A Reputation Forged in Quality
Patriot Forge is the largest open die forger in Canada, with a reputation for quality forgings that spans the globe. Headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, with additional plants in Paris, Ontario and Canton, Ohio, this is a full-service firm that creates products of the highest quality, backed by exceptional service and support, at a competitive price.
Patriot Forge takes pride in supplying quality open-die forgings and seamless rolled ring components to the power generation, nuclear power, heavy machinery, petrochemical, oil and gas, industrial equipment manufacturing, aerospace and military industries around the world.
The company can produce forgings – to specification – from five to 50,000 pounds. Its rough machining capabilities for all shapes including rings, discs, bars, squares, flats, complex shapes, step-shafts and spindles, as well as select finished machining capabilities.
“We’re in the process of basically doing a massive expansion to our capabilities,” said Rob Dimitrieff, President of Patriot Forge. “They’re not online yet, but we’re in the final stages of our capital project to bring on a 5,000-ton press and a 250-ton co-axle ring rolling machine, and that will allow us to make parts that have a starting weight of up to 100,000 pounds.”
Backing this range is an extensive network that gives Patriot Forge and its customers access to raw materials of the highest quality. The company works in standard carbon, stainless, alloy, duplex and super duplex steels, as well as a variety of industry-specific and proprietary grades.
Additionally, through its sister company Patriot Special Metals Inc. in Ohio, it supplies Vacuum Arc Remelt (VAR) and Electro Slag Remelt (ESR) ingots, billets and bars. These processes refine the original cast structure of steels and alloys to remove non-metallic inclusions. The resulting finer grain structure has improved mechanical properties, meaning that the final product will be stronger and more durable.
Forging creates products of greater strength, with fewer defects and more predictability and uniformity compared to cast metal items. The company has the experience necessary to satisfy any customer’s specifications in a reliable and economical way. Patriot Forge has exceptional value in its materials and its engineering and production processes.
“We differentiate ourselves in that we focus specifically on providing customers with process material that meets their very high and sometimes extremely specialized technical specifications for metallurgical and mechanical properties,” said Dimitrieff.
In open die forging, heated metal parts are shaped between two dies, but not completely confined by them. The bottom die is attached to an anvil or hammer and the upper die is attached to a ram that hammers the hot metal into shape.
“Open die forgings are a particular niche in the steel sector, in the sense that they’re really used in applications where you need to have a high reliability, either because you have really expensive operations, and the failure of a component could be incredibly expensive from a downtime perspective, or in other cases, sometimes both cases, you have the fear of catastrophic loss of life,” Dimitrieff explained.
One such situation is the potential failure of an extracting arm used in drilling and exploration. A failure of this component would be detrimental in both terms of costs from downtime and the potential risks to human safety.
Landing gear used by heavy jets must also be failure resistant. Patriot Forge is qualified to make landing gear for OEMs such as Airbus and Boeing and understands how important it is for these components to operate reliably. Its output is always of the highest quality and surpasses what is required.
“Open die forging is not used in a mass production environment,” Dimitrieff acknowledged. “It’s used for components that are made [as] either one-offs or in very small runs. So, we might make a few hundred of something at a time, if there is enough demand for it, but that would be a very large order for us versus making a single part that weighs 50,000 pounds.”
It is the diverse range of products and services that has enabled the firm to remain competitive, despite relying heavily on the currently slumping oil and gas industry. Diversification and investment in capacity have been major points of focus as the company has grown.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort investing over the last two decades in not only additional capacity and forging equipment but also using state-of-the-art software that allows for the simulation of the forging and heat treating process, being able to forecast and predict the potential outcome and therefore ability to achieve the engineered requirements, before we actually start the process,” Dimitrieff explained.
The company provides world-class metallurgical and process engineering support. Quality is assured through AS9100C/ISO 9001:2008 certified processes and it is fully compliant with the requirements of ASME SECTION III NCA3800.
Its facilities are equipped with extensive forging equipment, machining and heat treating capabilities. With its two new services, the 5,000-ton press and 250-ton co-axle ring rolling machine, Patriot Forge continues to extend its market reach.
Materials, people and process are keys to the company’s success, but it also invests heavily in its people. It boasts a strong engineering team, metallurgical specialists and a well-trained production team. Patriot Forge has a strong in-house training program that helps to reinforce quality and safety in its operations.
“We do a very good job of running an in-house training program that we call Metallurgy 101 which is about bringing both our sales people and our production people up to speed with understanding, at a very basic level, the material science that is underlying the fundamentals of what we are selling,” Dimitrieff said.
Steel made in North America contains a minimum twenty-eight percent recycled material. By using an electric arc furnace for its steel production, Patriot Forge can save the equivalent amount of energy required to fuel 18 million households, each year. For each ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 120 pounds of limestone and 1400 pounds of coal are conserved.
The fact that its parts are both made from recycled material and recyclable is only scratching the surface when it comes to the company’s environmental commitment. Patriot Forge has reduced the amount of office waste and continues to identify ways in which further conservation can be undertaken.
Dimitrieff has an interest in harvesting the waste heat from its processes to promote energy efficiency in its operations. “The ability to harvest that waste to either make electricity or to somehow use the heat for other purposes might reduce the amount of waste energy that is dumped into the stacks. We haven’t gotten very far with that,” he noted, but it is definitely in the future.
In addition to caring for the needs of its customers and the environment, the company contributes to the community in a number of ways. Patriot Forge employees volunteer, coach local sports teams and raise funds and support for community events and efforts such as Hockey Night in Brantford, a very popular event that is held each year by the local Member of Parliament.
The company also supports local education and training programs, such as the engineering program at McMaster University in nearby Hamilton, Ontario. It mentors as well as offering a bursary. The production plant also has summer employment opportunities, summer work experiences, co-ops and apprenticeships for high-school and college students.
For Patriot Forge, finding future success will entail doing much of the same: striving for continuous improvement while employing quality materials, people and processes to ensure top-notch output.
Dimitrieff is focused on maintaining growth. “I plan to see the capital expansion come online in the next few months. We’re actively trying to grow the business and expand the customers that we can serve by being able to provide them with larger parts or parts made of tougher alloys that can be improved with our existing forging equipment, entering new markets that have to this point been out of our capacity.”
The company has been able to maintain competitiveness in the wake of the collapse of the oil and gas sector thanks to its highly diverse capabilities and consistent delivery of quality. Patriot Forge and many other Ontario-based manufacturers are concerned for the future, with rising electricity costs and changing policies that may limit their competitiveness in the market.
“We think that it could have some impact on our ability to be competitive with other jurisdictions so we are going to have to look at ways to mitigate that through an informed conscious and looking at how we can be more energy efficient,” Dimitrieff concluded. He said that smart capital investments will have a healthy return and will further forge a path for Patriot Forge to remain on top.