Orchid Memphis, a medical implants manufacturer, modernized three vacuum furnaces in Memphis, Tenn., with process-control upgrades from United Process Controls (UPC). The company chose to retrofit two furnaces with replacement controls and a total control-system replacement for the third furnace. All systems feature Protherm 700 controllers, and soft-start panels were introduced to help lower energy costs during quenching.

The upgraded systems also include chart recording and recipe control, the latter of which incorporates specific programming for automatic leak-test cycles and guaranteed soak for medical-industry requirements – tasks that were previously monitored and recorded manually. The improvements also make it easier for Orchid Memphis to streamline its maintenance process and manage maintenance tasks. Leak-up rates, events and alarms are automatically and accurately reported. In the final stage of the project, the furnace controls were connected to the Protherm 9800 automation platform, which is configured to improve workflow efficiency, optimize furnace utilization, track work orders and view real-time performance metrics.

Upgrading with new controls and automation ensures that Orchid Memphis meets the more complex and stringent requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical implants.