AHT invest over £500,000 into new oven and software


The UK’s first and only specialist in the heat treatment of aluminium alloys, Dudley-based Alloy Heat Treatment (AHT) have recently invested £500,000 into manufacturing aerospace Oven 30.

Oven 30 allows AHT to solution treat larger products and is the largest oven the company have ever owned. Its dimensions are 2.15m by 2.15m on the base and 2.5m high, which is the usable volume that they have to process parts.  

AHT managing director, Adrian Church said: “We’ve built and installed the biggest piece of heat treatment equipment we have ever had, in order to do work for a customer who are making parts for the new Bombardier C Series plane.

“We didn’t have the capability to quench into polymer, so we expanded it when we learned about the C series. The turnover will increase with the new machine, although our industry is one where we invest speculatively. The production capacity on that line can double for much less investment than that.”

Solution treatment is a fundamental requirement for the strengthening of aluminium alloys. It entails the solid state dissolving of alloying elements into the aluminium. This is achieved at temperatures near to the melting point of the material, followed by a quench process to lock the dissolved alloying elements into place. Without this, the alloy cannot be strengthened. AHT have Nadcap approved ovens for the aircraft industry and CQI-9 compliant ovens for the automotive industry.

Oven 30 will also ensure that AHT are saving energy and reduce waste. Production director, Dave Bryant explained: “Oven 30 will allow us to quote for more work and we will be able to complete existing work quicker as we can put more product in, so this will improve our efficiency. We can reduce the energy we are using by using one oven rather than three.”

In response to manufacturing Oven 30, AHT have invested an additional £35,000 into a new production control system. Church stated: “The new DNA software should give us the facility that we don’t have at the moment. The software will ensure that customers can log-in via the internet to access our system and view the state of the progress of their parts, which is an innovative move for our business.”

AHT enjoy long term relationships with both aerospace primes and sub tier suppliers, applying their heat treatment expertise to semi-finished parts to increase strength, endurance and life span. The company is also Nadcap accredited to work in aerospace, defence and related industries and they have preferred supplier status to primes including Rolls Royce, BAe and Airbus.

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