is additional information that would  help your supplier put together their best offer. Let us go over some  of the additional information below: 

Material Requirements & Specifications 

As a guideline, if a specification is referenced on a drawing, please  make sure to include the most up-to-date version of that specification  with your RFQ (unless you are certain that your supplier has one on  file). 

  • What type of material grade(s) are the forgings to be  produced with? 
  • Is there heat treatment required? If so, please provide any  heat treat specifications. This can come across as a heat treat process or hardness range. If there is a hardness range requirement, it is important to provide this information to  the supplier so that they can provide you with the proper  processes to get to your desired hardness range.
  • Are there any destructive or non-destructive testing  required? If so, please include any specifications, or detailed  instructions, that need to be taken into consideration. This  information can inform your supplier about important  information like heat lot requirements, batching, sonic  requirements, special hardness testing, etc. 
  • Are there any required material specifications or industry  standards that the forging supplier must have or meet?  (Ex: IATF16949, ITAR, AS9100, etc.) 
  • Are there initial PPAP samples required? If so, what level of  PPAP? How many parts are required, and what leadtime  are they required in? 
  • Are there any special supply chain requirements that  should be considered? Some projects require NADCAP  certifications, these can cause more costly post-forging  processing that are more in-depth than just standard ISO  certifications. 

Volume and Program Expectations 

  • Is this a brand-new project? If the answer is no, are there  any concerns or past issues that need to be addressed? If  there are, how was it manufactured in the past? This  information can help the supplier come up with a  resolution that has not been tried before, including talking  to their own suppliers about an opportunity to make a  change to the die materials used. 
  • What is the estimated annual usage? Is this a short-term  or long-term program? Does the program ramp up over  time to larger volumes? This information may change the  type of tooling being considered and could save additional  tooling expenses as volumes increase. 
  • What is the expected order quantity and how often would  deliveries be required? Your forging supplier may be able  to offer more optimum lot sizes if they understand this  information. 
  • What is the life of the program? (This may, or may not,  apply to your program.) 
  • What is the start date of production? When are forged  parts required to be delivered? 

Market & End-Use Information 

  • What is the market and industry that this part is for? This  type of data helps companies to track markets, which  can be important for data tracking on industries that  are cyclical. This is also information that helps industry  associations, like the Forging Industry Association, to  track markets and industries for better forecasting help for  their member companies. 
  • What is the end-use application? This helps the forging  supplier assess any risks that need to be considered, as  well as any requirements that may have to be considered  regarding materials, etc. 

Part Information 

  • Is there a certain part number or identification number  that should be used for this quotation? 
  • Do you have any finished part machine drawings? When  these are provided, your forging supplier may be able to  suggest alternate (and potentially less costly) forging  design options if they understand what the finished part  looks like. 
  • Do you have a solid model available? If so, ask your forging  supplier what file format they can use (Ex: IGES, STEP,  etc.) Providing a solid model file will help your forging  supplier quote with accuracy and will therefore reduce the  time it takes to provide you with a quotation. 

Shipment & Packaging Information 

  • Are there any special specifications that are associated with  additional operations that may be required? Ex: Painting,  plating, rust-coating, special packaging requirements, etc.  If so, please include a copy of this information up front  with the RFQ. 
  • Define how costs (where applicable) are to be invoiced.  This helps your supplier build their quotes and invoices to  meet your needs. Ex: Will mechanical testing, scrap and  alloy surcharges, or packaging need to be separated out?  Or should they all be rolled into the selling price of each  part? 

Remember to use your forging supplier as a partner and professional  consultant. We are here to help you! 

Any information you can supply to your forging supplier will  be advantageous to speeding up the quoting process. The more  thorough the RFQ, the less follow-up is required. Your forging  supplier, whether an open-die, closed-die/impression forger, or  ringroller, is your partner. That partnership relies heavily upon  making sure that transparency is maintained throughout the  quoting and ordering processes. Please reach out to your forging  supplier for any additional questions that you may have. Their  experience and expertise can be very helpful in putting your best  foot forward on your own quote to your customer. 


If you are looking for a new supplier, or have any questions regarding  the forging process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Forging  Industry Association for any additional information. We have included here (next page) a Prequalification RFQ Checklist  for you to keep and refer to as a tool when putting together your next  RFQ. Some of these items may not pertain to your quote, but it’s a  great tool to use to ensure that you’re considering most items that  may affect your quote up front.

Danielle Smith 

Director of Marketing Administration & 

Inside Sales 

Finkl Steel 

Email: [email protected] 

Special thank you to Paul Spitz, Unit  

Drop Forge and Lori Brown, Clifford Jacobs for their input and contributions to  

this article.


World Oil – Scientifically engineered stainless steel increases ROI in difficult fracing applications

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An innovative stainless material achieves a lower  total cost of ownership  and extended service life,  compared to other stainless  offerings, improving ROI  and profitability of fracing operations.

Hydraulic fracturing is starting to re bound. Nevertheless, profitable fracing  will depend on finding ways to reduce  and control production costs. One of the  big, recurring expenses is the fluid ends,  whose cost is driven by the metal forging.  Finkl Steel viewed this as an opportunity  to innovate a new material, formulated  especially for fracing applications, to im prove economics. 

In 2019, Finkl launched a new fluid  end material, HVX Stainless, to lower the  total cost of ownership and improve ROI,  compared to other fluid end materials,  specifically 17-4PH and 15-5PH stain less varieties. Finkl’s metallurgists set out  to develop the ideal chemistry for fracing  applications by optimizing for total cost  of ownership and ROI by focusing on af fordability, pump life, machining costs and  repairability. Beyond the chemical composition, the company launched an ini tiative to determine how, and where, the  new stainless is forged, to offer the short est lead times and ensure consistent qual ity. The company also wanted to supply with U.S.-made forgings, while avoiding international tariffs. Thus, the new stainless material is intended to enable more oil  and gas companies to frac profitably and resume their operations sooner. 

Uncertain economics necessitate new stainless material to improve abrasion resistance. Until a few years ago, the dominant fluid end blocks were made from variations of 4330 non-stainless alloys. While these are good at resisting abrasion, their field life is limited, because  they would crack from corrosion. The industry experimented with off-the-shelf 17-4PH and 15-5PH stainless steels, and  learned that they provided more than two times the field life, compared to the 4330  varieties—even though 17-4PH and 15- 5PH measured lower in strength, abrasion resistance, and impact properties. While  17-4PH and 15-5PH stainless cost more, their longer life and reliability improved ROI. The improvement in corrosion resistance mattered more, and 17-4PH and  15-5PH stainless quickly became the go-to fluid end material of choice. 

However, 17-4PH and 15-5PH stain less were never formulated specifically for hydraulic fracturing applications. They contain excessive concentrations of certain  expensive and market-volatile elements,  such as nickel and copper. Greater concentrations of these don’t enhance performance in fracing environments beyond a certain point. For instance, nickel is expect ed to become more scarce and expensive, because of increasing battery production  for electric cars. As a result, this will negatively impact the cost of ownership and  ROI of 17-4PH and 15-5PH stainless. In addition, several countries are already for bidding nickel to be exported, which will contribute to supply and price volatility. While the improved service life of 17- 4PH and 15-5PH blocks can be credited to the corrosion resistance of stainless steels versus alloy steels, their strengthening  mechanisms still leave them vulnerable  to premature wear from abrasion and erosion, even at high hardness levels. Many of today’s shale formations require greater  pressures and highly abrasive proppants, such as bauxite. These conditions reduce pump block life and make washout one of  the most common failure modes of stain less blocks. Off-the-shelf 17-4PH and  15-5PH stainless were never designed for  fracing applications. There are opportunities to address the greater expense of these materials and the field vulnerabilities that  arise from using higher pressure and more abrasive proppants for fracing applications. 

Metallurgists identify precise formu la for difficult fracing applications. To develop HVX stainless, Finkl’s metallurgists researched the different stainless alloy families and tested many variations  in chemistry. They found the ideal mix and concentration of elements that brings out the best properties of both carbide strengthened martensitic stainless steels, such as 410, and precipitation-hardening (PH) stainless steels, such as 17-4PH and  15-5PH. 

PH stainless grades achieve their  strength through sub-micron copper and  intermetallic precipitates that form in the steel matrix during heat treatment. These small particles may be excellent at providing strength in tension (i.e. high “yield  strength” or “ultimate tensile strength”), but they have limited effectiveness in protecting the steel against abrasive wear or  erosion. This limited wear resistance can make even a high-strength PH steel prone to washout. Additionally, when the steel  wears away, the protective oxide layer that  prevents corrosion and makes the steel  “stainless” also wears away, and this can  again leave steel vulnerable to corrosion related failures. 

HVX is a carbide-forming precipitation hardening martensitic stainless. Carbide  strengthening is a fundamentally different  mechanism that benefits from hard particles, i.e. metal carbides, providing strength. Unlike submicron copper particles, these  metal carbides provide excellent resistance to wear. This gives the new stainless increased washout resistance compared to  17-4PH and 15-5PH. Unlike traditional carbide-strengthened stainless steels like 410, the new stainless also uses precipitation strengthening to achieve excellent through-hardenability. The combination  of strengthening mechanisms means excellent properties from surface to center, even  in the large cross-sections of frac blocks. 

Smarter about being harder. When  evaluating stainless steels for an applica tion, engineers often look at the pitting resistance equivalent number (PREN). The  PREN is calculated from the chromium  (Cr), molybdenum (Mo) and nitrogen  (N) content of the steel. These elements  contribute to form the passivating layer on  the surface of the steel that protects it from  corrosion and makes it “stainless”. On paper, higher PREN means more corrosion resistance. But it’s important to under stand that PREN, alone, does not predict corrosion in actively abrasive or erosive  environments, which are the real-world  conditions of fracing. High PREN combined with low abrasion resistance can result in the same life as low PREN and high abrasion resistance. The new stainless has the benefits of the passivating Cr and Mo  oxide film and the wear resistance of Cr and Mo carbides—it has high PREN and high wear resistance. 

To put this theory to the test, the company put its new stainless steel up against  a traditional 17-4PH alloy in third-party  erosion and corrosion-erosion testing. The  new samples had been heat-treated to 110-ksi tensile strength, while the 17-4PH had been heat treated to 155-ksi tensile strength  (ASTM A705 type 630 H1025 condition).  In other words, the 17-4PH was heat-treat ed to a much higher hardness. Despite the  conventional wisdom that higher hardness means higher wear resistance, HVX  demonstrated significantly less mass loss  (i.e. significantly better wear resistance),  both in pure erosion (abrasive wear in pure  water) and in erosion-corrosion (abrasive  wear in saltwater). In fact, when subjected  to abrasive wear in a corrosive environ ment, the new stainless demonstrated less  than half the mass-loss rate of the harder  17-4PH material. 

Stainless uses the exact combina tion and concentration of elements  to enhance performance. What Finkl’s  metallurgists discovered is a new stain less formula that contains a fraction of the  quantities of some of the most expensive  elements while still matching, and often  exceeding, the more expensive grades in  fracing performance. For example, nickel  makes up around 5% of a 7,500 lb-block  of 17-4PH or 15-5PH stainless. What we found is that nickel at 1% concentration,  together with an optimized amount of other elements and processed correctly,  gives the new stainless the correct combination of properties for superior performance. The new stainless only requires 75  lb of nickel versus up to 412 lb for off-the shelf stainless. 

The difference means that companies  won’t need to pay for roughly 330 lb of nickel that don’t create additional service  life. As prices of nickel are taking off and  projected to skyrocket, the new stainless  becomes the ultimate hedge against PH  stainless price increases. Well service com panies and pump end manufacturers won’t  pay for extra concentrations of material  that only add expense, not additional per formance in the field. 

Minimizing total cost of ownership maximizes ROI. With the optimized  formulation for fracing, HVX has lower material costs, making it more affordable, because it contains less nickel, copper  and other expensive alloys than 17-4PH and 15-5PH stainless. Nickel prices are  predicted to explode, as demand for elec tric vehicles and other battery applications gains momentum. Export bans in  some countries may also constrain supply, driving these prices of stainless materials even higher. 

Easier and less expensive to machine. Besides the actual cost for a block,  fluid end manufacturers spend a great deal of time and money on machining. The new stainless is already proven to be hard enough for the field, but it is also designed for faster machinability. HVX is saving some fluid end manufacturers over 25% on the amount of time it takes to make a fluid pump in comparison to 17-4PH and  15-5PH. Another key benefit is that it re duces their lead time to make a pump end, so they can serve well service companies  even better. 

The new stainless works equally well with valve-over-valve and WYE-blocks.  Operators are producing both configurations with similar ease. Companies can use  the stainless reliably for either and achieve the same results. This makes using the new  stainless technology relatively easy to use  and more cost-effective. 

U.S. manufacturing reduces risk  when buying stainless pump blocks. In 2013, the company installed an all-new 90-metric ton arc furnace at its Chicago,  Illinois plant that has the capacity to melt  350,000 tons of steel a year. Because of its domestic origin, U.S.-based  operators don’t have to contend with the complex and changing nature of global purchasing. There are never risks or worries about fluctuating currencies, political upheaval, new tariffs, quality, supply chain reliability or transportation speed. 

Lean manufacturing reduces cli ent inventory requirements. The  company’s dedicated “lean-line” capac ity and short lead time ensure a reliable supply for production of fluid end  blocks. The line was created to improve the lead time for fluid ends blocks, including the new stainless, to just seven to eight weeks. This is much faster, com pared to most forging suppliers. In addition, the lean line capacity can be flexed  to produce up to 6,000 fluid end blocks per year—and can be expanded further,  if required. This lean capability and frac focused approach are structured to keep  up with demand while reducing price —without altering lead times or quality. 


In the field, the new stainless is achieving  1,250 to 1,500 average run time, with maximum run times longer, depending on the  application. Engineers have determined, in  head-to-head testing, that HVX matches  and frequently exceeds the service life of 17-4PH and 15-5PH stainless fluid ends. The extended service life, combined with its cost and supply chain advantages, is how the new product achieves the lowest total cost and highest ROI of any fluid end material. 

The company has over 3,200 blocks in operation and the design has been ad opted by several major pump end manu facturers. One well service company said, “HVX works best for us, based on machinability and the service life that we get out  of it—and price.” A fluid end manufacturer noted “that the new stainless doesn’t have a high nickel content, making it relatively inexpensive. However, it still has enough chromium content to where it can compare and compete with industry standard stainless steel.” 

Well service companies prefer to field test new material or technology to see how it performs in their real-world conditions.  The lower cost and ease of machining make the stainless technology attractive for companies to determine for themselves  how the new stainless performs. With  short lead times, companies can seize op portunities to use the new stainless product, as they arise. 


As the world emerges from the im pact of the pandemic, fracing is expected  to increase. HVX’s lower price point, its  lowest total cost of ownership and proven field-tested performance will enable more  fracing companies to get back in the field  sooner and remain profitable. 

The stainless was developed to meet  the economic challenges companies face, and tackle the tougher fracing applications that cause greater abrasion and washout failures of fluid ends. The material advancements give the HVX the abra sion and corrosion resistance to match  or exceed 17-4PH and 15-5PH stain less. At the same time, the HVX requires significantly less of the expensive and price volatile metals, such as nickel or copper, to  achieve this high level of performance.

World Oil® / JANUARY 2021 


SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH not affected by US sanctions

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Lucerne, April 9, 2018 – SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH, a global leader in special long steel, today announced that the Group expects not to be materially affected by the sanctions imposed by the US government on its shareholder Viktor F. Vekselberg and his Renova Holding.

Viktor F. Vekselberg holds substantially less than 50% of the total capital of SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH through his investment companies. As a result and given the composition of its shareholder basis, SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH does not consider itself a Specially Designated National (SDN) under Executive Order 13662 of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Based on current knowledge, SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH does not expect the sanctions to have a material impact on its business, neither in the United States of America nor in other parts of the world.

Special steel for the plastics industry

By | News

Whether PET bottle, car headlight or medical packaging – precisely shaped plastics are produced in molds made of high-grade steel. At NPE 2018 (stand S15037, Expo hall, level 1) SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH USA is showcasing innovations and established solutions of the mold steels from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) and from Finkl Steel. The application-specific materials manufactured by the subsidiaries of the SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Group are extremely resistant to corrosion, very easy to polish, easy to machine and wear resistant, depending on the material.

At NPE 2018, one of the main focuses will be on an innovation from Finkl Steel. The patent-pending, pre-hardened mold steel Corebloc® was engineered for the core plate of injection molds up to 40″ (1015 mm) in size as well as for injection molding tools. The special steel is characterized by excellent through-hardenability compared to standard materials such as 4140 and 1.2312. Machinability and resistance to wear are also outstanding. Corebloc® is suitable for laser-hardening, chrome-plating and nitriding. Users profit from all around cost savings on core side molds and tools. The plastic mold steel MD®-Xtra SH (Super Hard) from the Finkl Steel portfolio will also be presented. Microalloying additions ensure higher hardness levels than standardly available material. With a hardness of up to 43 HRC, the wear resistance is significantly increased. Polishability is guaranteed up to 1200 grit. MD-Xtra SH is ideal for manufacturing sophisticated automotive components with extremely smooth surfaces. Its remelted counterpart, MLQ®-Xtra, combines these benefits with a guaranteed SPI A1 finish because of its premium quality.

“All Stainless”

Bringing out the shine in plastic mold manufacturing – this is the motto of this year’s trade fair launch of the extremely corrosion-resistant, hardened high-grade steel Formadur® PH X Superclean from DEW. With its excellent polishability, it is an ideal solution for manufacturing reflector and lens molds. Formadur® 2083 Superclean from DEW is also known for good polishability and resistance to corrosion. Thanks to its wear resistance, it is ideal for PVC extrusion tools and smaller cross section injection molds. SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH will also feature Corroplast® FM from DEW at NPE, a material engineered for sophisticated plastic mold bases. This free machining pre-hardened stainless steel has outstanding machining characteristics and dimensional stability.

The tool steels of the SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Group are in stock at SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH USA and SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Canada. Customers also benefit from a full range of machining processes, including squaring, chamfering, lifting eyebolts and basic pocket work, vacuum heat treatment as well as metallurgical lab services.

Finkl Steel Announces Price Increase

By | News, PR Announcement

Chicago, IL, November 24, 2017 – Finkl Steel, a subsidiary of the SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Group, will increase prices by $0.05 / lb USD for all orders to be shipped on or after February 1, 2018. This price increase will be effective for all products shipped from all Finkl Steel production facilities.

Finkl Steel has experienced a sharp cost increase for melt shop consumables over the last several months. “Unfortunately we can no longer absorb the significant cost increases for melt shop consumables, particularly graphite electrodes and refractories, that allow us to manufacture our quality steel products,” said Art Smoljan, Vice President, Sales & Marketing. “Finkl Steel has been assured of supply of these critical materials, but at a much higher cost. We are announcing a price increase now to give our valued customers the time needed to make necessary adjustments in their supply chains.”