The technology behind Conforma Clad dates back to the 1960’s, when researchers at Dupont Materials Laboratory discovered the newly invented Teflon® could be processed to fabricate a cloth. Different materials, such as tungsten carbide and braze alloys, could then be embedded into the cloth.
The use of this technology to fabricate a cloth loaded with tungsten carbide and to braze it onto steel substrates was developed by a start-up company in 1968. Composite Sciences, Inc. patented original formulations to produce tungsten carbide cloth and brazing it onto steel parts in 1970.
Gould purchased patent rights in 1980. In 1981, Imperial Clevite, Inc. purchased Gould Industrial Products Group and the first tungsten carbide clad parts were produced the following year in Salem, Indiana.
In 1983, Conforma Clad began developing solutions to protect twin-screw extruder barrels.
In 1984, a new plant opened in New Albany, Indiana, with dedicated production equipment and improved processes.
In 1985, Conforma Clad began developing clad radial bearings for use in mud-lubricated motors for oil and gas drilling. This technology has been cited as a critical breakthrough that made directional drilling economical.
In 1989, Conforma Clad became a separate division of The Pullman Company, operating as a tungsten carbide cladding provider to original equipment manufacturers and component suppliers.
The company expanded its scope of service in 1992, and transitioned from a coating services provider to offering full-service severe wear solutions with design, engineering and machining capabilities.
Throughout the 1990’s, Conforma Clad continued to refine tungsten carbide formulas, cloth applications and infiltration brazing processes.
In the mid-1990’s, Conforma Clad recognized the lack of premium wear protection for counter-rotating conical twin-screw extruder barrels and began developing aftermarket replacement extruder barrels. An alliance was later formed with Milacron to provide these barrels.
Significant investments were made in 2000 to consolidate production facilities and expand capacity. Conforma Clad began exploring additional markets and expanding business activities internationally.
In March 2004, Conforma Clad was purchased by Kennametal Inc., a premier tooling solutions supplier. The combination of Conforma Clad’s severe wear solutions expertise and Kennametal’s broad technological experience and worldwide operations enables Conforma Clad to deliver even more high-value solutions to more customers.