PF Blog

Study Shows Gallium Nitride Almost as Durable as Diamonds

8. February 2017
Man explaining gallium nitride

Ph.D. candidate Guosong Zeng is part of a Lehigh research group that was the first to explore the wear resistance of gallium nitride. Their discovery could have a dramatic effect on the electronic and digital device industries.



Gallium nitride (GaN) has emerged as one of the most important and widely used semiconducting materials. Its optoelectronic and mechanical properties make it ideal for a variety of applications, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), high-temperature transistors, sensors and biocompatible electronic implants in humans.


In 2014, three Japanese scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering GaN’s critical role in generating blue LED light, which is required, in combination with red and green light, to produce white LED light sources.


Now, four Lehigh engineers have reported a previously unknown property for GaN: Its wear resistance approaches that of diamonds and promises to open up applications in touch screens, space vehicles and radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS), all of which require high-speed, high-vibration technology.


Read the story HERE

Reliable Plating Works, Elite Finishing Hold Plating Education Month in February

6. February 2017



Every Friday in February, Reliable Plating Works and Elite Finishing in Milwaukee hold their annual plating classes, which are open to all of their customers and are free.


"This class is set up to give you a good knowledge of our processes, an understanding of the cost drivers, consequences of design and material changes, functional and cosmetic capabilities and availability of new processes," Jaime Maliszewski says, an owner of RPW and Elite. "We start the class at 11 a.m. with a lunch and quick video that shows the entire plating process with a tank-by-tank description of what each tank is doing."


Customers are given a plant tour of the Elite Finishing facility, where the shop will be showing off its newly designed lab, followed by discussion on design, cost drivers, materials, processes and a show-and-tell session on issues that we have run into and the solutions.


"We welcome questions on potential projects that may need early input," he says. Classes fill up quickly and are limited to the first 20 attendees at each session.


For information on the shops, visit


Echo Engineering Celebrates 50th Anniversary

2. February 2017



Echo Engineering reached a milestone in 2016, celebrating its 50th anniversary, growing from the dreams of founder John Offenbacker to a business with multiple U.S. locations, serving customers worldwide.


Offenbacker established Echo in 1966 in a garage in California. Prospering in Silicon Valley, Echo was a design and development company providing masking services for tech companies such as Hewlett Packard and Intel. 


Since then, Echo moved its headquarters, changed its name and continued to provide a unique and educational experience for its customers. Now located in Indianapolis, Ind., Echo is led by CEO Kingdon Offenbacker, John Offenbacker’s son.


After becoming a market leader in high-temperature masking, Echo ventured into other technical arenas by customer demand.  Introducing engineered rubber and plastic components in 2004, Echo followed by launching plastic protective enclosures in 2012.  Today, Echo provides masking, hanging, protection, rubber, plastic and custom solutions ranging from small rubber grommets to large plastic enclosures to world-class organizations


“We do believe that we are unique and are continuing to change the standards and the expectations in the market,” said Kingdon Offenbacker, CEO. “I am so glad that our customers have realized that and are eager to partner with us to reach their goals and fulfill their needs.”


Echo has experienced double-digit growth year over year and has a 97 percent customer retention rate. Echo serves multiple industries around the globe, including aerospace, automotive, electronics, heavy machinery, fluid power, metal finishing, powersport and more.


Echo is thankful to reach this 50 year milestone. Even after all the success, Echo is just as focused on delivering a value to its customers that exceeds their expectations.


“We are so appreciative of our customers’ loyalty; our goal is to continue delivering value to help you be successful,” Offenbacker adds. “We want to continuously wake up every day and earn that. There’s nothing better than creating Peace of Mind for your customers. And that’s what we will strive every day to continue to do. We are so thankful for your partnership and trust throughout the years. We can’t wait to see where the next 50 take us!”

Metal Finisher Richard Taylor Passes at 100

31. January 2017

Bob Mueller expresses his best wishes to Dick Taylor on Tuesday during his 100th birthday celebration at Taylor Metal Products. Photo by Jason J. Molye of the Mansfield News Journal and used with permission.



Richard "Dick" Taylor, the 100-year-old president of Taylor Metal Products in Mansfield, Ohio died Jan. 4 at his home.


Products Finishing wrote about Taylor in 2016, as he was still working at his shop now run by his children.


Read more from our article HERE.

Modified Metals for Space Engineering Produced in Submilliseconds

27. January 2017


Maria Rygina and Professor Yuri Ivanov.



Scientists from Russia's Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) and the Institute of High Current Electronics, Siberian Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, have developed a method to apply wear-resistant coatings on metals, followed by fusing them into the substrate.


Such modified materials, through a combination of lightness, strength and corrosion resistance, can be used in mechanical engineering, aviation and space engineering. New materials are based on aluminum and silumin—an alloy of aluminum and silicon.


“These metals have low weight, good corrosion resistance. For use in air and space engineering, we only need to modify their strength and tribological properties: to improve hardness and wear resistance,” Maria Rygina says, a graduate student of the TPU Department of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies.


As coatings, polytechnicers use titanium, titanium nitride and silumin containing 25-percent silicon. The peculiarity of the developed method is that the coating is not deposited onto a substrate but fused into it by means of an intense pulsed electron beam. Experimental studies have shown that it resulted in almost six-fold improvement in the hardness of metal and three times the wear resistance.


World experts on materials science remark that the main challenge is now adhesion of the coating and the substrate. If the coating is simply deposited, then it can be easily removed. Foreign research teams are looking for a solution to this issue by forming multi-layer coatings. However, multi-layer deposition takes a long time.


"We offer fusing the coating in the substrate: this takes microseconds, and the adhesion is significantly improved,” says the project’s scientific head, Professor Yuri Ivanov, the TPU Department of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies.


To form coatings by such a method is possible due to specific electron-ion-plasma installations created by the scientists from IHCE SB RAS and TPU. As the developers say, the installations are unique and are supplied to Japan, China, Canada.


According to Maria Rygina, the modified metals can be used for manufacturing internal mechanisms’ parts in spacecrafts: It is those that are the most wearable. Currently this method is used in the production of woodworking tools and components for mechanical engineering.


For more information, visit





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