Rene Alquicer, Sales Manager for Atmosphere Products at Ipsen, talks to AZoM about their atmosphere heat-treating technology and the benefits it brings to the market.
Could you please provide a brief overview of Ipsen’s atmosphere furnaces and technology?
When it comes to the atmosphere furnace market, Ipsen has always been a strong leader with one of the largest install bases of atmosphere furnaces in the U.S. – several thousand since we were founded in 1948. In fact, our founder, Harold Ipsen, was a pioneer in the development of integral-quench, batch-atmosphere furnace technology.
Today, we design and manufacture industrial atmosphere and vacuum furnaces for a wide variety of markets, including Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Energy and more. When dealing with the specific types of atmosphere furnaces Ipsen offers, they can be categorized into two main groups: batch-type furnaces and continuous-type furnaces.
Ipsen’s batch furnace systems are typically made up of several components – sealed-quench furnaces, temper furnaces, washers and loading/unloading carts. This type of system provides users with a high level of flexibility as they can execute different thermal processes in each sealed-quench furnace, as well as expand the system to meet larger production needs.
Ipsen’s continuous furnace systems are primarily aimed at providing high production rates for specific thermal processes.
How does your role within Ipsen intersect with atmosphere technology?
I am Ipsen’s Sales Manager for Atmosphere Products, meaning my primary focus is the development and sale of Ipsen’s batch atmosphere product lines, as well as assisting potential customers in determining which atmosphere products are best suited to fit their needs. I also coordinate communication between our global atmosphere teams when required by a project.
What are the primary applications Ipsen’s atmosphere technology is used in?
Ipsen’s atmosphere furnaces execute a wide range of thermal processes with some of the most common being neutral hardening, carburizing, carbonitriding, nitriding and nitrocarburizing. Other processes also ran in our furnaces include tempering, annealing and their variations.
Could you briefly explain what Ipsen is doing with atmosphere heat-treating technology that is new or cutting-edge?
Although we have an established atmosphere base, Ipsen believes that innovation drives excellence. For us, a key part of innovating is listening to the specific needs and challenges of our customers and then providing ideal solutions that meet those needs. As we focus on continuously improving our atmosphere products, we have dedicated significant resources toward gathering input from our customers and heavily researching industry needs.
This focus and research – as well as our experienced team of engineers working on research and development – allow us to tailor our products and services so we can provide our customers with optimum equipment they can trust and rely on for full-scale solutions.
This approach has led to the development of our ATLAS batch atmosphere furnace, which combines the achievements of past atmosphere furnaces with the evolutionary innovations of the future – incredibly advanced, energy-efficient controls, ease of integration and more.
Available in both single- and double-chain models, the ATLAS also features several innovative Ipsen technologies, including our Recon® III Burners, which are some of the most efficient burners available on the market, and our TurboQuench™ system, which offers improved quenching functionality and precision.
Are there any recent developments or innovations of which you are particularly proud?
Yes, we recently expanded our batch atmosphere line of products in an effort that has involved a very successful level of global technical collaboration. One of the added benefits of the ATLAS furnace is that it features TurboQuench™, a modern oil-quenching system with an agitation system that produces a uniform and adjustable flow of oil throughout the load. By using high oil flow velocity, users can achieve a uniform cooling rate on the part's entire surface area, resulting in uniform surface and core hardness with low distortion.
Where is the ATLAS single-chain model manufactured?
The ATLAS single-chain model is manufactured in the United States at our facility in Cherry Valley, Illinois. Our extensive U.S. Field Service network provides support for atmosphere heat-treating furnaces, including parts, service, retrofits, training and more.
What are some of the advantages of manufacturing the ATLAS single-chain model in the United States?
One of the main advantages is providing our customers with prompt, timely service and support. When customers are deciding on what equipment to invest in, we've found one of the factors they consider is the location of the manufacturing and service network facilities.
With locations across the United States, we're able to deliver spare parts, perform maintenance and more, all while minimizing companies' downtime. In addition, our comprehensive inventories comprise more than 2,000 items, ensuring our customers quickly receive the required parts and components needed to maintain their heat-treating equipment.
What are the major benefits of using Ipsen’s atmosphere technology compared with other technologies available? What sets Ipsen’s atmosphere technology apart?
One of the primary benefits is that by using the technologies mentioned above – as well as other features Ipsen has developed over the last decade, such as Carb-o-Prof® controls software, SuperQuench® and TurboQuench™ systems and atmosphere tight doors – customers are able to closely control key parameters of their thermal processes. This includes control of the carbon potential, temperature uniformity, part distortion, etc. In the end, what this truly means is that our customers can heat treat their strictly controlled, high-quality parts in the most cost-effective way while using less energy and being ecologically friendly.
What industries primarily benefit from atmosphere technology?
Atmosphere applications range across several industries with the most visible being the Automotive, Aerospace, Medical, Energy and Tools and Die industries. Another large market for our atmosphere furnaces are companies subcontracted to perform heat treating, also known as Commercial Heat Treaters. With its numerous innovative features, as well as the capability of meeting CQI-9 requirements and other industry specifications, the ATLAS is able to meet the needs of these many industries.
How do you see your sector progressing over the next decade?
With the rapid evolution of control and communication technologies, I believe the industry will continue to integrate and build upon these new developments. This progress will then translate into improved data management and enhanced furnace control, which, in turn, ensures better part quality. Let’s also keep in mind that the progress of this industry is also influenced by new developments in the different components that make up the furnaces, such as improved insulating materials, better oil formulations, etc., that allow us to expand upon and try new heat-treating processes. Overall, we will continue to innovate and improve our products so that our customers can maintain their competitive edge, and so that the industry, as a whole, can continue their forward momentum.
How will Ipsen be a part of this change?
Innovation will continue to be Ipsen’s main focus, and it will continue to be driven by the actual needs of the industry. We are already working in the newer furnace generations; from there, the evolutionary leaps can be small or large given the combination of technology improvements and external economic conditions.
Where can our readers learn more?
To learn more about Ipsen and the innovative contributions we are making in both vacuum and atmosphere heat-treating technology, please visit www.IpsenUSA.com. From there you can learn more about our specific product lines, as well as access expert-created resources and articles. You can also visit our blog at www.IpsenHarold.com where weekly posts cover a wide range of thermal processing topics.
About Rene Alquicer
Rene Alquicer joined Ipsen in 2009 as an International Sales Manager for Latin America. Now, as Ipsen’s Manager for Atmosphere Products, his primary focus is the development and sale of Ipsen’s batch atmosphere product lines. Alquicer possesses a vast amount of experience, having received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his master’s degree in international business from the Universidad De Las Americas in Mexico. He also spent 14 years working for international companies in varied roles, including mechanical engineering, project management and sales. Throughout his six years at Ipsen, Alquicer’s technical background has been a valuable asset for approaching complex applications, as well as assisting a wide range of customers in finding the best product solutions for their needs.
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