Vacuum Furnaces for Vacuum Heat Treatment31 March 2016
Air is The Enemy
Product conformity depends on control systems and an event-free setting born of a pollutant-less environment. All but eliminated by tightly maintained quality standards, the final pollutant of note in this scenario is air. Remember, ambient air changes when subjected to heat, meaning it creates convection currents. Such thermal events are unpredictable and likely to jeopardise the distribution of thermal energy, meaning processed parts will be compromised. This is unacceptable, especially when the unevenly distributed heat is applied to geometrically complex components.
Vacuum Heat Treatment Eliminates Convection Events
If a super-hot industrial-grade furnace is to achieve true uniformity, then a vacuum is a highly desirable part of the process. Heat is released, it radiates, and there is no deviation of thermal activity to deal with. The vacuum favours a linear transmission of generated energy, which results in the kind of controlled environment that falls in line with computer regulating subsystems. In fact, the majority of modern vacuum heat treatment equipment is appointed with this kind of control circuitry, logical timing controls and compact housings that incorporate a modular series of heat treatment stations, with every station falling within the vacuum, thus removing the unpredictability associated with atmospheric convection.
Vacuum Furnaces in Practice
Operating at a fiery temperature range that shifts between 1,300°C and 1,600°C, the vacuum heat treatment process remains stable and predictable, which equals a repeatable procedure, one that will consistently output identically case hardened components. Quenching is part of the internalised cycle, so hardness and wear resistance properties are equally open to computer-initiated regulation. Special thermocouple controls maintain the relationship between heating and cooling sequences, matching both against the quenching stage to create heat treated parts that meet or even exceed aeronautical standards and military assessed specifications.
Free of all gaseous contaminants, the process is now doubly open to material property manipulation through atmospheric injection. In short, the furnaces can add inert gases and catalysing agents, carbon and other specific gases that change how the metal absorbs alloying materials, thus broadening the functions of the furnaces to incorporate gases that fare well in a vacuum.
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