SECO/VACUUM received an order from an electric-vehicle (EV) manufacturer for a two-chamber vacuum furnace that will be used in the company’s R&D lab to low-pressure carburize (LPC) and oil quench prototype gears. The CaseMaster Evolution (CMe) has a working hot zone of 16 x 16 x 24 inches (400 x 400 x 600 mm) and a load capacity of 440 pounds (200 kg). It has a separate heating chamber, where product is heated and carburized, and a quenching chamber, where the load is immersed in an oil bath for rapid quenching. Both chambers are isolated with a vacuum door.

SECO/VACUUM is providing a turnkey solution. The scope includes the vacuum furnace, furnace loader, alloyed fixturing, closed-loop cooling water system and installation. The oil chamber is equipped with an oil agitation system, which provides uniform flow rates throughout the load to reduce distortion. FineCarb, SECO/WARWICK’s LPC process, uses acetylene to carburize parts, providing high repeatability and uniformity. The furnace is also equipped with convection heating and a gas cooling option, which enables the customer to conduct a wide range of heat-treating procedures.

The EV maker currently sends its prototype gears out to local commercial heat-treatment shops, and there are often scheduling delays. By adding in-house heat-treatment capability, the company is expecting to remove the barriers to accelerating new product development.