Powder metallurgy has too much to offer to become stagnant.
The needs of automotive and other industries have changed at a rate faster than most powder metal manufacturers are adapting.
To advance the industry, Horizon reached out to world-class powder metallurgy expert Fran Hanejko. Fran, our Senior Advanced Materials Engineer, now works closely with Horizon and our customers to develop exclusive material and process solutions.
Keep reading to learn how OEMs can lean on Fran’s decades of experience and expertise to change the way their product operates.
Meet Fran, Our Powdered Metal Material Properties Expert
Fran’s specialties in powder metallurgy (PM) include:
- Magnetic materials
- Advanced compaction techniques
- Sinter hardening materials
- Alloy development
- Coordination with sales and marketing teams on new applications
The end purpose is the same with all of these roles: How can customers take their component to a new, innovative place?
From getting his master’s degree in material science from Drexel University to working at GKN Hoeganaes for almost 40 years, Fran has picked up a variety of skills. Most of his work has been in research and development engineering, but he’s also frequently worked directly with the customer base to help resolve cost and performance issues.
The customer-supplier relationship is what separates a fully integrated manufacturing partner from the pack -- understanding what a customer needs, and finding a cost-effective, manufacturable solution.
One example of the benefits of such a relationship came during Fran’s time at Hoeganaes.
Fran and his teammates were contacted by a previous customer, a nationally known power tool company. The power tool maker said it liked Hoeganaes’ previous work on their product, but wanted to know -- was Hoeganaes capable of taking a future iteration to the next level?
Fran and team at Hoeganaes worked with the power tool company’s engineers for about 9 months to develop a different design. With some creative thinking, the team was able to save the customer $1 million in material costs over the life of the program.
“We even worked with them on the floor to work it through the press and sinter it and determine what cooling rates we needed to get it right,” Fran says. “That was a fun project.”
Later in his time at Hoeganaes, Fran worked with Horizon on a project. That connection led to him joining the Horizon team in January 2018.
Unlocking Opportunities With Powder Metal Manufacturing
Fran serves Horizon’s customers much the same way he has throughout his career -- developing “differentiating technologies.”
To meet the changing demands of powder metallurgy customers, Fran helps create, develop, and implement technologies unavailable virtually anywhere else:
- Ultra-high-temperature sintering
- Soft magnetic composite materials, both current and developing
- Advanced sintered soft magnetic materials
All of these exciting developments translate into improved price and performance for the customer. More specifically, these advanced powder metal materials and processes improve strength, hardness, and magnetic performance, among other benefits.
“Clearly the work Fran has done is offering our customers more solutions than they had in the past,” says Horizon President Eric Wolfe. “Our objective is to merge the inherent benefits of powder metal with the ability to create enhanced mechanical and performance properties not seen before with PM.”
In short, if you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough out of your current design, we have the team to help you. Collaboration with the OEM is important to understanding how powder metal can improve a component -- from the senior engineer to the product designer to even the owner.
“Just sometimes the ability to tell a joke and have a person-to-person relationship (is beneficial),” Fran says. “Let us help you determine if your metal component can benefit from the unique attributes of PM, we want to be part of that creative process.”
Questions for Fran & the Team?
Fran and the entire Horizon team are ready to help innovate your next generation of small components. Whether it’s ...
- Examining a part’s shape and developing a process to create that shape
- Contributing to the metallurgical expertise required for your application
- Thinking beyond conventions to improve magnetic and other qualities in a part
… an honest, back-and-forth conversion with Horizon always puts the “custom” back in “custom metal component.”
“I think most people felt extremely comfortable with talking to me,” Fran says. “We want to encourage this kind of interaction because it ends in a better solution for you.”
To further strengthen your experience, Horizon also added Director of Business and Technology Development Tom Freemer to facilitate the successful design and manufacturing of your part. Tom, another former Hoeganaes employee, also has a background in material development, continuous improvement, and root cause analysis.
If you have a question for Fran or Tom about material and process considerations -- or any general metal manufacturing design issue -- contact them via the button below.