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Veterans Day

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a page about the history of Veterans Day in the United States. The armistice to end the fighting of World War I went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. As a result, we celebrate the veterans of our armed services each year on November 11th. At this time, Buffalo Tungsten would like to wish a happy Veterans Day to all who have served.

Unfortuantely, World War I was not the "war to end all wars," as many had hoped at the time. There have been many wars fought since then. As a result, it has been important to maintain our military to preserve our freedoms. Those who serve not only protect our nation, they also receive training that benefits their future career prospects.

At Buffalo Tungsten we encourage veterans to apply for job openings. We find that the skills they gain in military service help our company.

Reasons to Hire Veterans

The VA points out several reasons to hire veterans. The following ideas are from the VA:

  • Working well in a team. Teamwork is an essential part of daily life and is the foundation of safe military operations.
  • Having a sense of duty. Responsibility for job performance and accountability for completing missions are something to take pride in.
  • Experiencing self-confidence. Holding a realistic estimation of self and ability based on experiences.
  • Organization and discipline.
  • Possessing a strong work ethic. In the military, the mission always comes first.
  • Having the ability to follow through on assignments, even under difficult or stressful circumstances.
  • Possessing a variety of cross-functional skills, such as extensive training on computer programs and systems, interacting with various people with different skills to accomplish a task, and coordinating and troubleshooting problems in novel and known conditions.
  • Solving problems quickly and creatively.
  • Adapting to changing situations.
  • Able to follow rules and schedules.

On this Veterans Day Buffalo Tungsten is grateful to those who have served and currently serve in the armed forces of the United States. Without their service our company would not be able to operate ias we have for the past 34 years. We recognize and value the contribution of the US military on our ability to produce tungsten powder in a nation that is free. Our political and economic stability is a result of their dedication and service. We offer our thanks and well wishes for a happy Veterans Day to those who have earned that title of respect.

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Buffalo Tungsten LED Lighting Upgrade

Buffalo Tungsten has recently upgraded lighting in our factory to LED fixtures. The change saves a substantial amount of electricity. "LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs" according to a US Department of Energy information page on LED lighting. It has also made a noticeable difference in the brightness of our factory.

There is a bit of irony in a tungsten factory is making an LED lighting upgrade. One one of the most widely known applications of tungsten is as a filament for the incandescent lightbulb. Some of the history of tungsten in lighting is in this article from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. With the advent of LED lighting, the incandescent bulb is largely a thing of the past. General Electric closed their tungsten powder plant in Euclid, Ohio several years ago. For many years this plant made tungsten wire for the iconic GE light bulbs, which trace their roots back to Thomas Edison.

LED Lighting Upgrade More Efficient

This article from LED Lighting Info explains why the tungsten filament is inefficient. It states "around 90% of an incandescent bulb’s electricity supply is wasted as heat, with a measly 10% actually being used to create light. This is because the tungsten filament inside an incandescent bulb needs to be heated to around 4600 degrees Fahrenheit to produce light." It further goes on to explain that "when a 100-watt lamp is turned on, 100 watts of electrical energy is converted to 100 watts of light and heat. As incandescent bulbs are incredibly inefficient and have a luminous efficiency of 2-3%, this usually translates as 98 watts of heat and 2 watts of light."

The LED lighting upgrade also increases safety in our plant. Forklifts are easier to see as they move about the factory floor. Production equipment is easier to load and unload. It is easier to read tags and labels on our inventory, reducing eye strain.

While the tungsten powder market remains strong, it has shifted from lighting to other applications. With our transition to LED bulbs and fixtures complete, we sadly leave the tungsten filament behind.

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Tungsten Powder Supply

In a time of global supply chain delays, the stability of your tungsten powder supply is critical. Buffalo Tungsten has taken steps to make sure that we have the materials you need available without additional lead time. We manufacture our tungsten powder products in the USA with raw materials sourced worldwide.

Buffalo Tungsten is able to use multiple types of raw materials to help assure a consistent tungsten powder supply. Our joint venture chemical producer Niagara Refining can start with tungsten concentrates, scrap or sodium tungstate. Buffalo Tungsten can also start with intermediate products such as ammonium paratungstate and tungsten oxides. We have multiple suppliers of these materials. This ensures diversity in our supply chain so that we are not dependent on a single supplier. In addition to these steps, we have increased inventory to account for potential shipping delays.

As a result, there has been no interruption in our tungsten powder supply to our customers. We have been able to supply all of our powder products without delay throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have material available for existing customers and new customers alike.

Conflict Free Global Tungsten Supply Chain

The USA mines only trivial amounts of tungsten ore, so not all of our tungsten powder supply chain is domestic. As a result, we need to import raw materials from other countries. We receive materials from several continents.

Our supply chain contains only conflict free materials. Niagara Refining is a member of the Tungsten Industry - Conflict Minerals Council. Consequently, all of the materials we receive from them are from conflict free sources. Mines in conflict regions are subject to rigorous certification involving third party inspections.

If you are concerned about the availability of your tungsten powder supply, feel free to reach out to Buffalo Tungsten to see if we can offer the products you need. We would be happy to see if we can shorten your lead times and provide you with high quality tungsten powder products to meet your needs.

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Powdered Tungsten Particle Size Distribution

At Buffalo Tungsten we measure our powdered tungsten's particle size distribution (PSD) in multiple ways. The Malvern Mastersizer has been our choice as a laser diffraction instrument for the past 25 years because it provides consistently repeatable and reproducible results. We made a recent upgrade in order to provide us with improved technology and software. Our commitment to high quality powder is supported by having the best testing equipment available.

A description from Malvern's website describes measuring particle size distribution by laser diffraction, saying "It does this by measuring the intensity of light scattered as a laser beam passes through a dispersed particulate sample. This data is then analyzed to calculate the size of the particles that created the scattering pattern. Three main elements enable the system to consistently and reliably deliver the accurate, robust particle sizing data that is central to the effective operation of so many industrial processes."

The Feedback Loop

At Buffalo Tungsten, frequent samples during our production process provide regular feedback. We measure all of the critical properties of the material. The Malvern Mastersizer can run samples dry, which reduces the time for sample preparation. Therefore, we can get fast results, which is essential for quality assurance.

The software is on our network to give our production team access to the data. This allows them to adjust furnace conditions as necessary. Doing so allows us to maintain the proper particle size and distribution in our finished powders. The faster we are able to change furnace conditions, the better the quality of the finished powder.

Not all tungsten powder applications have specifications for particle size distribution. For some the average size is specified but the distribution is not important. Some of our customers require a narrow monomodal tungsten particle size distribution around the mean for their material. However, some tungsten powder applications require bimodal or even trimodal distributions. The Malvern Mastersizer plays an important part in helping us meet these specifications.

Buffalo Tungsten's powdered metallurgy lab provides a complete certificate of analysis with each shipment of material. This assures that the tungsten metal powders we ship meet all customer requirements.

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United States Geological Survey Tungsten Reports

The United States Geological Survey publishes statistics and information on tungsten. The monthly and annual tungsten reports contain a wealth of information on the tungsten market that can be found online at their website free of charge. They focus on the imports and exports of the United States, but contain additional information on the world tungsten market.

Mineral Industry Surveys are a monthly report that reflect the price of tungsten concentrates and the main tungsten intermediate ammonium paratungstate, or APT. The import and export data it reports both have the following headings, with the exception being that ferro-tungsten is not listed in the exports

Ores and Concentrates  Ammonium Tungstates Ferro-tungsten Metal Powder Tungsten Carbide Powder Other Total Total Year to Date

Annual Tungsten Reports

The Mineral Commodity Summaries provide a brief overview of the global tungsten market. It is an annual report with the following headings:

  • Domestic Production and Use
  • Salient Statistics—United States
  • Recycling
  • Import Sources
  • Tariff
  • Depletion Allowance
  • Government Stockpile
  • Events, Trends, and Issues
  • World Mine Production and Reserves
  • World Resources
  • Substitutes

The Minerals Yearbook provides a more comprehensive annual report on the tungsten market. It has additional detail on things such as a world review of tungsten mining projects in numerous countries throughout the world. Additional tables on world tungsten production and usage is good background knowledge about markets on the world stage. Buffalo Tungsten and Niagara Refining are both reported as US processors of tungsten. The headings included in the report are:

  • Legislation and Government Programs
  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Prices
  • Foreign Trade
  • World Review
  • Outlook

There are also some Special Publications that are of interest. Some of this information is a bit more dated, but it can be useful as background and provide historical information.

The Special Publications include things like

Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States

International Strategic Mineral Issues Summary Report - Tungsten

Those at the USGS over the mineral tungsten are some of the world's leading experts on the tungsten market. Please take advantage of their hard work as you learn more about the tungsten industry. While the tungsten reports are geared to the United States market, they have information that is helpful to a broad audience.

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International Tungsten Market

Tungsten trades in a global marketplace. There are mines and smelters in locations across the world. Shipping containers transport powders and sintered parts from the Americas to Europe and Asia and vice versa. The international tungsten market is growing because of the strategic importance of tungsten.

China has been the dominant source of tungsten materials for many years. Delays with ocean going containers have caused disruption in supply chains this year, with longer lead times to transport material. As a result resources outside of China are increasing in importance.

The International tungsten market has seen a significant increase in prices this year. This is bringing renewed interest in exploration for tungsten resources. Tungsten mines that have not been operating for years have also seen recent investment.

International Website Visitors

Our website has had visitors from over 100 countries this year, showing the global impact of this metal. Most of our visitors still come from the United States. We have also have visits from Algeria and Argentina to Slovakia and Slovenia and many points in between. With people from the six inhabited continents visiting our site there is interest in tungsten from all parts of the globe. The international tungsten market is expanding outside of traditional markets to smaller and less developed nations.

Some of the keywords that lead people to our website also come as a surprise. Most come looking for tungsten powder to use in various pressing and sintering applications. We also have people looking up how to find tungsten ore in the Last Day on Earth video game. Without knowing anything about the game it shows an acceptance of tungsten as an essential material.

As a manufacturer and supplier in the international tungsten market, Buffalo Tungsten stays up to date on changes all over the world. A flood or early winter in one country can have an impact on the tungsten market all over the world.

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Tungsten Powder Supplier

As a major tungsten powder supplier, we strive to put the needs of our customers first. As a manufacturer as well as a supplier we are able to customize our powders to meet your needs. We reduce tungsten powder in our own furnaces, allowing us to control the attributes and quality of the powders we produce. If we know the properties you need we can develop a material that is optimized to your process and equipment.

Having a supplier who actually produces the product helps to assure that you get products that meet your specifications. We measure and test all of the tungsten powders in our own lab, making sure that the physical and chemical properties meet all customer requirements.

Buffalo Tungsten is a tungsten powder supplier for customers of all sizes. We can start with initial sample quantities for testing and move up to shipping full truckloads or containers as your needs increase. Whether you need 10 pounds of tungsten a year or 10,000 pounds, your business is important to us. We are a family owned and operated business, and we think of our customers as a part of our family.

Supplier Considerations

Some of the areas we focus on to maintain a position as one of the world's leading global tungsten powder manufacturers and suppliers are:

Quality - Our powders meet the highest standards of purity and consistency. Quality assurance is important throughout our entire process.

Customization - You don't need to order powder from a data sheet, finding what best fits your needs from the available options. We are a tungsten powder supplier who can custom produce powders to meet your standards for

  • particle size
  • particle size distribution
  • mesh analysis
  • apparent density
  • tap density
  • chemical purity
  • alloy composition
  • other customer requirements

Packaging - As a tungsten powder supplier we understand that our powders have a high density. We can pack your materials in small containers so you can lift them by hand. However, some customers have small warehouses and want their powder in large steel drums that require a machine to lift.

Lead Time - We stock the powder that our regular customers use, so we are often able to ship within 24 hours of receiving an order. As your regular tungsten powder supplier we will work with you to have your forecasted materials in inventory for fast shipment.

Cost - We maintain a low overhead to keep prices down. We control the costs of raw materials through strategic agreements with key suppliers. Preventive maintenance keeps our equipment running amoothly to avoid costly repairs.

Putting the needs of customers first has helped Buffalo Tungsten become a leading global tungsten powder supplier. We are always striving to improve our products and customer service to maintain our position.

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Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! This national holiday has special meaning to all of our customers, suppliers and employees in the United States. To observe the holiday, our office will not be open on Monday, July 5. The concept of independence has meaning to our business for a few reasons.

First, we consider ourselves to be an independent tungsten powder producer. This is because we do not use our material to make finished parts. All of the powders we produce go into the products that our customers make. If we were making the same products that our customers do, we might want to keep the best powder blends for our own use. Our independence allows us to supply the very best materials to our customers without any conflict of interest.

Second, over the past decade we have built a chemical plant so that we can have independence in our supply of raw materials. We can purchase a wide variety of materials, allowing us flexibility in our sourcing. Some of the common options we have are

  • tungsten scrap (hard scrap, compounding scrap)
  • tungsten ores and concentrates (wolframite or scheelite)
  • sodium tungstate
  • ammonium paratungstate (APT)
  • tungsten oxides (BTO or YTO)

This independence on raw materials allows us to purchase from many different sources. If one raw material becomes scarce we can purchase others to meet our needs and maintain supply to our customers.

4th of July Independence Day

Third, our products are reduced to tungsten powder in America. Independence Day celebrates the freedoms that we enjoy. The rule of law governs business transactions as a protection to both buyer and seller. There is a feeling of safety and security that allows us to focus on our business operations without fear. We are free to conduct business operations without undue government control.

The 4th of July holiday celebrates the political independence of the United States from England. At Buffalo Tungsten we had a cookout with hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch today to celebrate this. In addition, we can also celebrate the types of independence that allow us to be a successful company. We are grateful to able to supply our customers with high quality tungsten powder products from the peace and prosperity of a free nation.

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Powdered Tungsten Materials

Buffalo Tungsten has a sole focus on powdered tungsten materials. We don't make finished tungsten products by sintering, compounding or additive manufacturing. We just make the tungsten raw materials that our customers use in their products.

This focus allows us to concentrate all of our efforts on improving the quality as well as the properties of our powdered tungsten materials. We refine our production parameters regularly to optimize our powders.

Types of Powdered Tungsten Materials

Our materials are classified by material composition. Although powdered tungsten is the basis, a number of materials derive from pure tungsten powder. They have unique properties that make them suitable for different applications.

To illustrate, here are the main categories of powders that we produce:

Pure Tungsten Powder - We start with tungsten oxide that undergoes hydrogen reduction in furnaces to become pure tungsten powder. This material is over 99.9% pure tungsten, with our ultra high purity powders reaching five nines at 99.999% pure.

Tungsten Carbide Powder - This is a blend of pure tungsten powder and carbon powder that runs through furnaces at high temperatures to create WC powder.

Engineered Powder - Alloys such as iron (Fe), nickel (Ni) and copper (Cu) blend with pure tungsten powder to achieve special properties in finished products. Our matrix powders are used in infiltration applications and our co-reduced powders are used in heavy metal.

Thermal Spray Powder - These surface coating powders create a protective coating with especially high density and hardness. Various compositions of tungsten carbide (WC) with cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni) provide excellent wear properties as well as oxidation and corrosion resistance.

Our materials are all made to meet custom specifications according to customer need. They come in various particle sizes and distributions. In addition, we crush solid tungsten and tungsten carbide materials to produce granular tungsten in various mesh sizes. Our products can also vary in chemical composition.

To summarize, this video slideshow provides an overview of our company and our custom powdered tungsten materials.

https://youtu.be/D-y4zWvk6vY

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Buffalo Tungsten Uses Clean Energy

With four of the five Great Lakes draining into the Niagara River, over 750,000 gallons of water flow over the Niagara Falls every second! This enormous volume of water generates large amounts of hydroelectric power. In this case, the Niagara Falls State Park's website says the mighty Niagara is capable of producing four million kilowatts of electricity. Buffalo Tungsten uses clean energy generated at the Niagara Power Project to power our equipment to produce tungsten powder.

Clean Energy from Niagara Power Project

The New York Power Authority reserves a portion of the hydroelectric power produced at the plant for local economic development. For example, the Western New York Hydropower initiative offers Expansion and Replacement Power for companies within 30 miles of the Niagara Project. This renewable energy is one of the reasons that Buffalo Tungsten selected Western New York to build our plant. It has also allowed us to expand and provide additional jobs in the area.

Clean Energy

Climate change was not at the top of many people's minds in 1986 when we purchased our site. As many companies find it difficult to transition to clean energy we see increasing value in our initial strategic decision to be in close proximity to a major source of renewable electricity. As a tungsten powder producer Buffalo Tungsten manufactures many materials that are non-toxic and also safe for the environment. Using clean energy is consistent with our eco-friendly product line.

Another environmentally friendly aspect of our company is that we release oxygen into the atmosphere. We generate hydrogen and oxygen gas from water through electrolysis (2 H2O -> 2 H2 + O2). Buffalo Tungsten uses the resulting hydrogen gas (H2) in the reduction of tungsten oxide. We release much of the oxygen gas (O2) into the atmosphere.

Buffalo Tungsten uses clean energy and plans to continue doing so well into the future.

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