Solar Atmospheres broke ground on May 3 at its new plant site in Fontana, Calif. The 25,000-square-foot building will be equipped with roof skylights, a poured cement foundation and insulated framework. An electric, 3-megawatt power entrance from Edison Electric will power all of the vacuum furnaces, and Air Products will supply the required process gases. Water cooling for the furnaces will be a single close-loop, air-cooled heat exchanger that will be providing 1,500 gallons/minute. In addition, the building will include two 10-ton, full-span bridge cranes that will service the entire facility. Solar Atmospheres of California expects to have about 30 employees within the first two years of operation.

Solar Manufacturing of Souderton, Pa., is currently constructing the furnaces for the new plant, which will start out with four production furnaces of varying sizes. The first is a 24-foot-deep car-bottom-type vacuum furnace with a load capacity of 50,000 pounds; the second is a 6-foot-deep, 10-bar quenching capability, high-vacuum furnace that can process up to 3,000-pound loads; and the third furnace is a 5-foot-deep, 2-bar cooling, high-vacuum furnace. The new facility, which is scheduled to open the first week of September 2010, will also have a 5-foot-deep recirculating air-temper furnace. It is anticipated that these furnaces will serve many industries within the greater Southern California area.