Next Generation of Hot Zones Reduce Energy Consumption in the High-Temperature Process

Plansee presents a new generation of hot zones for industrial furnaces. All versions of the new models save a significant amount of energy – even at maximum performance thanks to a number of optimizations. This lowers the operating costs in the high-temperature process and reduces the CO2 footprint, thus benefiting the customers who can also configure their hot zone individually.

The industry is faced with the challenge of saving energy on a large scale. This is the only way to reduce costs and ensure climate-friendly production. However, this new efficiency must not be at the expense of quality. Optimizations that combine high-performance and sustainability are therefore in demand. This demand becomes a complex task where industrial processes require a particularly large amount of energy. This is the case, for example, in high-temperature vacuum furnaces used for various heat treatment processes, such as in aviation or medical technology, where working temperatures between 1,000 and 1,800 degrees Celsius are reached.

Hot zones from Plansee are used in high-temperature furnaces.

Hot zones from Plansee are used in high-temperature furnaces. Image Credit: Plansee SE

An Important Contribution to CO2 Reduction

Plansee supplies manufacturers of industrial furnaces and industrial customers all over the world with metallic hot zones made from molybdenum, molybdenum alloys, and tungsten, which are used in such high-temperature processes and ensure that the temperature in the furnace is optimally distributed. The energy balance of these processes depends on the quality of the hot zones. If they are not optimized for the respective area of application, an unnecessary amount of heat and therefore energy is lost. This is why it is advisable for the industry to invest in the best technology when it comes to hot zones.

Plansee's Motivation: Where Can We Improve?

Developing the best design and material for maximum service life of the hot zones – that is the motivation of a Plansee innovation team. The interdisciplinary team is passionate about constantly improving the efficiency of hot zones. The team is driven by this question: "No matter how good our product already is, in which areas are further concrete improvements possible?"

27 Percent Less Energy Consumption

Now, with the next generation of hot zones that Plansee is bringing to the market, it is clear that the innovation team has delivered. Thanks to a number of technical optimizations, the new models save up to 27 percent of energy compared to the previous generation, which reduces operational costs and supports industrial customers in achieving their sustainability goals. The lightweight design of the support frame means that the new models weigh up to 15 percent less, thus saving resources. As many recyclable materials as possible are being used, which also ensures greater sustainability. And because Plansee really used all of the set screws for optimizations, the team put some internal processes to the test so that the delivery time for the standard versions of the hot zones could be reduced by 30 percent.

Efficiency Meets Performance

A top priority for Plansee: this efficiency goes hand in hand with excellent performance data and a longer service life. The constructions and materials used in the heating system ensure that the batch is heated optimally and issues such as short circuits or sagging of the heating element are almost impossible. However, it is not only the heating process that is important; it is just as important that the heated parts in the furnace can be efficiently cooled using gas once the process is complete. Simulations and measurements helped the Plansee development team place the gas nozzles in the hot zone to cool the batches optimally and evenly. Another innovation is the "FlowBox", which enables the smooth outflow of gas at the rear of the hot zone. Together, the nozzle and "FlowBox" ensure that the batch is cooled precisely in the entire usable space – and without the unintentional formation of further cooled areas in the furnace. Another innovative feature is the smart mounting of the front door which adapts to the temperature changes inside the hot zone and therefore prevents heat from being lost.

Digital Service for Customers

It is extremely important to Plansee to provide the best possible and most up-to-date service to its customers. This means that the hot zones can be configured in advance for individual requirements in an online tool. If special individual parts made from molybdenum or tungsten are required to meet specific needs, Plansee can produce these independently using a 3D printing process. The furnace construction experts are currently working on another digital solution: an app that helps to calculate energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This transparency helps with energy and emissions management, which shows that when it comes to optimizations for the sake of customers, the climate, and sustainability, the Plansee experts' passion for innovation knows no bounds.

For more information about the new generation of Plansee hot zones, visit Plansee's website

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PLANSEE.

For more information on this source, please visit PLANSEE.

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