Ipsen’s Vacuum Technology Excellence Center received orders for 22 vacuum furnaces during the first quarter of 2022. These orders spanned industries including automotive, additive manufacturing, aerospace, commercial heat treating, and tool and die. The company will design and supply models including large vertical bottom-loading units for aerospace to small vacuum debind and sinter furnaces for additive manufacturing. Other orders included those for Ipsen’s AvaC low-pressure carburizing furnace and high-pressure gas quenching used in conjunction with vacuum compression brazing.
Solar Atmospheres of Western PA (SAWPA) was recently awarded three years merit status for SHARP Accreditation. The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) is designed to recognize employees and employers for their effort in establishing and maintaining all elements of an effective safety and health program.
A manufacturer of electronic components with engineering centers and factories worldwide purchased a vacuum tempering furnace from SECO/VACUUM, a SECO/WARWICK Group Company, for one of its plants in Pennsylvania. With a chamber measuring 48 inches x 48 inches x 72 inches, the furnace will be used to anneal copper and steel electrical connectors used in subsequent assemblies. The furnace, which can operate up to 1382°F (750°C), will deliver added capacity to meet increased demand for the company’s products. It includes a turbo-cooling feature designed to improve turnaround time from batch to batch and maximize throughput.
TAV Vacuum Furnaces produced a horizontal vacuum brazing furnace for a global manufacturer. The furnace, which has a maximum temperature of 2462°F (1350°C), was developed to braze plate heat exchangers and tailored to the company’s specific requirements. It has two loading zones, a platform on top for easy maintenance and a soundproof cabinet for vacuum pumps. Seven independently controlled heating zones, together with the wide surfaces of the heating elements, allow for fast and uniform heating ramps and shorter cycles. A graphite thermal chamber placed on supports allows for easy extraction in case of maintenance.
Tech Castings LLC, a supplier of superalloy investment castings to the commercial and military gas turbine engine markets, initiated a $4.5 million expansion at its Shirley, Ind., manufacturing facility. As part of the expansion, Tech Castings ordered a 100-pound vacuum precision investment-casting furnace from Consarc Corp. of Rancocas, N.J. The order includes start-up and installation, and delivery is scheduled before the end of 2022. The furnace is equipped with high-vacuum capabilities, state-of-the-art controls and increased automation. When completed, the expansion will more than double Tech Castings’ current capacity of components for the aerospace industry.
Andritz successfully started up a new galvanizing line supplied to Nucor Steel Arkansas in Hickman, Ark. The first galvanized coil was produced on schedule in December 2021. The line has a capacity of 500,000 tons per year and produces high-strength coated products for the automotive industry. Andritz engineered the complete mechanical equipment, supplied electrical and automation equipment, and provided on-site installation and commissioning services.
A Czech manufacturer of industrial knives, mulching knives and chippers placed an order with SECO/WARWICK for a vacuum furnace with 10-bar high-pressure gas quenching. The furnace, which has been customized to enable the processing of long and straight items, will be used for tool-steel hardening and tempering. SECO/WARWICK engineers designed a nonstandard workspace measuring 600 x 600 x 1,800 mm (23.6 x 23.6 x 71 inches). The modification was implemented to fit the characteristic shape of the workpieces. Apart from the nonstandard dimensions of the chamber, the unit was fitted with a directional cooling option to effectively cool long and thin knives that are prone to distortion during the hardening process.
A manufacturer based in China ordered a horizontal vacuum furnace from SECO/WARWICK. It will help produce highly specialized cast parts used in the aerospace industry. The furnace, which has a graphite chamber and gas quenching system, has a heating zone measuring 59 x 59 x 70 inches (1,500 x 1,500 x 1,800 mm) and can handle loads of precision cast parts up to 6,615 pounds (3,000 kg). The furnace is scheduled for delivery in June.
In April 2020, Reed Miller interviewed Mike McConkey, a dedicated customer-service engineer for Surface Combustion. McConkey, an expert on controlled-atmosphere furnace operation, maintenance and safety, answered some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the technology and offered some maintenance tips. This article is a condensed and edited version of that interview.