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.
Gasbarre Thermal Processing Systems commissioned an integral-quench furnace line to a supplier of specialty nut and bolt assemblies in the eastern United States. The furnace line includes an integral-quench furnace, parts washer, temper and associated material handling and load storage. The system is designed to process loads measuring 24 inches wide x 24 inches long x 20 inches high and weighing up to 1,500 pounds. It includes custom-designed material handing to eliminate the need for expensive cast base trays.
Over the years, the heat-treatment industry has seen a number of truly innovative technology advancements – the oxygen probe and the adaptation of process simulators for recipe development being perhaps the most impactful to date.
Super Systems Inc. completed major upgrades to the heat-treating assets at Milacron LLC in Mt. Orab, Ohio. Included in the scope of work were new control cabinets, atmosphere flow panels, SCADA software and a new ammonia dissociator. Equipment addressed as part of the upgrade included two pit nitriders, two pit tempers, one pit carburizer, one integral-quench furnace, one batch temper and one oil quench.
Surface Combustion supplied two new Allcase batch integral-quench furnaces to Cambridge Heat Treating of Cambridge, Ontario. Cambridge also purchased two used Allcase furnaces. All four units were installed in the same line along with a previously purchased 30- x 30- x 48-inch Allcase with top cool. All the furnaces are serviced by Surface’s charge car, Uni-DRAW batch tempering furnaces, washers and an RX endothermic-atmosphere gas generator. The 36- x 48- x 36-inch batch heat-treat line greatly expands Cambridge’s capacity for carbonitriding, carburizing, neutral hardening, ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC) and normalizing.
AFC-Holcroft received an order from Mincon Group for two separate, complete batch-style integral-quench heat-treatment lines. The equipment will be utilized for the heat treatment of components used in heavy industries like mining and drilling. Both batch furnace lines have features designed to reduce distortion of the products being processed. One line – consisting of an integral-quench batch furnace with an effective load size of 36 x 72 x 56 inches, tempering furnaces, washing and conveying equipment, controls system and accessory equipment – will be sent to a manufacturing facility in Benton, Ill. It has a gross load capacity of 6,000 pounds.
AFC-Holcroft received an order from Peters’ Heat Treating for a UBQ (Universal Batch Quench) integral-quench furnace and two 1400°F gas-fired UBT (universal batch temper) furnaces. The equipment will be integrated into an existing complete UBQ furnace line purchased previously from AFC-Holcroft and adds an additional 3,500-pound gross load capacity to the existing line at Peters’ facility in Meadville, Pa.