Solar Manufacturing received an order for a top-loading R&D furnace for the process development of low-pressure vacuum carburizing (LPVC) of new alloys for aircraft gearing. The customer is a U.S.-based manufacturer in the aircraft industry. The furnace, which will utilize positive-pressure gas quenching as opposed to atmospheric carburizing with oil quenching, will feature a high-efficiency, graphite-insulated hot zone for operation up to 2650°F. The carburizing process will use a mixture of hydrogen and acetylene as the carburizing gas. Solar Manufacturing’s interactive control system, the SolarVac 3000, will perform monitoring and controlling during the LPVC process.

Ultimate vacuum capability will be 10-5 Torr, and a high-pressure radial fan will recirculate nitrogen gas at two atmospheres (2 bar). The 10-HP quench motor will be controlled by an Allen Bradley variable-speed drive for optimum gas quenching. The furnace will be shipped in the second quarter of 2009.