Solar Manufacturing delivered a uniquely designed vacuum furnace to a major specialized coating services company. Working with the customer on specific concerns of its cobalt- and nickel-based coating processes, Solar Manufacturing engineers provided custom trapping designs to collect and isolate contaminants resulting from the processes. The horizontal, front-loading furnace has a work zone measuring 36 inches wide x 36 inches high x 72 inches deep with a hearth designed to accommodate up to a 3,500-pound workload. The entire hot zone utilizes a Flexshield hot face backed by five layers of 0.5-inch-thick graphite-felt insulation, all supported in a heavy-duty stainless steel ring structure.

The heating elements are a thin, durable, curved graphite design that allows for a maximum operating temperature of 2600°F (1427°C). An external gas-cooling system with a 150-HP quench motor, a high-speed radial fan and a high-capacity heat exchanger capable of cooling workloads in argon gas at 2-bar positive pressure was also included. A SolarVac 5000™ PC-based interactive control system was provided for control and monitoring of all furnace functions. The control system consisted of a Proface™ industrial operator interface with a 15-inch color touch screen and Wonderware™ integrated operations software, which featured recipe storage, alarm management, data acquisition and reporting functions.