Q&A with John Ludeman

DirectoratAdvanced Heat Treat Corp.

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Advanced Heat Treat Corp. (AHT) recently renewed its Nadcap accreditation in heat treating. What makes the Nadcap accreditation important to what AHT does?

Nadcap is basically another level of accreditation that enhances our ability to serve our customers. It gives us more options. It opens up a customer base that’s out there that has to have Nadcap as an accreditation to generate a purchase order for us. It’s also an indicator to our customers that quality is a big part of AHT. We value Nadcap, and it’s not easy to achieve. We did achieve another 24 merit, which is a great indicator that Advanced Heat Treat lives these requirements every day. It’s something we follow, and we love to do it, and it’s a great way to serve our customers.

What steps were involved in renewing that Nadcap accreditation?

We live to work to the stringent Nadcap requirements every day. Nadcap is not something that you turn off and on. It’s in our everyday standard operating procedures. To get to that point every year, every 18 months, or every two years – depending on your Nadcap merit status –  you have an auditor come in and do an evaluation. (We’ve held Nadcap accreditation since 2013 and have earned merit status, so for us, it’s every two years.) Prior to that assessment, you submit a list of documents — a self-assessment — and have to provide them a long list of documents and procedures.

During this assessment, we actually added some new processes and some new specifications. We had to do the background work of those and make sure that, when the auditor came in, there were some job audits to assess. There’s a long standard operating procedure for AHT or other companies that we provide before they come in. When they’re on site, they have another set of requirements that we have to go through to get qualified and to get those things passed. A Nadcap assessment or a Nadcap audit is really about the specifications and what the customer needs.

You’ve also added a few additional AMS specifications to your company’s tool chest. What are they, and why were they needed?

AMS 2759/6 and AMS 2759/12 for gas nitriding and ferritic nitrocarburizing, respectively. Those were added, but they’re really enhancing what we already had. We feel like we’re a leader in ion and gas nitriding, and those two specifications complete those AMS 2759/ specifications for ion nitriding, gas nitriding, and ferritic nitrocarburizing. It, basically, allows us to better serve our customers and also find new customers needing these processes.

What types of services do these newly renewed and added specifications allow you to offer your customers?

It gives them more flexibility. A lot of the engineering requirements off of engineering prints for customers or within the customer specifications call out a certain processing type. They may call out AMS 2759/10 or /6, and you have to comply to those, or you can’t do the work. It allows us to be more flexible, especially within the nitriding specifications to do either the /10 or the /6. We just thought it was a better way to serve our customers, and it gives customers a flexibility of coming to us no matter which requirements they need.

Were you doing ion and gas nitriding before these specifications?

Before we added the /6 and the /12, we were accredited to ion nitriding, which is the /8, 2729 and then the /10.

Will these specifications help to give you an edge over your competitors?

I believe it will. It allows existing customers with those requirements to come to AHT and not have to go elsewhere. They might be able to bundle shipping or those kinds of processes, those kinds of logistics. It gives them the ability to have fewer vendors in their approved vendor list. Or, if you’ve developed a good relationship with a customer, now this gives us the ability to do more for that customer.

Is there anything else about these accreditations you’d like to mention?

We’re always looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage, and a lot of research and development went into adding these services. We listened to our customers. That’s another reason why we added these:   because customers were asking, “Can you do this specification? Can you do that specification?” So, adding these gives us a way to serve those people. The added specifications fit nicely within our current approved processes and expertise. We feel we’re the leader in the industry for ion and gas nitriding, along with ferritic gas nitriding, and also ferritic nitrocarburizing with oxide. We’re also in the process of reviewing induction heat treat as part of the Nadcap process; we’re going through the discovery phase of that. 

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