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21
Apr
0
Posted by Posted on in Products
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Ubrich Rolling, Annealing and Slitting: A General Overview

The Value of the Ulbrich Specialty Strip Mill (USSM)

Ulbrich's rolling division, USSM, provides engineered strip metal and foil products to exacting specifications.  USSM produces a specialized rolled coil, not readily available from other suppliers.  Our ability to deliver a customized and consistent product allows us to provide our customers the material they need to create enhanced processes and products.  The strip mill's diversity of equipment and experienced staff enables us to establish robust processes capable of supplying a precise and consistent product for use in a wide variety of applications across multiple industries.

Need to hold a tight gauge tolerance?  Our standard tolerance is +/- 5% nominal thickness.  However, we employ a combination of techniques and equipment, from the automatic gauge control system on our rolling mills to our meticulous sampling, and measurement at incoming inspection and final slitting, to ensure conformance to some of the tightest tolerances in the industry. 

Need an exotic alloy or temper?  Ulbrich offers strip or foil in over 140 alloys and we will work with our customers to develop, specify and supply a unique product to fit their manufacturing needs.  Founded in 1924, USSM continues a long tradition of precision strip manufacturing in collaboration with our suppliers, customers, and a dedicated staff.

The USSM Manufacturing Process

USSM converts strip metal from widely available standard specifications to meet unique customer needs including: thickness, width, specific mechanical properties, industry specifications and many other critical characteristics.    

The conversion process can be broken down into three basic steps: 

1)    Rolling:  To reduce thickness

2)    Annealing:   To restore ductility

3)    Slitting:   To separate a wide strip into narrower cuts. 

The rolling process generally begins with material in the annealed condition.  The condition of metal (e.g. annealed, tempered) can be defined by the grain structure, or, microscopic structure (microstructure) of that metal.  To the unaided human eye, most any metal surface looks continuous and homogenous.  However, metals are actually made up of a network of individual microscopic crystals called grains, which can be viewed using a microscope on a polished and acid etched surface.  The size, shape and alignment of these grains can tell us how the metal will behave, and will change in response to the various manufacturing processes the material is subjected to.  Grains in annealed material are considered uniform and equiaxed: they are all very similar in size and shape with little directionality.  Material with a properly annealed, equiaxed grain structure is ductile enough to be cold rolled to reduce thickness without breaking. 

Rolling

Cold Rolling is the cornerstone of USSM and the heart of the conversion process.  Rolling is a continuous metal forming process in which metal stock is fed between two hard work rolls which apply enough pressure to plastically deform the metal, inducing a permanent reduction in thickness uniformly across the width of the strip.  Rolling at USSM is considered “cold rolling” because we do not increase the temperature of the material before we roll it.   Modern rolling practices employ a combination of screw down pressure, perpendicular to the strip surface, and longitudinal tension to ensure that the reduction in thickness translates exclusively into an increase in strip length instead of a reduction in strip width. 

As the strip realizes a macroscopic reduction in thickness and increase in length, the grain structure is also changed.  Rolling elongates grains in the longitudinal direction and, depending on the extent of the deformation, either partially breaks down or completely transforms the individual crystal structure of each grain.  This microscopic modification from equiaxed to elongated grains translates into an increase in strength and reduction in the ductility of the bulk material.  Strengthening the material through plastic deformation in this way is called cold working or work hardening.  The more the thickness is reduced, the more the microstructure is changed and the harder and more brittle the material becomes until it cannot be reduced any further without breaking.  Each alloy work hardens at a different rate and has a specific maximum amount the thickness can safely be reduced before it must be annealed. 

Understanding the work hardening rate of a given alloy or heat lot within an alloy is paramount to achieving the mechanical properties specified by the customer.  Process routings for tempered items allot a specific amount of reduction in thickness during the final rolling session, which is intended to work harden the material to the mechanical properties specified by the customer.  An item ordered “Quarter Hard” will require a very small amount of reduction compared to a “Full Hard” item which would be rolled a reduction approaching the maximum the alloy can withstand without breaking.  Generally, appropriate reductions are determined by analyzing a combination of historic data and chemistry. 

USSM currently owns 9 rolling mills of two different configurations: 3 Four High mills (H-mill) and 6 Sendzimir mills (Z-mill).  H-mills are the simpler of the two, and use two large diameter work rolls which are driven and supported by a set of back up rolls situated atop and below, hence four high.  The more complex Z-mills use three sets of cascaded back up rolls to focus the screw down force of the mill onto much smaller diameter work rolls.  This roll cluster enables the Z-mill to apply a greater roll pressure without roll bending than an H-mill.  Apart from differences in tooling, both H-mills and Z-mills operate in a similar manner.  The operator can vary the screw down force applied by the work rolls, and the tension applied by the coil pay-off and take-up winders to achieve the desired amount of reduction for each pass.  The equipment generally cannot provide enough force to induce the entire planned reduction at once; coils are rolled back and forth multiple times, or passes to achieve the desired reduction.  USSM has been honing its rolling practices since Ulbrich purchased their first Z-mill in 1955 and first H-mill in 1957.  Now, our largest H-mill can handle incoming material up to .187” thick, while our smallest Z-mill can roll foil as light as .00039": an order of magnitude thinner than a human hair. 

Annealing

The difference between the starting material thickness and the final ordered thickness of a given product is often greater than the maximum reduction an alloy can withstand without breaking.  In this case, we must recover the equiaxed grain structure of material before we can roll any further.  This is accomplished through annealing which may also be referred to as solution heat treating.  The material is heated to an intrinsic critical temperature, and held at that temperature long enough for the microstructure to essentially reset.  The thermal energy introduced by the furnace allows the grains to recover from the effects of the work hardening introduced during rolling, at which point the metal will re-crystallize, or precipitate all new equiaxed grains.  The grains start very small, and grow in size over time.  You may refer to the earlier post “Stainless Steel Grade Selection for Strip, Foil and Wire” for further information on the preferred grain size for various applications.  Our anneal cycles are designed to begin cooling down the material immediately after the grains re-crystallize to avoid excessive grain growth.  If grains are grown too large, the bulk material may exhibit erratic mechanical properties or an undesirable surface finish.  Once the equiaxed grain structure has been restored, the strip is ready to be rolled again.  This rolling and annealing cycle can be repeated as many times as necessary to reach the final ordered thickness.  On products ordered in the annealed condition, no subsequent rolling is needed. 

USSM exclusively performs continuous bright annealing using either gas fired muffle tube or electric furnaces.  This method of annealing is considered continuous because the strip is fed end to end through a furnace instead of batch heated all together in coil form.  The coil is mounted on a payoff winder which feeds the strip through the furnace where it is heated to the desired temperature and then air cooled before being re-accumulated into coil form on the takeoff winder.  The furnace temperature and feeding speed are controlled in order to introduce enough thermal energy to re-crystallize the material and achieve the desired grain size.  Continuous annealing allows for greater control of the strip temperature than a batch anneal.  Proper strip temperature control will result in more uniform mechanical properties and grain structure throughout the entire length of a coil.  Our annealing is considered bright because the entry and exit of the furnace are sealed and the interior is filled with a shielding gas.  In open annealing, which is not performed at USSM, the hot material is exposed to air which results in a scale forming on the surface of the metal.  Subsequent chemical processing is required to remove the scale from the surface.  Bright annealed material does not require chemical processing because no scale is formed. The protective atmosphere inside the furnace prevents the formation of excess oxide and allows the strip to retain its rolled finish.  

Slitting

Slitting, the mechanism we employ to separate a wide strip into “mults” or narrower strips, is a method of continuously inducing fractures in a straight line along the edges of the desired width.  The strip is fed through an “arbor” containing two sets of hard, rotating tool steel “knives”.  These knives penetrate deep enough into the strip to weaken the adjacent material to the point of fracturing.  The slit mults continue from the arbor to a re-coiler where they are accumulated back into coil form.  The depth of penetration, or, clearance, of these knives is closely monitored, as the burr on the edges of the mults will vary with the clearance.  USSM standard #3 slit edge maximum burr is 10% of product thickness.  Our operators will make adjustments to the clearance as they are preparing to slit in order to minimize the burr as much as possible. 

Slitting can serve as both the initial and final operation in the conversion process at USSM.  All of the slitters at USSM are similar in concept and operation, but vary greatly in size.  Our larger machines are dedicated to slitting the heavy gauge incoming coils up to 54" wide to mults used for re-rolling.  At the other end of the process, slitting is used to separate a material at finish gauge and temper into the width ordered by the customer.   Many considerations regarding coil configuration must be made during a final slitting operation as the output is often a coil in delivery condition.  Apart from width: edge condition, coil support, coil inner diameter, coil size, interleaf and accumulation method are all characteristics of the final product that are realized during final slitting.  Once a coil is slit to final width it can be packaged and delivered to the customer.     

 

 

 -Keith Grayeb

 

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08
Apr
0
Posted by Posted on in Materials
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Nickel 625, Inconel® 625 Strip, Foil & Wire Data Sheet

b2ap3_thumbnail_inconel718datasheet002.jpgUlbrich.com is pleased to offer our new Material Data Sheets.  The new data sheets for materials such as Nickel 625,  are made available for informational purposes only (not for design).  We hope you find this new feature helpful and please feel free to insert your questions or quotes in the forms embedded in each.

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27
Mar
0
Posted by Posted on in Ulbrich News
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Nickel 718, UNS N00718

inconel718datasheet002.jpgWith the launch of the new Ulbrich.com, we are pleased to present material datasheets to be used as a reference resource.  Although these datasheets were not created for design purposes, we offer them as a general source of information about the materials we offer.  We have wide variety of materials in over 140 alloys of stainless, nickel, titanium, cobalt, niobium, nitinol, and other exotic metals. 

Nickel 718 Datasheet Sample

 

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22
Mar
0
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New Ulbrich.com Offers Material Data Sheets

The new Ulbrich.com has expanded it's material data sheet section, offering additional information on the alloys we provide.  Each datasheet includes specifications, forms, chemistry, mechanical properties and other useful data. 

For more information or to purchase our Strip, Foil or Wire products, contact us at 1-800-243-16761-800-243-1676 or +203-239-4481.  Submit your quote online here:  Submit RFQ

Celebrating 90 years of providing precision stainless steels and special metals!

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08
Mar
0
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Metals for Aerospace and Defense Applications

b2ap3_thumbnail_ApacheHelicopterUlbrich.jpgWhether you are looking for Commercially Pure Titanium Grades 1-5, Grade 9 or Grade 21, Ulbrich has the solution.   We've been rolling, annealing and providing complex material solutions in strip, foil and wire products for aerospace and defense applications, for over 90 years.  Our extensive global inventory of Titanium and Ni/Co products allows you to order small quantities, up to truckload runs, from stock material.

Our capabilities include foil & strip products ranging from 0.010mm - 3.175mm with widths up to 300mm wide.  We meet many aerospace and defense specifications including ASTM, AMS, DMD, LCR, GE and MSRR.  Our Shaped Wire division can produce an extensive selection of custom profiles, rolled to near net shapes with specific mechanical property ranges.

When selecting your next supplier, know that Ulbrich offers extensive technical and metallurgical experience for thousands of aerospace and defense applications.  We have maintained strong and trusted relationships with OEM's and sub-contractors world-wide, offering unique precision engineered solutions that allow our customers to attain the lowest total cost.

In addition to our titanium alloys Ulbrich offers a full range of stainless, nickel, cobalt, nitinol, niobium, zirconium and additional special metals.

Visit Chris Tobias and Tom Leblanc at the Aerospace and Defense Summit, March 11-13, 2014, Seattle Washington to learn more about our products and services.

 

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24
Feb
0
Posted by Posted on in Ulbrich News
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Stainless Steel Grade Selection for Strip, Foil & Wire

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Why are raw material requirements so important?

The selection of a stainless steel alloy begins with a simple question: "What is going to be done to the material?" This rather gentle inquiry rapidly cascades into an avalanche of significant questions with considerable consequences. What type of corrosive environment will the material be in? Is the final part under a tensile or compressive load? Are there cyclic forces involved? What is the final market? What types of forming operations are required to make the part?

The details describing the thought-processes for material selection for all possible questions for all possible end use markets would take years to read and even longer to write. Thankfully however, much research has already been generated by industries involved in such questions. The answers are usually available through research. These answers might already be documented by the company asking these questions.

With so much information available (visit Ulbrich.com for a full list of products), and so many questions to ask, let us start with one of the first conversations that Ulbrich will have with companies like your own. This conversation is about material selection based on forming operations. Stainless steels and nickel alloys can be bent, stretched, drawn, coined and pierced. Each one of these processes favors certain characteristics of chemistry and mechanical properties. An analogy is that nails can be hammered into wood, concrete, fiberglass, aluminum and vinyl but only the proper nail for each material will work. Using a wood nail in concrete can result in poor performance and even catastrophic failure. Using the wrong alloy type or wrong mechanical property set can result in poor performance and even catastrophic failure.

Discussing the needed forming operations and the end-use requirements allows us to engineer a balance between the best aspects of stainless steel: ductility and strength. Raw material must be ductile enough to form the part, and the part must be strong enough to handle its application. Let us take a look at each type of forming operation and describe what material best fits.

Drawing and Coining

Drawing

Drawing is a process in which a blanked section of material is pushed into a forming die by a punch. Deep drawing is when the depth of the final part is greater than the part diameter. Drawing can be accomplished in one die/punch session or several. The major raw material need for this process is a low work hardening rate. A low work hardening rate is accomplished by higher amounts of nickel in the stainless alloy. Type 305, with nickel content between 10 – 13%, is a perfect fit for drawing. A low work hardening rate means that the yield and tensile strength increase slowly with increased forming.

Grain size must also be considered when purchasing raw material for drawing operations. Coarse grains can cause a condition known as orange-peel to develop during drawing operations. This undesirable condition creates surface aberrations that resemble an orange peel. Coarse grains can also cause poor ductility. Ductility is a benchmark of drawing success. Coarse grain issues means that a finer grain structure is best for drawing operations.

Coining

Coining is another type of stamping that relies on plastic flow. Work hardening rate (flow) plays an important role in coining operations for similar reasons as it did with drawing operations. Coining is easier to accomplish with lower work hardening rates. Grain size is also a consideration. Although a finer grain is a good choice for almost all drawing operations, the grain size required for coining depends on a combination of factors unique to the finish part's requirements.

Bending, Stretching & Piercing

Bending

Technology is advancing at paces more rapid than ever. Aerospace, computers, and even safety razors are growing more complex every day. These large complexities are comprised of equally complex components. These components can have very strict requirements for dimensions to ensure proper function. This means that manufacturers must be able to bend steel into difficult shapes. A manufacturer must maintain a prescribed degree of strength while simultaneously planning for spring-back. Strength is planned from raw material mechanical properties & thickness, degree of bending and work hardening rate. Spring-back is determined by thickness and final mechanical properties. Clearly, these variables represent a complex engineering challenge. A material with an acceptable work hardening rate must be ordered to the correct raw material mechanical properties. This material must be bent to the proper dimensions, then over-bent to accommodate the material's inherent spring-back of the current mechanical properties of the bent piece.

So let us dissect this problem by starting with our previous drawing example using type 305 stainless. 305, as we discussed, has a low work hardening rate. This means that a large degree of cold work, even from bending, will not increase mechanical properties much. To a manufacturer, this means that the final component will not be very strong. This is not what we want. So let us take a look at a different material: 301 stainless steel.

301 contains 6 – 8% nickel compared to 305's 10 – 13%. Nickel is a primary contributor to work hardening. This means that when work hardening 301 and 305 to the same amount, 301 will have work hardened more which results in higher mechanical properties. This phenomenon is highlighted in figure 1. In this example, for the same amount of cold work, the tensile strength of 301 is 80,000 Psi greater than its 305 counterpart. A part manufactured with a bending process will be stronger than an identical part made with 305.

Stretching

Stretching, at times, can appear similar to a drawing operation. However, drawing operations include an ironing component from drawing dies. This ironing helps material to flow rather than stretch. Stretching operations are very dependent on a higher work hardening rate. If we look at figure 1 again, specifically at our prescribed percent of cold work, the 305 sample failed with lesser tensile stress than the 301 sample. The 301 sample increased strength rapidly with higher applied loads. As the load increased, the new higher inherent strength resisted failure. Since stretching does not have an ironing manufacturing component, a material must stretch and strengthen itself by work hardening.

Piercing

Piercing involves using a punch and die to shear raw material. Spring-back is the largest concern in piercing operations. Piercing is easiest to accomplish with materials that have minimal spring-back. Typically, this means lower elongation values rather than higher elongation values. Elongation is a direct reflection of the ductility of a material. High elongation means ductile, low elongation means rigid. Spring-back issues arise when a punch is retracted after piercing a material that is too ductile. The raw material strip can "grab on" to the punch and the material strip can be pulled upward. Rigid material strip does not have the tendency to do this. In some piercing applications, it may be necessary to specify a maximum allowable elongation value.

Summary

If a product only requires one forming operation, such as stamping with only bending, then the decision on an alloy and properties can be based on stretch-ability and spring-back. Parts may involve a combination of bending, stretching, coining, piercing and drawing. These situations can be complex and involve trade-offs for desired properties. In this type of situation, the most difficult operation may dictate what the others have to accommodate. The tensile test is a good indicator of properties. Comparing the average yield, tensile and elongation values of different alloys in different tempers gives insight into the possibilities. The initial meeting between customer and supplier is usually a valuable two-way-review to determine the best options.

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22
Feb
0
Posted by Posted on in Ulbrich News
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Ulbrich Marks A 90th Year Milestone

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Founded in 1924 by Frederick Christian Ulbrich Sr., Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. was a small metal scrap processing center in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Ulbrich is now marking its 90th anniversary this year with 700 employees, and 11 locations around the world, including its headquarters in North Haven, CT.

Today, the Company remains family-owned, led by the founder, Fred Sr.'s son, Fred Jr., Chairman of the Board, and grandson, Chris, Chief Executive Officer.

Ulbrich serves stainless steel and special metal markets with strip, flat wire, shaped wire, foil and ultra-lite foil, and sheet product forms. It has evolved into a worldwide, high quality precision metals manufacturing and distribution network.

"We have achieved this milestone as a result of the commitment, loyalty, knowledge and hard work of each employee through the years," said Chris Ulbrich, CEO.

"We also extend sincere appreciation to all customers who have supported Ulbrich with orders and feedback. Our dedicated customer base has always been key to the Company's success."

When Fred Sr. founded Ulbrich in 1924, he could not have known that the Company would endure through the Great Depression, diversify during two world wars, thrive during lunar exploration, and develop into an international business.

Ulbrich supplies precision products at the international level for numerous critical applications in the medical, power generation, energy, automotive, aircraft, aerospace, petro chemical, oil and gas, industrial and consumer markets.

To celebrate its 90th year anniversary, Ulbrich is planning a series of commemorative events at all of it's locations.

Ulbrich Time Line and Facts:

Early 1920s: the founder, a young Frederick Christian Ulbrich (Fred Sr.) worked as a salesman for U.S. Steel in Donora, PA and became aware of the steel industry's need for good quality scrap. With just a few dollars in his pocket, he returned to his hometown of Wallingford, CT and opened a scrap yard. For several years he dismantled old cars and farm machinery, selling the scrap to steel mills and auto parts to auto repair shops.

1924: Fred Sr. founded the "Fred Ulbrich" company that would eventually become Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc.

1927: The first of many expansions by Ulbrich occurred when Fred Sr. doubled the square footage of his building from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet. To match his rapid building growth, Fred Sr. decided to increase inventories to generate new customers. During the same period because of his keen interest in metals, he attended evening classes in metallurgy at Yale University.

1929: During the Great Depression lasting 10 years, the demand for scrap declined, but the young Ulbrich made the best of it. Fred Sr. built another addition to the plant with the help of transients hopping off freight trains near the plant. He offered them hot meals and modest wages. Fred Sr. was devoted to getting his scrap yard in good shape. The little money he received was from an occasional scrap sale to the Ludlum Corporation and the unusual rental of his chicken coop to a local Wallingford business.

1936: Ludlum Corporation merged with the Allegheny Corporation and Fred Sr. could no longer sell scrap directly to the merged company. It became obvious that he had to pursue a new venture.

1937: The Wallingford and Meriden, CT area was the center of cutlery and flatware manufacturing. With his knowledge of stainless steel, Fred Sr., decided to manufacture a quality line of knives, forks and spoons. The items were inexpensive but the quality was excellent.

1939: Germany invaded Poland signaling the start of World War II.

1941: Ulbrich receives a contract to supply stainless steel knives for the U.S. Army mess kit.

1942: The Ulbrich Company fulfilled contracts with on-time delivery and rapidly earned a place ahead of its competition. In addition, Fred Sr. was able to convert metal to the proper specifications. Consequently, the company received additional contracts becoming a major supplier of knives during the war.

1944: Fred Sr. became Warden of Wallingford, and one of his major accomplishments was paving the town roads with real asphalt.

1945: Ulbrich sponsored 50 male concentration camp victims that were displaced in Europe, offering employment while the U.S. Government worked to have their families join them a year later.  Today Ulbrich still has workers who are related to thesefamilies employed at the Company.

1946: After the war, the company expanded its tableware business offering two different products. One was the continuation of the low-cost, diner-grade tableware and the other a high-end line of stainless steel carving knives with Elkhorn handles that were sold in the finest New York City department stores. Fred Sr. decided with his experience in military knives and cutlery, he would form a company that he called Victory Cutlery Company.

1949: Ulbrich had grown to four times its original size with a 2,500 square foot building.

1950: While the business thrived, Fred Sr. saw an even better opportunity to supply stainless steel for a growing market of stainless steel applications. He had both the knowledge and the rolling mill to fill an important niche. The big melt shops were supplying 10,000 minimum coils, far too much for many small manufacturers. Fred Sr. bought the big coils and slit them into smaller lots and supplied the needed smaller quantities, as little as 10 pounds, to these small manufacturers.

1955: Rerolling and slitting was the main focus of the Ulbrich Company's enterprise. The cutlery business was sold and a powerful new Sendzimer rolling mill was purchased. The unique design of this mill enabled Ulbrich to roll to thicknesses unheard of at the time, down to .005" and at the same time they retained the desired flatness across the width of the strip.

1957: The response from customers was so favorable that Ulbrich soon invested in two-high rolling mills to handle the demand and the first non-family employees were hired.

1959: A new Sendzimer rolling mill was added and 12 new employees were hired. At this time Fred Sr.'s oldest son, Frederick C. Ulbrich, Jr., joins the company and sets up a sales department, alleviating the firm's dependence on the service centers that had been selling their products.  In addition Fred Sr.'s second son, Richard J. Ulbrich joined his father and brother in the business to focus on manufacturing and mill operations.

1960: Nickel-based alloys were added to the product mix as Ulbrich made a bid for new applications in the Aircraft and Aerospace industry. Inventories included 20 stainless alloys and over 40 different Special Metals which combined into a constant inventory of over 5 million pounds.

1963: The Company invested all of its profit into new laboratories and testing facilities in order to qualify as a supplier to Pratt & Whitney, located in Hartford. The approval opened up business from Boeing, North American Aviation, Rohr and other subcontractors. Ulbrich was selected as a supplier to the Air Force's B70 Bomber Project. This required the company to roll to as light as .001"in thickness.

1964: Fred Sr.'s third son, Daniel Ulbrich, entered the business and Ulbrich decided to hire its own sales force instead of depending on independent sales representatives.

1965: Ulbrich became an important metal supplier to the U.S. troops in Vietnam.

1968: As customers began to respond to Ulbrich's quality and versatility in the 1960's, it became obvious that the "Biggest Little Mill" needed a national distribution network. Ulbrich of Illinois became Ulbrich's first stainless steel strip service center located in Alsip, IL and served the Midwest market.

1970: Significant new equipment additions were made to improve quality and capability to roll to even thinner thicknesses. The company was renamed as Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, Inc. with60 employees working three shifts around the clock and over 50 alloys in the product line.

1971: Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Apollo spacecraft, which was built using Ulbrich metal. The metal produced by Ulbrich helped make it possible to lift the 6,262,500 pound vehicle off the launch pad.

1974: Ulbrich celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

1977: Chris Ulbrich, Fred Jr.'s son, joined the company full time after working part time, operating most of the machines in the plant.

1980: Fred Jr. CEO and his brother, Dick, COO set a target of expanding sales ten fold by 1990 and begin plans to reach that goal. They decided to reinvest all corporate profits into their capital expansion programs.

1982: A 100,000 square foot building was erected at the main plant in Wallingford. A regional Service Center, Ulbrich of New England, was created. After a series of strategic meetings, the "The Ulbrich Revolution" was underway, and the company embarked on an employee-wide effort emphasizing quality and customer commitment.

1986: Ulbrich opened Ulbrich of California, its fourth service center in Fresno, CA which would cover the Western and Southwestern markets.

1989: Ulbrich is now serving a broad market that includes makers of cars, trucks, aircraft, aerospace vehicles, medical instrumentation, implantable parts, petrochemical and power generation equipment and many others.

1990: Ulbrich announced a company-wide quality improvement initiative. All employees began attending regular Quality Control meetings with equipment operators, staff, and managers where they were trained on the following Four Tenets: Total Customer Responsiveness, Total Company Involvement, Total Quality Commitment, and Continuous Professional Development.

1994: The quality improvement effort paid off as Ulbrich attained its ISO Quality Certification at the mill with all Divisions following soon after.

1997: Titanium became an important part of the Ulbrich product offering. Also, Ulbrich expanded its distribution network with a facility called Ulbrinox in Queretaro, Mexico, and it purchased The Diversified Stainless Company with two locations in Toronto and Montreal, Canada.

1998: A third generation Ulbrich takes the helm with the appointment of Fred Jr.'s son, Chris Ulbrich, as President. The Company reaches record Sales.

1999: Ulbrich marks its 75th anniversary with over 600 employees with facilities in four countries.  The Company was now buying over 140 different alloys from various melting sources all over the world to maintain its commitment for wide product choice and quick deliveries.

2001: Ulbrich acquires a flat wire division in South Carolina that they name Ulbrich Precision Flat Wire.

2002: Ulbrich opens a sales office in Shanghai, China and also opens Ulbrich Precision Metals, Ltd in Galway, Ireland to produce and distribute fine wire to the medical market in the EU.

2005: Ulbrich increases capacity to produce wire called PV Ribbon that is used in the production of Solar Panels. The Ulbrich Special Wire Group opens a PV Ribbon facility in Austria.

2006: Ulbrich expands it Wallingford, CT rolling mill facility by 12,000 square feet and enters into the Ultra Lite Foil business improving it thickness capability to less than .0004".

2007: Ulbrich Asia Metals (a service center and trading company) opens in Hong Kong to provide Ulbrich products to Asia.

2011:Ulbrich Solar Technologies prepares to open another manufacturing location for producing PV Ribbon in Hillsboro, Oregon.

2012: Ulbrich continues into the fourth familygeneration with 700 employees, and 11 locations. The company moves into a new corporate headquarters at 153 Washington Ave, North Haven, CT.

2014: Ulbrich celebrates its 90th Anniversary with a series of commemorative events planned at all locations during the year.

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04
Feb
0
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Ultralite Foil Available in Stainless, Nickel and Titanium Alloys

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Ultralite Foil™ from Ulbrich is available in Stainless Steel, Nickel and Titanium Alloys in thicknesses as thin as a human hair.

Precision foil and strip products require stringent rolling, slitting, annealing and finishing processes. All of our foils are tension annealed and manufactured in our dedicated 12,000 square foot foil production center.

Ulbrich's Product Managers and Engineers are available for consultation on all of your light gauge strip and foil requirements.

Sizes From .01 mm thick to 35 mm wide Stainless Alloys 301, 302, 204, 316, 430 Nickel Alloys 600, 625, 400, 401, C27, Copper Nickel 715, 201 Titanium Alloys Ti Grade 1, Ti Grade 2, Ti Grade 4 Tempers Available from Annealed to Full Hard Finishes from Carbide Bright to Rolled Dull Certification Include ISO 9001, ISO 17025, Nadcap, GEAE, Rolls Royce, LCS, A2LA
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22
Nov
0
Posted by Posted on in Ulbrich News
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Metals for Medical Applications

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Special metals are critical in the design and development of medical devices. Ulbrich has been the industry leader in the production of Titanium, Nitinol, Niobium, Copper and Tantalum Alloys. Our ability to roll light gauge strip in narrow widths and produce shaped wire products in hundreds of specialty alloys, positions us as a one-stop source for a wide variety of medical alloys.

Applications and Alloys:

Titanium

Implants, Neuro- Stimulators, Orthopedic Rods, Pins and Plates, Heart Valve Housings, Prosthetic Eyes, Surgical Instruments, Drills, Forceps, Retractors, Scissors and Needles

Niobium

Pacemakers

Tantalum

Bone Implants, Vascular Clips, Flexible Stents

Nitinol

Stents, Heart Valve Tools, Staples, Bone Anchors, Septal Defect Devices, Diagnostic Guide Wires, Arch Wires for Braces

Copper

Anti-germ Surfaces, Medical Electric Devices

The information from this post is from Todd Hall's article recently published article in Advanced Materials and Processes magazine September, 2011.

If you need material for a medical device or product, please contact Todd Hall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Todd can also be reached at 502-644-4722.

Todd's full article published in Advanced Materials and Processes, September 2011 and our Medical Metals Brochure are available here for download:

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Wrapping Wire for Music String

Wrapping wiresmall_guitar1.jpg is the fine wire that coils around the outside of music string. It is one of the premier products manufactured at Ulbrich Precision Flat Wire, Westminster, South Carolina. Music string is used on guitars and other bowed instruments. It is as diverse and unique as the instruments that utilize it.

In addition to the wood, shape and other structural features, the music strings play a major role in the sound that the instrument creates. The wrap wire, along with the string's base alloy, wire shape and coating, affect the subtle nuances of the sound produced. These desired tonal features are an integral part of the string's design.

Each music string manufacturer has their own unique product specifications. These individualized customer requirements require experience and repeatable manufacturing processes critical to providing a high-quality product. Ulbrich has been in operation since 1924, supplying high quality metals in wire and strip for countless applications. This combination of experience, skill, equipment and process knowledge, makes Ulbrich uniquely qualified to manufacture wrapping wire for musical instrument strings.

Whether the wire shape is round, half round, or flat, Ulbrich can produce it in over 140 alloys including aluminum, nickel-plated steel, brass, bronze and tungsten. Stainless steel wrap wire can be provided in bare or electroplated in-house with silver, tin, nickel or gold.

Ulbrich's fine wire manufacturing capabilities reach down as fine as .00075" (about four times thinner than a human hair), making them a leader in fine wire production and development. A dedicated focus factory is available to partner with you in the research and development of innovative new fine wire products.

For more information about wrap wire for musical instruments or any of Ulbrich's fine wire products please select the link at top of page or contact:

Ted Davis
Ulbrich Precision Flat Wire (formerly Delta)
692 Plant Road
Westminster, SC 29693
Phone: 864-647-9524

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Have you seen our Facebook page?

Greetings Fellow Bloggers!

Have you visited the Ulbrich Facebook Page? It can be found athttp://www.facebook.com/Ulbrich.Stainless. I encourage you to become a fan!

Our Facebook site is another great place to find Ulbrich news, links and events!

Thanks for visiting,
Alice

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Chris Ulbrich Comments on the Japan Earthquake-Record Journal Article

Chris was in Japan shortly before the earthquake and his comments to the Record Journal can be read here: http://www.myrecordjournal.com/talkaboutit/article_5d26fda6-4c54-11e0-90...

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Ulbrich Launches New Solar Group - Ulbrich Solar Technologies, Inc.

Ulbrich launches Ulbrich Solar Technologies, Inc., a premier photovoltaic ribbon producer with worldwide facilities.
medium_Photovoltaic Ribbon.jpgPhotovoltaic Ribbon (PV Ribbon) is the focus of the newly formed holding company, Ulbrich Solar Technologies, Inc. The new company will be headquartered at its precision flat wire operation in South Carolina. It will have an increased global presence in the international solar market that includes current solar divisions operating in Austria, Hong Kong, Ireland and the U.S.A.

“We believe this dedicated focus to our PV products will prove beneficial to our customers while allowing us to keep up with the velocity of change in the solar industry.” commented, Chris Ulbrich COO.

Ulbrich, with over 15 yrs experience in the solar industry, has been on the leading edge of design, development and distribution of plated precision copper flat wire used for solar cell tabbing, string interconnect ribbon and bus wire including the new super- efficient Light-Capturing Ribbon™.

Ulbrich Solar Technologies, Inc.
692 Plant Road
Westminster, SC 29693 USA

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Nitinol

By John Schmidt, Director of New Product Development at
Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, USA

Nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium with
approximately fifty per cent nickel is a relatively
recently formulated metal that takes its name both
from its composition and the place where it was produced
(Nickel Titanium –Naval Ordnance Laboratory).

Although it was discovered in the early 1960s it took decades
for Nitinol to become useful in the marketplace due to the
difficulties encountered in its processing and manufacturing.
In fact, Nitinol's many uses have mostly all been realized
since the mid-1990s when its usefulness in a broad range of
applications results derived from its shape memory
characteristic and super-elastic properties. Shape memory
means Nitinol can change to a new form at one temperature
– lower than at normal body temperature for instance – and
then recover its original shape upon being heated beyond its
transformation temperature. Since Nitinol also has a unique
ability to adapt to extraordinary strains and is compatible with
the human body it is finding numerous applications in the
medical field.

At higher temperatures, Nitinol assumes a cubic crystal
structure referred to as austenite (also known as the parent
phase). At lower temperatures, it spontaneously transforms to
a more complicated ‘monoclinic’ crystal structure known as
martensite. The temperature at which austenite transforms to
martensite is generally referred to as the transformation
temperature –more specifically, martensite begins to form at
the so-called Ms temperature, and the temperature at which
it is complete is called the Mf temperature.

Those two facets of its structure – shape memory and superelastic
properties – allow Nitinol to exhibit a reversible
response to an applied stress which itself is caused by a
phase transformation between the austenitic and martensitic
phases of a crystal.

Crucial to Nitinol’s properties are two key aspects of this
phase transformation. First is that the transformation is
‘reversible’, meaning that heating above the transformation
temperature will revert the crystal structure to the simpler
austenite phase. The second key point is that the
transformation in both directions is instantaneous. [1]
Martensite's crystal structure has the unique ability to
undergo limited deformation substantially without breaking
atomic bonds. This type of deformation is known as twinning,
which consists of the rearrangement of atomic planes without
causing permanent deformation. It is able to undergo about
6–8% strain in this manner. When martensite is reverted to
austenite by heating, the original austenitic structure is
returned, regardless of whether the martensite phase was
deformed. Thus the name ‘shape memory’ refers to the fact
that the shape of the high-temperature austenite phase is
‘remembered’, even though the alloy is severely deformed at
a lower temperature. [2]

Thus Nitinol devices – such as stents – can be fabricated at
body temperature, deformed or folded smaller at another
temperature, then inserted into an artery where it will return to
its normal temperature and regain is original size.
Phase transformation also allows a device to fully recover
after it has been bent to a high rate of strain (up to 7%). This
‘superelastic’ effect allows use of nitinol devices that have
been bent or shaped to allow introduction or use inside the
body. Tools such as small grasping and biopsy devices can
extend from a tube and expand to a much larger area than
devices made from standard alloys.

Nitinol's reduced weight and unique properties make it
especially attractive for biomedical applications including
heart valve tools, stents, staples, bone anchors, sophisticated
septal defect devices and a variety of implants.
However, heat treating nitinol is delicate – and critical in fine tuning
the transformation temperature. Aging time and
temperature control the precipitation of various nickel-rich
phases, and thus control how much nickel resides on the
nickel–and titanium-lattice; by depleting the matrix of nickel,
aging increases the transformation temperature. The
combination of heat treatment and cold working is essential
in controlling the properties of Nitinol [3].

Nitinol's medical uses include devices for reconnecting
intestines after surgery; as stitching; in implants; and wiring to
locate breast tumors. Given its recent emergence in the
manufacturing world, it is clear that the surface of Nitinol's
future uses has barely been scratched.

References
[1] http://www.nitinol.com/nitinol-university/nitinol-facts.
[2] Funakubo, Hiroyasu (1984), Shape memory alloys,
University of Tokyo, pp. 7, 176.
[3] Pelton, A.; Russell, S. and DiCello, J. (2003), ‘The physical
metallurgy of nitinol for medical applications’, JOM Journal
of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, 55 (5): 33.

John Schmidt is Director of New Product Development at Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals. He
holds a BS in Metallurgical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, from Drexel University and then served in the
Peace Corps in the Philippines. He joined the Lukens Steel Company thereafter and served in ever
increasing capacities in technical sales development, marketing and product development, including at the
American Iron and Steel Institute and as a liaison to the National Research Council. Schmidt then joined
Haynes International (then the High Performance Alloy Division of Cabot) and revamped its technical
marketing for the Eastern U.S. and Canada. In 1993, he joined Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals.
His professional organizations include ASM, and the International Titanium Association, among others.
For more information about Ulbrich, please visit: www.ulbrich.com

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Ulbrich Installs Solar Panels In Westminster, South Carolina

Ulbrich Sees Promise in Solar Energy
large_2011-08-22_13-29-15_255[1] (2)_2.jpgAfter a stint of record-breaking heat, few have good things to say about the season’s sun, but employees at Ulbrich are putting sunny days to work. This summer, a roof-mounted solar array was installed at our Westminster, South Carolina location to help power our wire manufacturing facility. Designed to harness the sun's power as well as demonstrate our
photovoltaic ribbon products, the array consists of 40 modules and is a pioneering step in support of the clean energy movement.

After years of discussing the installation of a photovoltaic solar panels, Ulbrich leadership decided that the project was most appropriate for our company’s original and largest photovoltaic (PV) ribbon producing facility in Westminster, SC. The sustainability of solar energy along with the rising cost of electricity means that solar power is getting increasingly close to grid parity, the point at which solar energy costs are equal to or less than traditional energy sources. This, coupled with growing concern over pollution from other energy sources has made clean renewable energy an increasingly attractive option. In fact, PV production is the world’s fastest growing energy technology, increasing by an average of 48 percent each year since 2002.

Throughout this rapid development, we have grown along with the industry, and, in 1999, we began selling its PV products internationally. The copper ribbon we produce can now be found in the very array that will soon power our Westminster facility.

Steve Watts, Engineering Manager at UPFW, helped plan the project and hopes that the installation will serve as a working exhibition of Ulbrich's products. However, this demonstration is not just good business, it is good citizenship.

While many may be skeptical of so-called “green living” due to its fad-like contagion, the environmental benefits of clean energy are undeniable. A reduction of greenhouse gases, decreased reliance on foreign energy sources, and economic development in the industry locally are all cited effects of clean energy by the U.S. EPA. According to Ed Treglia, Vice President of Specialty Wire, “We want to do our part to demonstrate the movement to clean, renewable energies to our employees and to the local community here in South Carolina.” To further demonstrate Ulbrich’s dedication to the environment, we have several other programs designed to reduce energy consumption including the installation of energy efficient lighting, institution of a “zero-landfill” policy to promote recycling, and support for employees who choose energy efficient vehicles. These actions in conjunction with the new roof-mounted solar array are designed to promote our goal of community responsibility.

The solar array is scheduled to be functional this month. It’s approximated that the modules will provide 10KW of electrical power through an inverter. This is an energy savings that could pay for installation costs in as little as 5 years. As more people are introduced to the benefits of solar energy, the industry will continue advance, and, while many view a forecast full of sun as the continuation of a sweltering summer, we see it as a sign of the bright future ahead.

This post submitted by Nate Carver and Summer Hamblet

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Ulbrich Brings Smart Shopper Program From Anthem to Employees

medium_iStock_000008064630XSmall.jpgUlbrich employees now have the opportunity to participate in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s pilot program, The Smart Shopper. This innovative and voluntary program hopes to determine if cash incentives for selecting lower cost medical facilities can be an effective method to curb run-away healthcare costs.

This venture is a ...member’s only, web-based directory; designed to publish the costs of Anthem, in-network, healthcare service providers. Medical tests and procedures can vary in price by thousands of dollars based on facility and location. Employees that select one of the lower cost providers will receive incentives of typically $100 to $250 per procedure, directly from Ulbrich.

Smart Shopper is expected to reduce Ulbrich’s $7,000,000 annual heath plan price tag by as much as $160,000 in year one. The savings realized from the program will be re-invested in both the employees and the corporation.

In a six-year period, the cost savings could total $1,000,000 or more

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Ulbrich Launches New Website - UlbrichShapedWire.com

UlbrichShapedWire.com was launched today to promote rolled shaped wire products in stainless steels and special metal alloys. The new site features rolled shaped, flat, square and round wire products engineered and produced to exacting dimensions in a selection of over 170 different alloys. Ulbrich’s rolled wire products are provided in net or near net sizes suitable for stamping, coining, forming or machining applications.

The new website includes in-depth shaped and profile wire product information, as well as, quality certification downloads, simplified contact forms, materials information, packaging options and dimensional capabilities for easy client reference.

“This website was designed to give our prospective and current customers a portal to Ulbrich Shaped Wire’s products and services. Our main objective for this new site is to make our skilled staff of engineers and tooling specialists more accessible to our clients. We want to let them know that we can assist in the design and development of their most challenging products,” commented Mike Alstrits, General Sales Manager at Ulbrich Shaped Wire, Inc.
About Ulbrich Shaped Wire, Inc.

Ulbrich Shaped Wire, Inc., located in North Haven, CT, is a division of Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, Inc.

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Metals for Medical Applications

Medical Metals

medium_Arch_Wires_16_x_16_panel[1].JPG
Special metals are critical in the design and development of medical devices. Ulbrich has been the industry leader in the production of Titanium, Nitinol, Niobium, Copper and Tantalum Alloys. Our ability to roll light gauge strip in narrow widths and produce shaped wire products in hundreds of specialty alloys, positions us as a one-stop source for a wide variety of medical alloys.

Applications and Alloys:

Titanium

Implants, Neuro- Stimulators, Orthopedic Rods, Pins and Plates, Heart Valve Housings, Prosthetic Eyes, Surgical Instruments, Drills, Forceps, Retractors, Scissors and Needles

Niobium

Pacemakers

Tantalum

Bone Implants, Vascular Clips, Flexible Stents

Nitinol

Stents, Heart Valve Tools, Staples, Bone Anchors, Septal Defect Devices, Diagnostic Guide Wires, Arch Wires for Braces

Copper

Anti-germ Surfaces, Medical Electric Devices

The information from this post is from Todd Hall's article recently published article in Advanced Materials and Processes magazine September, 2011.

If you need material for a medical device or product, please contact Todd Hall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Todd can also be reached at 502-644-4722.

Todd's full article published in Advanced Materials and Processes, September 2011 and our Medical Metals Brochure are available here for download:

AttachmentSize
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ulbrichmedical3.pdf 806.04 KB
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3003 H14 and 5052 H32 Sheet: A Product Close-Up from Diversified Ulbrich of Canada

medium_aluminumsheetfinish.jpgAluminum sheet is used in a wide variety of applications for its light weight, corrosion resistance and good formability. Two of the most popular grades for commercial applications are 3003 and 5052.

3003 H14 is relatively low in cost and widely available, making it a common choice. It is a non-heat treatable aluminum alloy with moderate strength, excellent formability and good corrosion resistance. H14 signifies the temper. The “H1” portion of the “H14” designating the material was strain hardened (cold worked) and the “4” designates it is half-hard. The main alloying ingredient is manganese which makes it a good choice for spun, formed or stamped parts. It can be easily welded and typical applications for 3003 H14 include:

• Electrical Component Cabinets
• Marine Parts
• Truck, Trailer and Transport Parts
• Storage Tanks
• Doors, Window Frames, Siding and Trim
• Mailboxes
• Fan Blades

5052 H32 is also a non-heat treatable grade with good corrosion, forming and considerably higher strength than 3003 H14. The addition of magnesium makes it an ideal solution for saltwater applications. The “H3” portion of “H32” temper designates that the material is strain hardened (cold worked) and stabilized, while the “2” designates its quarter-hard temper. It can be easily welded and typical applications for 5052 H32 include:

• Trucks, Trailers and Transport Parts
• Marine Parts, Boats, Pontoons and Docks
• Tanks and Pressure Vessels
• Electronic Chassis

To purchase Aluminum Sheet in standard sizes and custom cut blanks please visit the Diversified Ulbrich of Canada Aluminum Sheet section of our website for more information:

Additional Links:

The Aluminum Association: http://www.aluminum.org/
International Aluminum Institute: http://www.world-aluminium.org/
ESABhttp://www.esabna.com/us/en/education/knowledge/qa/-Understanding-the-Aluminum-Alloy-Designation-System.cfm

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Chris Ulbrich Elected to CBIA Board of Directors

medium_Chris Ulbrich.pngChris Ulbrich, Chief Operating Officer of Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, Inc., has been elected to a four year term of CBIA’s Board of Directors. CBIA is the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, representing over 10,000 companies statewide on issues relating to policies promoting economic growth and regulatory issues. They are the leading voice at the State Capital for Connecticut businesses.

Chris has been an active member of CBIA for several years. Ulbrich’s Corporate Headquarters, Specialty Strip Mill, Ulbrich of New England Coil Service Center and Ulbrich Shaped Wire are located in the State.

If you would like more information about CBIA: http://www.cbia.com/newsroom.

If you would like more information about Ulbrich’s products and services: http://www.ulbrich.com

Information pertaining to CBIA was collected from http://www.cbia.com/3about/

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