10 Things You Need To Know About The Metal Tantalum

Tantalum is represented by the Ta symbol and has an atomic number of 73. The element itself is a lustrous grayish-blue colored, hard transition metal that is considered to be rare in the Earth’s crust. Tantalum was previously called tantalium, which originated from Tantalus, one of Greek mythology’s many heroes.

There is a great deal of interesting information about tantalum, but we’re going to start you off small, with 10 quickly absorbable tidbits.

1. Anders Ekeberg discovered tantalum in 1802 in Sweden. However, there was lots of confusion associated with this metal and it came under scrutiny multiple times. The most well known instances being when it was thought to actually be columbium, which Heinrich Rose proved wrong and when it was thought to be niobium. These issues were not put to rest until 1864, when Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand, Louis J.Troost and Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville proved the final unequivocal differences (this time between niobium and tantalum), thus determining that tantalus was its own element.

2. Tantalum wasn’t produced in metallic form until 1864, when De Marignac figured out that he could heat tantalum chloride in a hydrogen atmosphere to reduce it. In 1903, Werner von Bolton produced the first fairly pure and ductile tantalum metal.

3. Tantalum is extremely hard, dense, ductile and easily fabricated. It is also a great conductor of electricity and heat.

4. Tantalum is best known for its corrosion resistance to acids. In temperatures lower than 150 degrees Celsius, tantalum displays nearly complete immunity to aqua regia; however, it is capable of being dissolved by acidic solutions that contain sulfur trioxide and a fluoride ion.

5. It is estimated that tantalum is present in the Earth’s crust at a rate of 1 to 2 parts per million. Although there are several tantalum mineral species, very few are used as raw materials. Those minerals are: euxenite, microlite, polycrase, tantalite and wodginite.

6. The current largest producer of tantalum is Australia. The company, Global Advanced Metals, was formerly Talison Minerals and currently has two mines located in Western Australia.

7. Other producers of tantalum include: Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Mozambique and Thailand. However, there are other sources of tantalum that are currently being explored. Several of these new sources are located in the same countries as current mining areas, such as Australia, Brazil, China and Mozambique, but many additional countries are being carefully explored, including: Canada, Egypt, Finland, Greenland, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

8. Tantalum is used most frequently to produce electronic components. However, it is also used in the production of several alloys and superalloys.

9. Tantalum oxide is also used to create index glass with a high level of refraction to be used as camera lenses. In addition, it can be used in the parts of vacuum furnaces due to its oxidation resistance and higher melting point.

10. Tantalum is considered to be biocompatible and has been used to create coatings and body implants. There is one single reference that links tantalum to the creation of sarcomas locally, but that study includes a note that the study does not wish to imply that tantalum is a carcinogen.


How Is the CNC Spring Forming Machine Beneficial for Manufacturers?

The importance of the coiled metal spring has only been growing since its invention in the 18th century. Heavy duty coiled metal springs are popularly used in items ranging from shocks in bicycles to even instruments for the aerospace industry. Much of the world’s springs are made by the use of manually operated machines based on the engineering designs of the late 19th century. However, backed by several advantages, companies are increasingly shifting their preference towards the CNC spring forming machine.

What is the CNC spring forming machine?

CNC or Computerized Numeric Control is a technology where digital commands are interpreted by a physical machine so as to perform specific precision manufacturing function. Like the modern CNC based wire bending machine and the pipe bending machine, the spring forming machine has a set of mechanical arms with strong iron based components that can precisely bend metal wires to make springs, based on the set of CAD/CAM commands that are provided to a connected computer.

Cost efficiency guaranteed

Compared to traditional spring forming machines, the modern CNC spring forming machine can directly save the cost of labor and transportation. In traditional manufacturing settings, companies are often required to outsource the spring production to another producer. But with the entry of affordable CNC based spring bending machines in the market, many modern equipment manufacturers already produce spring within their own facilities. This has allowed manufacturers to not just make their supply chain leaner but also reduce the overall production cycles. With this innovation, individuals and businesses can even set up their own new spring manufacturing plant at drastically lower prices compared to the traditional settings, without even requiring the installation of expensive furnaces.

Option to mass customize

One of the biggest advantages of the CNC spring forming machine is the added ability to manufacture different varieties of springs with the same machine. In traditional settings, tedious changes have to be made so as to manufacture different variety of springs. But, with the CNC mass manufacturing, a mere change in the CAD/CAM command can easily allow the manufacturing of different diameter and size variants of springs as required along the next stages of production. In fact, the CNC spring forming machines can even exceed the capacity of production, compared to traditional settings.

Saving manufacturing and warehousing spaces

The modern CNC spring forming machine can be adjusted even in tight spaces to manufacture springs as and when required. The highly rapid and efficient production of springs means that companies don’t need to spend their resources on maintaining enormous warehousing spaces for the springs, in the manner they would need to do for traditional industries. Hence, with the host of advantages offered by CNC, an investment in the CNC spring forming machines is indeed justified.