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A Ball Point Pen Not Allowed ?????

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  • A Ball Point Pen Not Allowed ?????

    I was watching CNBC this evening, there was an interview going on at a titanium factory / foundry in Ohio............ most of their contract work is for the department of defense, air craft etc. it was mentioned, and I think many people were surprised to hear this, that ball point pens are not allowed in the plant, here is the kicker....... because there is a chance that the pen may contaminate the titanium.
    Unbelievable........... well as most of us guys know ball point pen balls are usually tungsten........ as small as they are, and any of us that TIG weld aluminum know what happens if you dip your tungsten in the weld pool.
    I guess the same idea applies at the plant. But a tungsten ball from a pen in a foundry is like a spit in the ocean.

    JL.................

  • #2
    I wonder how much it would cost if a small tungsten inclusion were to destroy the cutting tool of of a machine making a large and complex part from solid titanium?
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    • #3
      It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

      Perhaps the same thought?

      Thomas

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      • #4
        Policies like that are not uncommon. There is a pulp mill 75 miles north of here where I used to service equipment for many years. They make photographic grade pulp and it is a strict rule that no disposable plastic item are allowed in the mill. That includes styrofoam peanuts, cups and plastic stir sticks. Just a few plastic peanuts can destroy many tonnes of pulp if they get into the head end of the line where the wood chips are cooked and mechanically shredded. The trees that are used to make the pulp must never be handled with synthetic ropes, only steel cable or natural fibre ropes.
        Last edited by Evan; 11-16-2011, 08:34 PM.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          Years ago we had a fleet of Ford trucks and were experiancing brakes pulling badly to one side, that bad that on the brake rollers the poundage was down a few hundred pounds compared to the other side.
          We tried all sorts, even swapping drums and linings from vehicle to vehicle to try to match them up.

          Eventually Fords admitted that a batch of drums had trace levels of titanium in the castings. Mind you took them ages to do so and they never paid any down time.
          .

          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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          • #6
            Originally posted by Evan
            Policies like that are not uncommon.
            One ink company we used to deal with confiscated mobile phones when you entered, they were worried about the camera's.

            Nothing secret in the place but many of the machines had photo sensitive switches and a flash going off would stop a machine and the ink started drying.

            We could take camera's in and take pictures of setups provided we were accompanied and proved to them outside the flash was disabled or got them to take pictures on our memory stick.

            Definitely no on site welding
            .

            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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            • #7
              Bring lead into a ZAMAK foundry and see what happens.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by madmec
                It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

                Perhaps the same thought?

                Thomas

                I heard that 40 years ago concerning the aircraft I worked on in the Navy. I was told that graphite in the afterburner could cause the afterburner to crack. Seemed kinda strange to me, as the afterburners always had a layer of soot from the jet fuel on the inside.

                About cameras, many of the automakers and auto parts suppliers confiscate cameras and camera phones while we visit their facilities. Paranoid, but for good reason.
                Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by madmec
                  It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

                  Perhaps the same thought?

                  Thomas

                  When I worked on a rocket engine test stand in my former life, we were not permitted to use pencils either. The liquid oxygen ducting on the engines were stainless steel. Apparently they could be damaged by carbon markings once they were chilled down to something like -297 degrees F.

                  We also used brass and bronze wrenches to prevent sparking and static electricity or so we were told.

                  .
                  Last edited by gnm109; 11-16-2011, 10:04 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Company in town finishes and paints medical equipment cases and enclosures.The paint line is off limits to anyone wearing Cologne or Perfume.Something in it,IIRC the Alcohol screws up the paint.
                    I just need one more tool,just one!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tony Ennis
                      Bring lead into a ZAMAK foundry and see what happens.
                      Used to be they LOVED lead....... sure made the material flow nicely. As with Atlas castings......

                      Corrosion? Won't happen for 25 or 30 years..... by then all these machines will be long scrapped.............
                      1601

                      Keep eye on ball.
                      Hashim Khan

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                      • #12
                        I was once told by a General Motors engineer that they had been having trouble with small paint defects on some parts, limited to one particular assembly line, but only on a monthly basis. After much investigation, they traced it to fingerprints left by one female employee . During her " time of the month" , her body chemistry changed markedly, and her fingers left a chemical that caused the paint imperfections. Requiring everyone to wear gloves solved the problem. Going a bit off subject, GM also once had problems with some Corvettes at the Bowling Green assembly plant. As I recall, it involved the ZR-1 engines of some years ago . Some of the engines ( actually assembled by Mercury Marine) were showing lubrication related damage at low miles after being sold. The problem was traced to a female employee who started the Corvettes in an outdoor holding area, and drove them to the loading area. During the winter months, the employee would rev up the cold engines excessively before moving them, and thus do the internal damage while the car was still at the factory.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John Stevenson
                          One ink company we used to deal with confiscated mobile phones when you entered, they were worried about the camera's.
                          Lot of places used to be like that around here too like intel. But they seem to have gotten over it now that all phones have cameras and there has been no real issues that I know of. Plus it is probably no too hard to trace a picture back to a person and violating non-disclosure agreements will get you in big trouble.

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                          • #14
                            Graphite pencil should not be used to mark any type of alloy that will be used in a critical application. The reason is that the graphite provides a conductive path along the mark. That path will absorb moisture and connect tiny crystals of the alloy metals. It will produce galvanic intergranular corrosion along the pencil line, possibly resulting in a crack. The FAA prohibits the use of pencil marking on all types of aircraft alloys. That also applies to using powder graphite lubricants.

                            The carbon soot that forms from combustion is a combination of pure carbon and unburned hydrocarbons. It isn't hydrophilic so it doesn't attract moisture and doesn't promote corrosion.

                            I should point out that soot and graphite are allotropes of carbon and have different properties.
                            Last edited by Evan; 11-16-2011, 10:43 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Norfolk Naval Shipyard had a requirement, still on the books, that any cell phone could not have a capability of taking pictures. The instruction directed to "drill out with 1/2" drill" the lens!

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