Bosch Chassis Systems, a division of The Bosch Group, has contracted with Consolidated Engineering Company (CEC) to design and manufacture four stress relief/ferritic annealing furnaces for its Dalian, China, facility. The plant is expanding into the processing of cast iron components and required heat-treat capacity for two thermal processes – stress relief and ferritic annealing. CEC engineers proposed the use of several batch furnaces rather than one or two larger furnaces for this project. In addition to the four batch furnaces, CEC provided a PC-based SCADA data-acquisition system that displays, accumulates, retrieves and prints all process data for loads over time.

There were numerous reasons for using several batch furnaces instead of larger batch equipment. The first was that with four smaller units, production could be ramped up in stages and the process could be more flexible. The second reason was to allow for smaller batches of components to be heat treated as required while maintaining energy efficiency. Finally, the stress-relief cycle was at a lower temperature than the ferritic anneal, so the use of several different furnaces allowed for two different thermal cycles to occur simultaneously.