Solar Atmospheres of Western PA is currently installing a new rapid quenching vacuum furnace that will ultimately eliminate the need for costly helium while increasing production throughput. Solar Manufacturing’s 10-bar vacuum furnace will mimic an older 2-bar furnace in size. However, this new 48-inch x 48-inch x 96-inch 10-bar furnace is equipped with a 600-HP blower designed motor, and it will outperform its older model by processing larger and heavier workloads with the use of nitrogen only.
“The difference in operating costs is a no brainer,” said Solar Atmospheres' President Bob Hill. “To marginally harden one 2,000-pound high-speed tool-steel roll die in our older 2-bar vacuum furnace, the use of light helium gas was a necessity. The prohibitive cost of a two atmosphere helium backfill was $1,065. Our new furnace will enable us to fully harden three 2,000-pound roll dies at once using the more cost-effective process gas of nitrogen. In contrast, the cost of a 10 atmosphere backfill of nitrogen will be only $89.”