Solar Manufacturing completed the shipment of a high-temperature sintering vacuum furnace to an industry leader in the design, development and production of advanced specialty-metal components for the aerospace and defense industries. This custom furnace, a model HFL-5748-2EQ with additional graphite felt hot-zone insulation, is capable of an operating temperature of 1800°C (3272°F). The working dimensions of the hot zone measure 36 inches wide x 36 inches high x 48 inches deep. Solar Manufacturing’s interactive control system, the SolarVac 3000, will perform monitoring and control. According to Solar Manufacturing, the customer needed a vacuum furnace to sinter heavy tungsten alloys at very high temperatures.

Due to the extremely high maximum temperature this end user desired and the need for superior temperature uniformity, the hot zone is super insulated with eight layers of 0.5-inch-thick high-purity graphite felt insulation for superior energy efficiency. The insulation pack is protected by a hot face of 0.040-inch-thick Flex Shield, a durable, flexible carbon-fiber-reinforced graphite foil. Thin graphite heating elements are mounted cylindrically in the hot zone and divided into multiple trim zones. The weight capacity of the graphite hearth is 2,000 pounds.

The external gas-quenching system utilizes a high-capacity copper heat exchanger, 150-HP drive motor and a radial blade fan for high-velocity gas quenching through unique “forward tapered” graphite nozzles. A 20-inch Varian diffusion pump allows for high-vacuum performance of 1x10-5 Torr.