The Western Hemisphere’s first high-temperature (1500°C) continuous-production microwave furnace is now fully functional at New York’s NanoMaterials Innovation Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alfred Technology Resources, near the campus of Alfred University. Arizona-based Spheric Technologies sold the Spheric/Syno-Therm system and has been providing assistance with setup, training and beta testing. A variety of American companies are using the furnace for proprietary microwave research. For example, a major metals supplier plans to conduct its own metallurgy tests using the furnace.

Penn State University and Japan’s National Institute for Fusion Science report that microwave furnaces typically use up to 80% less energy than conventional furnaces, producing stronger, finer-grained parts with less deformation and cracking in as little as one-tenth the time. Spheric Technologies’ continuous and batch microwave furnaces are also well suited for the sintering of certain powder metal and ceramic materials that require high-temperature processing.