An open letter to our customers regarding Kobe Steel.
Some customers of All Metals & Forge Group (AM&FG) are concerned whether or not Kobe Steel produced materials were used in the manufacture of their forgings. We want to clarify the Kobe Steel problem and how All Metals & Forge Group addressed such issues more than 10 years ago. First, the problem:
Kobe Steel has admitted that its employees falsified data about the strength and durability of aluminum sheets and poles, aluminum components, copper products and iron powder that was supplied to over 200 customers who may have subsequently used them in other process, parts or assemblies. These items were certified as having properties, such as a specified minimum level of tensile strength, that they did not actually possess. Kobe Steel additionally has admitted that its current problems may stretch back at least a decade.
All Metals & Forge Group wants to reassure our customers that this issue has not affected them because of the rigorous quality assurance and quality control processes AM&FG has had in place for more than a decade.
Quality Assurance / Quality Control Process
In its manufacturing system, AM&FG takes a large physical metal coupon cut from the actual forging for each material heat lot, or a separate forged part to be used for destructive testing, according to the procedure defined within an industry standard specification and/or customer defined specification. This coupon is sufficient in size to provide 4 representative coupons. The large coupon may be from a prolongation or elongation taken tangentially or longitudinally based upon the specification(s).
The first representative coupon is tested at the manufacturing plant for the requirements of the specification(s) and the order. The second coupon is sent to an independent third-party U.S. metallurgical laboratory that also tests the coupon according to the material specification(s) declared by the customer which contains the chemistry and properties required for the customer’s intended use of the forging they are purchasing. These specifications include those issued by ASTM, AMS, ASME, API, AISI, SAE, DIN, GB, AFNOR and dozens of other standardized documents from U.S. and international specification agencies. The third coupon is provided to the customer for their own verification. The fourth coupon is held for reference.
For chemistry alone, AM&FG checks material chemistry four times: the mill test report, chemistry validation from a cutting of the actual ingot or billet to be used for the forging, AM&FG’s testing of a representative coupon from the actual forging, and the test results from the independent third-party U.S. testing lab. In addition, AM&FG ultrasonically tests each and every part it produces and reports test results to the customer before the products are shipped, rather than simply stating “capable of” a UT criteria on order documentation.
If a metallurgical variance were to occur outside of the specified ranges for chemistry, tensile, yield, elongation, reduction of area, heat treatment, hardness, soundness or other required criteria, it would be found during our quality assays and reported to the customer before the products were shipped. It would then be determined by the customer whether they would issue an acceptance of deviation from the specification based on their intended use.
These rigorous procedures, instituted and managed for more than a decade at All Metals & Forge Group under its own exacting ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications first established in 1994 and maintained ever since, significantly exceed the standard practices commonly used in the open die forging and seamless rolled ring forging industry. These procedures are used on every ingot or billet regardless of its origin. We want to reassure our customers that All Metals & Forge Group manufactures, manages and stands behind each and every forging we produce, especially in the face of the concern with Kobe Steel.
Lewis A. Weiss
All Metals & Forge Group