SECO/WARWICK: supplier of industrial equipment and devices for heat treatment of metals

SECO/WARWICK: supplier of industrial equipment and devices for heat treatment of metals


Over the course of 25 years, the company has transformed from a two-person company named TransVac, producing transformers for vacuum furnaces, into a globally operating company with branches in China, India, the United States, Germany, Russia, Brazil, and France.

The deployment of 3,500 solutions and ongoing innovations developed by the SECO/WARWICK team are also good reasons to celebrate. In its second quarter-century of operation, the company is entering with new ideas such as the UniCaseMaster technology and solutions for the production of the increasingly popular graphene. So, more productive years are on the horizon.

Today, the Polish company SECO/WARWICK Europe has around 500 employees who, along with service and sales subsidiaries in Germany, France, Russia, Belarus, and a new business entity – SECO/WARWICK Services (SWS) – are responsible for business in the European market. “The largest group of employees is concentrated in Świebodzin, where 25 years ago the heart of SECO/WARWICK started,” said Paweł Wyrzykowski, the group’s president. “Most of the nearly five hundred-person team consists of qualified engineers, specialists in automation and robotics, metallurgy, materials science, machine construction, electronics, and electrical engineering.”

SECO/WARWICK is a supplier of industrial equipment and heat treatment metal processing devices. The company’s activities include the production of five main product groups: vacuum furnaces, lines for soldering aluminum heat exchangers, aluminum heat treatment lines, atmospheric furnaces, and melting furnaces. SECO/WARWICK products are sold in 70 countries, with major customers in the automotive, aerospace, energy, machinery, tool, and aluminum metallurgy industries, including many well-known global corporations.

When asked about the largest contract, the president recalls the one signed in 2015 with a French metallurgical conglomerate: ‘This company is building the first European plant for recycling and refining titanium alloys for aviation applications. For this customer, we are creating solutions that will make this unit a European source of titanium – a strategic material for aviation applications as an alternative to American and Russian sources. Almost all the equipment for this newly built factory is manufactured in our Świebodzin facility’.”

Innovations as a Path to Success

In 2015, the “Rzeczpospolita” newspaper placed SECO/WARWICK among the top ten most innovative Polish companies. The company holds the first place in the ranking of innovative companies in the Lubusz Voivodeship. Innovation is made possible by expenditures on research and development (PLN 14.232 million in 2014) and a high level of employment in the R&D department. This year, SECO/WARWICK received nominations for the titles of Innovation Symbol 2016 (from the publisher of “Monitor Rynkowy” and “Monitor Biznesu”) and Polish Innovation Award 2016 (from the Polish Agency for Enterprise and the editorial board of Forum Przedsiębiorczości in “Gazeta Prawna” and Biznes Plus in “Gazeta Wyborcza”).

The number of implemented innovations certainly distinguishes the company from its competitors. As the president of SECO/WARWICK says, “The company does not compete on price, but with the latest heat treatment technologies, hence significant investments in research and development and new technologies. This brings tangible results in the form of a competitive advantage in demanding markets where we have to compete. An example of new solutions is the metallurgical atomization technology, which allows the production of non-ferrous metal powders.”

Last year, they introduced UniCaseMaster to the market, which will certainly change automotive technologies.

UniCase Master (UCM) is set to challenge existing technologies and mass production devices. Traditional surface hardening of steel parts through carburizing is the most commonly used heat treatment technology for mass-producing drive components such as gears, shafts, rings, bearings, and more. This technological process improves surface hardness and wear resistance while preserving a ductile core, which is the most important characteristic of motion transmission components.

“Traditional surface hardening is a process characterized by low precision and accuracy, leading to significant variations in process results and significant deformations. Tradition must, therefore, contend with the latest quality, production, and environmental protection requirements. This is where the new approach to continuous heat treatment of gears, bearing rings, etc. comes in – UCM, which ensures high precision and repeatability of results thanks to the serial processing of individual parts (single-piece flow),” explains Paweł Wyrzykowski.

“UniCase Master minimizes the annoying hardening deformations by using a chamber designed for individual parts equipped with a circumferential, nozzle cooling system in a gas with simultaneous part rotation – 4D Quenching. Traditional processing methods result in unpredictable hardening deformations on parts that need to be corrected. In the UniCase Master solution, each part not only undergoes the same path but, importantly, is treated individually.”


This solution was created with modern, continuous production (in-line), automation, and single-component flow in mind. Therefore, it will be suitable for the automotive industry where process repeatability is essential.

New Applications for Graphene

Recently, the company has been working on graphene, which has applications in various industries. In collaboration with the Lodz University of Technology as part of a national program supporting research and development in the use of graphene, they are executing a project called “Graphene Nano-Composite for Reversible Hydrogen Storage” (GRAPH ROLL). Its principles were presented at the recent Graphene Week in Warsaw, an annual conference organized by the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in cooperation with the University of Warsaw, aimed at advancing scientific research on the use of graphene and other two-dimensional materials in various fields. As part of the GRAPH ROLL project, SECO/WARWICK has developed, designed, and created a prototype production line for graphene. Based on research conducted by Lodz University of Technology, the graphene obtained using SECO/WARWICK SuperCarb technology is a product with properties close to theoretical values, significantly expanding its range of applications.

As President Wyrzykowski mentioned, the technology for producing functional nanocomposite material GRAPH ROLL will revolutionize the automotive industry in the near future. This material allows for the safe storage of large amounts of hydrogen used to power experimental cars of the future. Scientists have been grappling with the problem of safely and practically storing hydrogen in a car’s tank for years.

“The technology developed by Professor Piotr Kula from Lodz University of Technology, who has been researching the use of hydrogen as a fuel since the early 1970s, combined with advanced heat treatment processes by SECO/WARWICK, has resulted in the creation of a form of graphene unprecedented anywhere else in the world, allowing for the safe storage and use of hydrogen in a special container consisting of thin graphene layers,” explains Paweł Wyrzykowski. “Graphene development is taking place in two directions. On the one hand, scientists are trying to implement it in various fields of medicine, industry, and science. On the other hand, manufacturing companies are trying to create technologies that simplify and reduce the cost of its production. SECO/WARWICK has not only reduced costs through the use of the latest heat treatment technologies but has also created a new quality of graphene that is unavailable anywhere else in the world.”

Graphene produced using SECO/WARWICK equipment could be used in industries such as electronics, energy, and photovoltaics in a few years.

The company has thus succeeded in expanding the practical spectrum of graphene use, and the president of SECO/WARWICK assures that the company has not yet had the final say on this matter.

Bartosz Klinowski, President of SECO/WARWICK Europe, explains: “There are two basic directions that must be continued. The first is continuous improvement of production technology through design enhancements and process optimization (obtaining graphene with increasingly better properties while increasing production efficiency to meet market demand). The second challenge is the development of graphene-based technologies. Already now, we can try to use the graphene obtained in a broad sense of sensing, especially in the field of super-sensitive position sensors based on the Hall effect (so-called hallotrons). In addition, graphene produced using SECO/WARWICK equipment can be used on an industrial scale in a few years.”

Science and Business

Collaboration with the Lodz University of Technology on new graphene applications is not the only example of SECO/WARWICK’s collaboration with the scientific community. For years, the company has been cooperating with technical universities, polytechnics, research centers, and research institutes worldwide. They actively carry out cooperation programs with Poznan University of Technology, Warsaw University of Technology, Silesian University of Technology, ITME in Warsaw, Institut für Metallformung TU Bergakademie in Freiberg, Germany, Central South University in China, and National Research Saratov State University in Russia. In June, the company signed a cooperation agreement with the State Higher Vocational School in Sulechów, which will involve the use of the potential of both partners for the development and education of PWSZ students and employees and research and development projects. The intensive cooperation of SECO/WARWICK with many technical universities in Poland results in new technologies and real implementations. Polish technologies are already used worldwide in the form of technological processes and technical solutions applied in heat treatment processes.

However, SECO/WARWICK’s connection between science and business does not end there. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the company opened a modern metallographic laboratory where they will conduct their research, perform full metallographic tests, develop acquired or purchased technology, and invest expansively in new production projects worldwide. Research and development projects related to design and process optimization using the latest scientific and technical achievements are one of the means SECO/WARWICK uses to achieve profits and a competitive advantage.

“Conducting research, executing numerous projects, optimizing processes, implementing the latest scientific and technical achievements, and collaborating with scientific centers in Poland and around the world, SECO/WARWICK can confidently say that it is making history in heat treatment, and it has been doing so for 25 years,” says the president of SECO/WARWICK group. “Thanks to the metallographic laboratory, we can quickly and professionally verify the results of technological tests carried out with the equipment located in it. Metallographic studies carried out in SECO/LAB and the conclusions drawn from them help develop new technologies, which is necessary if you want to win with technology, not just price,” says Bartosz Klinowski.

R&D at SECO/WARWICK includes not only technological tests and a metallographic laboratory but also support for design using specialized computer software. The new office space will be used for computer simulations using ANSYS software, based on the finite element method (FEM). ANSYS software allows for modeling temperature distributions, flow velocities, pressures, as well as stress and strain distributions, among other things. Numerical analysis significantly shortens design time and reduces its costs. It is an excellent tool for developing and optimizing equipment designs without the need to build expensive, complicated physical models. The use of CFX and Mechanical modules greatly expands the range of research capabilities of the R&D department at SECO/WARWICK.

25 Years… What’s Next?

As can be inferred from recent initiatives, the company shows no signs of slowing down, and the upcoming years promise to be equally exciting. “The coming years will involve continuous investments in research and new technologies. Our research and development unit and the modern metallographic laboratory we launched at the end of May this year are always part of these plans,” says Paweł Wyrzykowski. “Our priority is the further development of our business – both in terms of strengthening our market position and continuously improving our products and customer relationships. We place a strong emphasis on R&D – for example, in the development of graphene technology – as well as actively securing new contracts, especially in the promising markets of Europe, China, and India.

We are confident that our actions will be reflected in the growth of the group’s financial results and, consequently, in the increase in the company’s value. Last year, we opened a sales office in France, and this year, we established a new business entity – SECO/WARWICK Services – to handle