Harry Tian“We interact at a really high research level with our clients, and much of our material development is driven by the customer need for process improvement. Downtime is a huge issue, so these companies are always looking for better performance and less downtime,” Tian explains.
This interactive, need-based research has led to some amazing developments from Tian’s department. This is especially true for GIW’s phosphate and oil sands customers, whose harsh environments demand the best wear- and corrosion-wear-resistant materials available.
High research, high reward
One of the earlier materials-development examples by Tian and his team was the super-corrosion-erosion-resistant T-90G alloy, created for pumps servicing the phosphate and other industries for highly corrosive-erosive duties.
“In the phosphate industry, the pumps used to be made of stainless steel, but because the environment was so harsh, the customers were having to change out the parts every three months or so — not because the design and materials weren’t good, but because the application was so severe that no routine materials could serve better.”
GIW’s proprietary T-90G, when used in the same service and conditions, can improve a pump’s service life up to five times.
“It offers an excellent combination of corrosion and wear resistance,” Tian adds.
Another industry that demands cutting-edge materials is Canada’s oil sands. These customers experience extreme conditions that are very different from phosphate; instead of dealing with superfine particles, their pumps have to be able to handle a wide variety of materials ranging from sand to 5-inch and larger rocks. This led GIW to develop proprietary alloys, such as Endurasite®, and to explore other materials and surface-enhancement technologies, including a variety of coatings and cladding such as Enduraclad®, urethane and rubber elastomers, and ceramics and carbide composite structures.
“A pump is like a heart in a human body; without a pump, nothing in the process is going to move. It’s a critical part in the production process in the oil sands. Because of that, we have a lot of interaction with customers, hearing exactly where they want to see improvements. Materials is a big part of that, as we want to improve designs to suit their conditions.”
“These are just two examples of GIW’s service — we’re always improving the technology for customer needs,” Tian says.
GIW scientists like Tian relish the challenge of developing new ways to make our clients successful.
“My favorite part of my job is the challenge created by our customers — especially overcoming the uncertainty in applications; there’s so much variation and complexity in material behaviors across conditions,” Tian says. “I enjoy facing these challenges and finding solutions.”