While at the ALUMINIUM USA trade show in Detroit, Michigan, in November 2015, Light Metal Age had the opportunity to interview a number of notable members of the aluminum industry. The eighth interview in the series—conducted by Ann Marie Fellom, publisher—presents Nigel Blackmore, sales manager for Hatch IAS (Industrial Automation Services) in Aliquippa, PA office.
If Davy Loewy is a familiar name to you, then you must know something about the history of the aluminum rolling mill industry and can probably recognize some of the companies that Nigel has worked for. He began his career as an apprentice at Davy-Loewy at Loewy Robertson Engineering in 1976 in the south of England. The company was very well known as a major producer of rolling and process lines for the aluminum (and steel) industries. He was involved in the commissioning of shape systems and shape rolls and spray bar technology. From there he moved to the U.S. to work at Davy McKee (Poole), Mannesmann Demag, Danieli Wean, and ultimately for Hatch Associates. Nigel has seen a great evolution in mill achievements though his time at these companies, especially involving sensor technology. What originally began as mills for can making has switched emphasis to mills for producing automotive sheet. According to Nigel, the main mill advances have involved improvements in surface quality, gauge tolerance, and flatness replying upon sensors for measurement with advanced automation and control systems.
Hatch IAS has particularly been at the front end of studies to evaluate a customer’s mill performance, consulting, or in providing education and training to help mill engineers better understand the process leading to better mill performance. The company annually offers the International Rolling Technology Course (IRTC); a week-long course held in an off-site location, focused on rolling using mill simulation models, which has proven to be a big success. Nigel describes his career path and current company’s activities.
(Please pardon the few instances of sound inconsistencies.)