By Cameron Chai
The Solar Atmospheres R&D team has formed a novel hot zone design concept to minimize power losses from the vacuum furnace by 50%. Vacuum furnace engineers have been always concerned about energy losses. However, there have hardly been any solutions proposed for the issue. The novel hot design zone will be a noteworthy and unique achievement for the heat treatment industry.
This concept has been framed as per thermal loss calculations and comprehensive vacuum furnace laboratory tests. The enhanced hot zone will have higher energy efficiency in identical insulation dimensions without sacrificing vacuum performance. Though initial costs are high, returns with minimized energy expenses are anticipated within the first year of operation with considerable savings in the subsequent years.
In order to conduct the test-drive of the design and directly compare with the present hot zones, Solar Atmospheres is reconstructing in its corporate headquarters, a moderate-size vacuum furnace hot zone. Highly precise power measurements will be derived using a Fluke Model 1735, power computer, true RMS and with hot zone thermocouples arranged inside the innovative hot zone insulation system at soaking temperatures of 2800, 2600, 2400, 2200, 1800 and 1600ºF to validate the design. Testing will commence in the first part of 2012 hence validation results will be released shortly.
Solar Atmospheres provides commercial vacuum heat treating solutions. Solar’s expertise includes carburizing, brazing and nitriding.