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History of Pratt & Whitney – HMI Metal Powders


Surprising as it may seem, the world's premier supplier of superalloy powder had its beginnings in the pastoral setting of upstate New York's historic "leatherstocking" region.

HMI was incorporated in 1965 by inventor and entrepreneur Joseph M. Wentzell. Initially, Wentzell built a small pilot plant in the village of Chadwicks in Central New York, where he worked for several years developing his process. By 1969, HMI was ready to expand its operations, and the company moved to a larger facility in the nearby town of Herkimer, NY.

The following year - 1970 - Pratt & Whitney Aircraft approved HMI as a superalloy powder vendor for certain engine parts. Production capacity expanded again when United Technologies acquired the company in 1975, and capacity continued to grow in subsequent years as demand for high-quality superalloy increased from military engine manufacturers.

In 1980, HMI acquired its current location in Clayville, NY, converting what was originally a knitting mill into a state-of-the-art production facility. Operations were consolidated at the Clayville plant in 1983, and today HMI is the world’s leading supplier of superalloy powder.

In November 2006 the company changed its name to Pratt & Whitney - HMI Metal Powders.  By adopting the Pratt & Whitney logo HMI can more clearly identify itself as a Pratt & Whitney business unit. The company will use the familiar Pratt & Whitney logo. HMI has been an operating location of Pratt & Whitney for more than 30 years. HMI is in the value streams of more than a dozen parts centers, module centers and service locations.

Significant Highlights:

October 2008
Atomization Tower Replacement..  After 28 years of use, the old atomization tower was replaced.  The building roof was removed and the old tower extracted by a crane capable of reaching 450 feet with lifting capacity 600 tons, all sitting on eight axles.  The project was in the planning stages for better than a year to coordinate production without impacting any deliveries.  Manufacturing coordination was done over six months working alternate shifts to cover production for the one month shutdown.  The project was completed on time and within budget. 

HMI makes first plasma shipment for the Additive Manufacturing process that will be used to make 3D components

33% Atomization Capacity Improvement Project
The multi-year project entailed 3 phases, first the upgrade of the analog controls to a PLC allowing real-time data to be processed simultaneously on both furnaces.  The second phase included design and testing of furnace which enabled the furnaces to hold vacuum level while be moved in and out of position.  Lastly, the atomization process had to be revised, tested and qualified prior to being released into production.  As a result, HMI increased its powder making capacity by 33% through process ingenuity and very little capital investment.

 “Visual Factory”.  Signage was updated and a “welcome center” was created to tell HMI’s process story to visitors.  We modernized company display areas with product flow and process flow diagrams.


  • Recertified as an OSHA VPP Star Status earned in 2000 and has been assessed successfully every 5 years, achieving its latest certification in Spring 2014
  • Certified as an ACE Gold Site
  • A Mechanical Cooling System was installed and commissioned.  This stand-alone system allowed the site to cut its dependency on a local stream, decreasing water usage requirements by nearly 200 million gallons per year and thereby reducing the facility’s environmental footprint.  Another significant benefit of this system was increased process controls which eliminated the seasonal effect of the stream condition.

HMI End products are:  

  • Aerospace Grade Nickel Superalloy billet:   INCONEL100 and other proprietary alloys
    • Structural billet used to manufacture rotors, shafts, air seals, covers and other hardware
  • Plasma spray coatings for thermal barrier, bond coatings, abradable seals and other spray coating applications
    • Thermal spray coatings base materials (nickel, cobalt and iron)
  • Additive Manufacturing Powders:  IN625; IN718 and other proprietary alloys