Solar Atmospheres (Hermitage, Pa.) is using its 24-foot high vacuum furnace to process long titanium components for Boeing''s new 787 Dreamliner. Solar and Boeing personnel have developed cycles and procedures to meet quality specifications for the 787''s goal of a 2008 delivery. The capacity of the 24-foot furnaces, coupled with programming and furnace cycle controls, have made Solar a steady vendor for the airline project.
Boeing is moving away from the standard aluminum structure and skin, instead using lightweight and durable composite technology that enables and increased cargo revenue capacity by 40%-60%. Since titanium and composites conform a noble bond to each other with zero corrosion, the plane''s titanium structure forms the aerodynamic shape for the composite material that covers a high percentage of the plane. Solar is heat treating the titanium structural members in its 24-foot furnaces.