Whenever energy and power are needed in today’s age of miniaturization, rare-earth magnets are called upon to play a vital role. Applications abound, from the family car that uses on average 30 such magnets to powerful levitation systems on magnetic trains. All of this is made possible by elements with strange-sounding names: neodymium, lanthanum, samarium, yttrium and scandium – some of the “rare earths” or Lanthanide elements in the periodic table.
Solar Manufacturing recently shipped five Mentor vacuum furnaces to a company in the southeast United States that provides products to industries including aerospace and medical. The furnaces include a graphite-insulated hot zone, a load weight capacity of up to 250 pounds and a maximum operating temperature of 2400°F (1315°C). They will be used primarily to sinter and stress relieve stainless steel components.
G-M Enterprises, a Nitrex company, received a multimillion-dollar order from a global manufacturer of metal injection molding (MIM) products for two horizontal vacuum furnaces. These 2-bar sintering furnaces have a work area measuring 36 inches wide x 30 inches high x 84 inches long (900 x 762 x 2,100 mm), a 4,400-pound weight capacity, a maximum operating temperature of 2600°F (1430°C) and uniformity of +/- 10°F (+/- 5.5°C). A multistage debinder trap system designed to thermally extract binder from the parts is integral to the vacuum system. Sintering and debinding occur in a single cycle using a unique system design that is optimized to handle the maximum designed load capacity. Consequently, there is never a need to operate below the rated load capacity to achieve the required part quality.
Abbott Furnace Company received an order for a sintering furnace from a company that specializes in manufacturing ferrous-based, powder-metal components for the automotive, agricultural and industrial markets. The electrically heated, continuous-belt furnace, which is rated at 2150°F, will be delivered in the second quarter of 2020. Abbott Furnace will design, manufacture and install the furnace, which includes the Varicool cooling system. This will be the 36th furnace Abbott Furnace has supplied to this company.
L&L Special Furnace Co. Inc. shipped five box furnaces to a manufacturer of chemicals and chemical coating products located in the Midwest. These products are primarily used in the medical field as a coating and must be cured at 800°F. The furnaces can also be used for sintering of chemical powders up to 2200°F. The furnaces have an effective work zone of 10 inches high x 15 inches wide x 13 inches deep. They are designed to be placed on a benchtop or with an optional furnace stand.
Whether a component is produced through binder-jet additive manufacturing, metal injection molding or conventional press and sintering, lubricant removal continues to be one of the most common issues in sintering.
The ExOne Company is expanding its collaboration with Elnik Systems, a provider of debind and sinter equipment, and DSH Technologies, a provider of debind and sinter process consulting, to improve standardization of sintering for metals 3D printed with binder jetting. The expanded collaboration will focus on improving sintering profiles for metal parts 3D printed on ExOne binder-jetting systems. Standard profiles will be based on metal type and part features, including size, mass and other geometric elements. The companies will also co-develop an easy-to-use interface that will automatically load, or allow a user to select, sintering profiles.
L&L Special Furnace Co. Inc. shipped an electric box furnace to a U.S. manufacturer of calcium-phosphate materials used for medical devices. The calcium-phosphate powder is sintered in the furnace at a temperature of approximately 2200°F (1204°C). It is held at temperature for four to eight hours. The top layer is removed after processing, leaving pure calcium-phosphate powder. The powder is then mixed with proprietary materials and made into slurry that can be applied to various appliances deployed in the medical field.