Metal Improvement Company

Metal Improvement Company

Metal Improvement Company (MIC) is a company specializing in metal surface treatments. MIC is a subsidiary of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW), a diversified supplier of engineered products and services to the aerospace, nuclear power, oil and gas, defense and other demanding markets.

Companies like this, in the same sector of MIC, work with several metal treatment techniques, which are usually required in some industries to enhance the performance of metal components, preventing premature fatigue and corrosion failures.



This company was founded in 1945 in southern California by the engineer Dr. Henry Fuchs.[1] Dr. Fuchs had been working with Dr. John Almen on new applications for shot peening of automobiles and military equipment companies produced before and during World War II. Fuchs and Almen worked at the Research Laboratory of General Motors Corporation before the start of the company.

Both of them would be recognized as pioneers in several shot peening techniques. For example, the Almen strip or Almen system, which is a well known tool for duplicating the shot peening process, was named after John Almen.

Fuchs started in his garage[2] accompanied by his son-in-law with the idea of working in railways car suspensions and assemblies. Nevertheless, the shot peening industry was beginning and the automotive sector was not showing much interest. So it was the aircraft industry which first began to use the beneficial processes.

The company worked, for example, in the early 1950s with the famous Douglas DC-3 aircraft. In the mid-1950s, the company worked in the wind skins of all the Lockheed Super Constellation aircrafts.

In 1968, the company was acquired[3] by Curtiss-Wright which had begun an expansion program at its Buffalo extrusion facility, adding new forging and machining equipment for building aircraft and aerospace components.

In the 1970s, the idea of metal peening with light was explored in the company and in the metal treatment industry. However, it was Lawrence Livermore Laboratories at the end of the 1990s, and working in a government contract for a laser to illuminate passing satellites, which was able to develop a process of peening with light with enough power to use it also for commercial purposes. Metal Improvement Company, under a joint agreement with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, began to develop [4] this technology for commercial customers and in 2003 the company introduced the laser peening to the market.

In 2006, NASA worked with the company and together present an study called: “Effects of Laser Peening, and Shot Peening on Friction Stir Welding [5]”.

In the recent years, the strategy of this company, as a subsidiary of the Curtiss-Wright, seems to be focused also in the shot peening outsourcing services for enterprises, and the company claims that they are the leader in this area.


Inventions and metal technology

  • C.A.S.E.
  • Peenstress
  • Peenflex
  • Peenscan and Peenscan Pen
  • Peentex

Other company facts

  • The founder Dr. Henry Fuchs died in 1989. He was a Professor Emeritus of Stanford University . Also, the Society of Automotive Engineers has an award named “Henry O. Fuchs”[6] in honor of him.



External links

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