Solar Atmospheres was not a stranger to the U.S. southeast, serving customers there for many years. But in 2013, the commercial heat treater decided to make things a bit easier on itself and establish a site within the region.

So, just a year later, Solar Atmospheres acquired a 57,000-square-foot building located on 14 acres along I-85 in Greenville, S.C. Within 12 months, the necessary infrastructure was in place – along with AS9100 and Nadcap accreditation – to provide customers with a local option for heat-treat services.

Today, 13 full-time employees help Solar Atmospheres Southeast provide services for the aerospace, defense, power-generation and medical industries. These services include annealing, hardening/tempering, stress relieving, aging, low-pressure carburizing, brazing, sintering, homogenizing, hydriding/dehydriding, degassing, diffusion bonding and creep forming.

Solar Atmospheres Southeast offers these thermal processes in a vacuum environment – coupled with uniform heating and cooling with inert gas (nitrogen, argon, helium) – in an effort to provide clean, bright work with minimal distortion.

This MTI member, which celebrated its first anniversary in June, has an array of equipment to help it serve customers. The most impressive piece of equipment, however, is the 24-foot vacuum furnace with 50,000-pound capacity. Designed and built by sister company Solar Manufacturing, it is claimed to be the largest vacuum furnace situated in the U.S. southeast. With a maximum operating process temperature of 2650°F, the furnace has up to 2-bar nitrogen or argon quenching capability.

Solar Atmospheres Southeast’s unique relationship with Solar Manufacturing allows it to develop processes and/or modify equipment to best suit customer requirements. This affiliation gives the commercial heat treater a distinct advantage over the competition.

What makes this facility stand out from other heat treaters in the region is its commitment to research and development and the provision of low-pressure vacuum carburizing services. Working alongside customers that range from material manufacturers to industry prime manufacturers has led to unique applications of existing technologies as well as the development of new processes for materials. A regional option for low-pressure vacuum carburizing means that customers in the southeast will no longer have to incur the high costs of freight to benefit from the precision and performance of this process.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of establishing a site in Greenville is the potential future. Solar Atmospheres Southeast anticipates continued growth of not only aerospace manufacturing in the region, but in all manufacturing sectors, and this growth will bring many different opportunities in existing and new process offerings.

But one thing is definite: Solar Atmospheres Southeast will always be looking for ways to present more value to its customer base and the region.

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