Solar Atmospheres of Western PA installed a new high-temperature, high-purity, production-scale, 2-bar vacuum furnace in an environmentally controlled room for heat treating and brazing of small to mid-size loads. The “Mentor” furnace was designed by Solar Manufacturing for processing medical, tool & die, aerospace, nuclear and other industrial heat-treated or brazed parts. It was installed and commissioned in the Hermitage, Pa., plant. The environmentally controlled room, where humidity and temperature remain stable compared to typical heat-treat-facility conditions, will allow Solar to more quickly and efficiently process parts. The furnace is expected to run at full capacity before October 2014.

The furnace, which has an effective workload area of 12 inches wide x 12 inches high x 18 inches deep, is capable of holding a load of up to 250 pounds and is rated at a normal operating temperature of 2500°F (1370°C). The hot zone is constructed of high-efficiency graphite felt and boards and allows for rapid heat-up and cool-down cycles. The furnace, in order to achieve the desired metallurgical properties for some metals, is equipped with a 2-bar quenching capability.