The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office notified Solar Manufacturing inventors Robert J. Wilson and Robert F. Daley that their patent application, Publication No. US2014/0042678 A1, for a new 20-bar super quench vacuum furnace was published on Feb. 13, 2014, and is now available to the public on its website (www.uspto.gov). The published application, the first step in the patent process, contains 19 claims that detail the unique design of a horizontal, single-chamber, front-loading vacuum heat-treating furnace capable of in-situ gas quenching at pressures up to 20 bar and with cooling gas speeds up to 200 mph.
One major advantage of the new design is the use of movable radiation baffle doors that prevent heat loss during heat cycles and open wide to avoid pressure drops during cooling cycles. The application of the open doors in combination with the use of a plenum fan arrangement, generous annular space for uniform gas flow and a low static pressure loss nozzle design provide inert gas-quenching capabilities typically achieved only with oil quenching by concentrating the available system horsepower on the task of producing a high nozzle exit velocity.
Commercially, Solar Manufacturing’s first 20-bar high-pressure-quench vacuum heat-treating furnace is currently in production at Solar Atmospheres of Western PA. According to Bob Hill, Solar Atmospheres of Western PA president, the company can now effectively process a wider range of materials and assist more customers than it could with its 10-bar furnaces.