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.
Härtewerk Chemnitz GmbH, a commercial hardening plant in Germany, purchased a horizontal, two-chamber furnace with oil or gas quenching and low-pressure carburizing from SECO/WARWICK. It has a heating chamber, loading and unloading vestibule, and a quenching bath. The load can be cooled dynamically in two different media: in an inert gas (1.5 bar abs) in the quenching vestibule above the oil table with gas flow forced with a blower installed in the ceiling of the vestibule or in quenching oil. Permanent graphite insulation in the heating chamber and graphite heating elements ensure long and reliable operation under industrial operating conditions. The heating system provides quick and even heating of the load, also in low temperatures, which makes it possible to reduce the heating time significantly.
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.
Mercury Marine of Fond du Lac, Wis., launched a plan to upgrade its heat-treating capabilities with a move to low-pressure carburization and high-pressure gas quenching. Partnering with ECM Technologies, the plan incorporates completely automated Nano vacuum heat-treating systems, which incorporate 20-bar nitrogen gas quenching with low-pressure carburizing (LPC). The Nano will operate several different carburizing hardening, and spheroidizing processes simultaneously. This change is a departure from Mercury’s traditional atmospheric carburization and oil quench system.
Nitrex’s Aurora, Ill., commercial heat-treatment facility is now in the hot-testing phase of its newly installed low-pressure carburizing (LPC) and vacuum system, which is expected to start production in September 2021. The company announced in April 2020 that it was expanding production at its Aurora plant, located just west of Chicago. The investment focused on adding a fourth building on the property to house a new LPC system and secondary heat-treating equipment. According to Nitrex, the installation allows it to perform a wider variety of tool-steel projects.
Vacuum thermal processing is vital for automotive and aerospace component manufacturers due to industry demands for the highest possible quality. Brazing and surface treatment are two process areas where vacuum technology is used.
GKN Driveline Bruneck AG in Italy is modernizing its hardening shop with two low-pressure carburizing (LPC) plants from ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH. GKN will utilize the equipment to develop and produce E-powertrains. ALD delivered a ModulTherm plant consisting of a mobile quenching module and five treatment chambers, as well as fully integrated peripheral tempering and preheating furnaces. The plant can be expanded up to 10 treatment chambers depending on demand. ALD also delivered a SyncroTherm plant that will be used for parts that are especially susceptible to distortion. According to GKN, the process combination of LPC and subsequent high-pressure gas quenching (HPGQ) allows the company to optimally adjust the parts’ properties.
Bodycote, the world’s largest provider of specialist thermal-processing services, announced the opening of a new facility in Syracuse, N.Y. The 60,000-square-foot facility is operational and offers a wide range of heat-treatment processes, including vacuum heat treating, atmospheric carburizing, low-pressure carburizing, carbonitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing, nitriding and aluminum heat treating. The site is working toward securing all major OEM approvals as well as Nadcap accreditation, which it is on the way to achieving.