Heat-treating expenses include everything from the furnace to the floor space it is setting on, as well as the operator, fuel, power, maintenance, cost of loading the work trays, office help, insurance, taxes and more. All of this amounts to a somewhat standard operating cost of about $100 per hour for a 30-cubic-foot load.
Heavy Carbon Company LLC (Pittsford, Mich.) and its founder/inventor, George Barbour, have been granted a patent (Fig. 1) for a technology and device that allows the user to carburize faster – over the limit of saturation of carbon in austenite – without forming excessive carbides or sooting up the furnace. In addition, the system can be easily retrofitted to any atmosphere-carburizing furnace.
The Endocarb system is guaranteed to save at least 20% of carburizing time alone compared to standard carburizing time. It allows for rapid yet precise variation of the carbon potential in the furnace at critical times, thereby shortening the overall carburizing time. So, just how does the system work? And how do you turn percentage points into dollars?
The Endocarb system cannot produce revenue sitting idle. Therefore, a continuous workload is desired. The highest savings start with a 0.040-inch ECD requirement with about four hours of carburizing time. Bringing the load to carburizing temperature requires about two hours, and about one hour is required to lower the temperature to quench temperature. One hour is needed to stabilize the load temperature. All of this amounts to approximately eight hours.
For the same temperature and stabilize requirements, the Endocarb requires seven hours. This will save about three hours in a 24-hour day for three loads, which amounts to $300.
- $300 x 7 days = $2,100 per week
- 2,100 x 4 weeks = $8,400 per month = a little over 10 months for ROI, leaving two months at $8,400 = $16,800 above the normal profit in the first year after covering the $80,000 cost of Endocarb
For a deeper 0.110-inch ECD, standard carburizing time is about 25 hours. Endocarb requires about 18 hours for 0.110-inch ECD for a savings of seven hours. This will take a little over four months for ROI and a profit of about $150,000 above normal profit in the first year after covering the $80,000 cost of the system.
Faster operation means using less power and fuel in addition to increased production. This increased speed is impossible without the Endocarb system for several reasons:
- Soot burnout time is not required
- Faster penetration through the steel surface
- Use of increased carbon potential to 1.5%C
- Lower dew point
- Constant control of the CH4 with method 4 under U.S. patent # 9,540,721
- Without patented method 4, Endocarb is nonfunctional
An additional expense for carburizing would be the endogas necessary as a carrier and as a filler to eliminate air from the furnace. Consider the cost of endogas, the generator, floor space and operating expenses from fuel maintenance. Now consider that the cost of endogas production can be eliminated with Endocarb and think of the savings.
If you’d like to learn more about the Endocarb system, read “Method for Accelerating Atmosphere Carburizing” and/or “Advanced Carburizing Technology: An Industrial Perspective.”