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Vacuum Furnace Technology column by Dan Herring, Metallography column by George Vander Voort, Vacuum Brazing column by Dan Kay, Vacuum Pump column by Howard Tring and other Educational Resources

Compact horizontal vacuum furnace designs provide great flexibility, excellent performance and ease of operation for general heat treating and brazing applications to deliver value to commercial and in-house heat treaters alike.

CLICK HERE for Standard Furnace Sizes

vacuum-furnace-35The standard VAH Series Horizontal, Front-loading, Vacuum Heat Treating and Brazing Furnace can be customized to suit unique applications such as high pressure gas quenching, high temperature heat treating, ultra-clean processing and more.

The furnace is designed to have fast heating rates to very uniform temperatures at high vacuum levels. Standard units are equipped with a gas quench system capable of cooling the load rapidly from processing temperatures at quench pressures up to two bar.

Advanced microprocessor controls are used exclusively to ensure precise control and repeatability. VAC AERO control systems can be integrated with internal networks and offer extensive data collection capabilities. VAC AERO also manufactures auxiliary equipment for quench gas storage and furnace cooling requirements.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR VACUUM FURNACE PRODUCTION SPECIFICATIONS

VAC AERO Vacuum Gas Quench Furnace features and capabilities include:

  • Operating temperatures up to 2400°F (1315°C).
  • Ultimate vacuum levels in the 10-6 torr range.
  • Modular hot zone design for easy maintenance.
  • All-metal hot zones are available for ultra-high vacuum processing.
  • Alternatively, economical graphite-based insulation provides extended durability.
  • Heating elements available in lightweight curved graphite or molybdenum strip.
  • Selectable gas quench pressures from 2 bar to 10 bar.
  • Fully automated control systems including PC-based controls with remote access.
  • Optional convection heating capability.

STANDARD OPERATING TEMPERATURE RANGE: 1000°F - 2400°F (538°C - 1315°C)

TEMPERATURE UNIFORMITY: Meets or Exceeds AMS 2750 Requirements.


HOT ZONE:

VAC AERO hot zones have unitized construction for easy removal and maintenance. Lightweight design with low thermal mass and inertia for faster quenching and long life.

  • Work Load Size: Standard sizes from small laboratory units up to 54” wide x 54” high x 72” deep. Larger models available.
  • Heating Elements: Customer’s choice of lightweight curved graphite, pure or lanthanated molybdenum strip.
  • Hearth: Constructed with quickly removable hearth rails of pure molybdenum designed to support uniformly distributed loads of up to 4000 lbs at 2400°F.

carbon_hot_zone.gifRadiation Shields: (Graphite-based Construction):

The standard graphite-based insulation package consists of three layers of carbon felt with an inner facing of graphite foil bonded carbon composite for added protection and enhanced reflectivity. The heat shield package is supported by a stainless steel assembly that also acts as a manifold to distribute the quenching gas uniformly throughout the workload.

Radiation Shields (All-Metal Construction):

For ultra-clean processing applications, VAC AERO also offers an all-metal hot zone construction. The standard all-metal insulation package consists of two layers of pure molybdenum sheet backed by three layers of stainless steel sheet. The heat shield package is supported by a stainless steel assembly that also acts as a manifold to distribute the quenching gas uniformly throughout the workload.

FURNACE CHAMBER:

The chamber and heads are a double-wall water-cooled design, primed and painted the customer's choice of colour. The chamber is equipped with all necessary thermocouple jacks, gauge ports, pumping ports and gas quench entries conveniently located for easy access. A powered rotary clamping system is used to secure the bottom head during processing. All VAC AERO VAH Series furnaces come with a manually operated load dolly as standard equipment.

VACUUM PUMPING SYSTEM:

The vacuum pumpdown is automatic and interlocked. The VAC AERO design uses a holding pump to maintain a low pressure on the diffusion pump foreline at all times. This feature, combined with proper timed sequencing of vacuum valves, virtually eliminates backstreaming of pump oils.

  • Mechanical Pump: Roughing Pump and Booster combination appropriately sized for furnace volume.
  • Diffusion Pump: Varian series complete with charge of Dow Corning fluid.
  • Holding Pump: Rotary vane pump.
  • Main, Roughing and Foreline Valves: Right angle poppet valve with electro-pneumatic operation.
  • Partial Pressure Capabilities: The furnace can be operated at partial pressures up to 1 torr (1000 microns) of inert gas (argon or nitrogen, whichever is used for quenching). Failsafe hydrogen partial pressure systems are also available.

GAS QUENCH SYSTEM:

VAC AERO’s IG Series Quench Gas Storage Systems are available as an option.

External recirculating inert gas quenching system distributes quench gas through circumferentially located internal nozzles for rapid, uniform cooling of the work load. The system includes:

  • Quench blower powered by electric motor with soft start.
  • Special high efficiency tube/fin heat exchanger.
  • Complete quench piping.
  • Selectable operating pressure.

hardwarealarms_vah.gifPROCESS CONTROLS with SCADA:

The VAC AERO control system is programmable and logic based. The design philosophy of VAC AERO is to simplify control by using the program capabilities to perform as many functions as possible, thereby reducing operator dependence. VAC AERO has also chosen proven hardware components, suitably hardened for an "industrial shop" environment. The system uses a state-of-the-art Hybrid controller to control the machine functions and furnace temperature. The controller integrates with software running on a personal computer to provide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). Operator interface is provided though an LCD touch-screen mounted in a control panel. An extensive range of standard displays is available.

The key benefits of this system are:

  • Compatible with plant wide SCADA and network integration.
  • Process cycle validation.
  • Extensive alarm and event management and reporting.
  • Temperature control using advanced algorithms, auto tuning, and multiple PID loops.
  • Operator sign-on/sign-off security provides up to 255 control levels to limit operator control of individual items of plant and equipment.
  • Enhanced maintenance and troubleshooting management and trending.

Vacuum Instrumentation: A Vacuum Gauge Controller with 2 station, thermocouple gauge and 1 station Penning (cold cathode) gauge is used to monitor the chamber and the pumping system. This instrument is integrated with the process controller to provide dedicated setpoints that control all critical vacuum-related process functions.

Overtemperature Safety Controller: Digital manual set 0°F - 3100°F, Type S.

Power Supply: The heating element power is supplied by an A.C. water cooled power supply containing single phase VRT assemblies. Each VRT has a 0 – 100% trim control for optimum temperature uniformity in the hot zone.

FURNACE COOLING SYSTEM:

Furnace water system consists of a compact manifold containing all necessary pressure regulators, valves, pressure switches and flow regulators with supply and drain hoses and fittings. As an option, VAC AERO can provide a Dual Loop Cooling System to supply coolant to the furnace.

INSTALLATION AND START UP ASSISTANCE

The system is shipped complete, tested and ready for installation. VAC AERO offers installation supervision or complete installation services. After installation, a qualified VAC AERO technician will visit the site to commission the equipment and provide instruction in furnace operation. As part of every furnace contract, VAC AERO also provides pre-delivery training in heat treating processes furnace operation and maintenance.

pdf_fileicon.gifDowload VAH series Furnace Specifications

pdf_fileicon.gifDowload VAH series Auxiliary System Product Sheet

 
 

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VAC AERO News, Education & Training

dan kay seminarKay & Associates Brazing Seminars

Since brazing plays an important part in your company’s products, plan to have your staff attend one of the high-powered, three-day seminars being held in 2016. Our Brazing Seminars cover all the essentials for successful brazing of commercial and aerospace components. The improvements to brazing operations that have resulted from these seminars have paid for the cost of the seminar many times over at many companies! Register your staff today! They WILL truly benefit from having attended this program!

Next Seminar Date and Location: Oct. 11-13, 2016 - Spartanburg, South Carolina

To Register on the Kay & Associates' Website CLICK HERE.

Vacuum Technology with "The Heat Treat Doctor"

vacuum heat treating furnacesMore About Vacuum Heat Treatment of Fasteners

The automotive, aerospace, medical device and construction industries rely heavily on the use of fasteners to secure component assemblies. For example, medical devices (e.g. dental & orthopedic implants, instruments) employ literally hundreds of different types fasteners to hold their assemblies together. Even though the components in the medical devices are small or even tiny, when a fastener fails, the device will almost always fail as well. The correct fastener ensures that the device goes together and stays together for the intended life of the assembly, and that the device performs as desired. Fasteners can overcome challenges in assembly, solve quality problems and significantly reduce the total cost of the device. Fasteners for Construction; Oval head, tapered head, round head (counter sunk) bolts, square head bolts and hex head bolts are typical products for the construction industry, manufactured from various grades of stainless steels and alloy steels.

Vacuum Brazing with Dan Kay

vacuum furnacesBrazing-Paste – Part 3: What happens when the BFM-paste “separates”?

This is the third in a series of articles dealing with brazing filler metal (BFM) in paste form, i.e., when the BFM powder is mixed with a suitable gel-binder to form an extrudable paste. As we’ve seen in the previous two articles, such BFM-paste can be supplied in small hand-held cartridges, or in a wide variety of larger sizes, up to and including large metal paste containers from which the BFM-paste can be steadily withdrawn either automatically or semi-automatically. An example of a semi-automatic system, in which paste is contained in a large container, attached to the bottom of which is a dispensing gun and hose. The small black hose in the top of the unit is an Figure 2. Note that the brazing paste is contained in a solid container at the top left of this photo, and could be looked at as being a large, metal-walled, cartridge, so to speak. Likewise, the dispensing head is also made of metal, and is known as a Positive-Displacement Dispensing head.

Metallography with George Vander Voort

vacuum furnaceIdentification of Phases in Stainless Steels by Etching

Failures in metallic components may be caused by any of the following factors or combinations of factors: Design shortcomings, imperfections due to faulty processing or fabrication, overloading and other service abuses, improper maintenance and repair and environmental factors. Not all failures are catastrophic. Many failures involve a gradual degradation of properties or excessive deformation or wear until the component is no longer functional. Failures due to wear or general corrosive attack usually are not spectacular failures, but account for tremendous material losses and downtime every year. Of course, early failures of the spectacular catastrophic order capture the most attention-and rightly so. Nevertheless, all failures deserve the attention of the investigator because they reduce production efficiency, waste critical materials, and increase costs. In some instances, they cause considerable damage or personal injury. Finally, failures can result in costly litigations.

Vacuum Pump Practice with Dan Herring

vacuum furnace systemsDry Pumps Part Two: Screw Type

We continue our discussion of dry pumps by focusing on screw pumps. As talked about in our last installment, dry pumps are becoming increasing popular as an alternative to oil sealed rotary vane pumps for many medium and high vacuum applications. Designers and users of vacuum furnaces must have a good understanding of how claw and screw pumps operate. This includes the principles of operation, pump design, sealing,  operating characteristics, features, purging, and ancillary devices. A dry screw pump is used alone when high vacuum is not required and slower drawdown is allowable, or with a Roots blower (aka booster) when higher performance is required. For the highest system performance, both a Roots booster  pump and a secondary high-vacuum pump are utilized with the primary pump, which provides the fastest pumping speed and highest ultimate vacuum. When used in series with either a booster pump, or with both a booster and  secondary high-vacuum pump, the primary pump is referred to as a "backing" pump.

Front and Bottom Loading Vacuum Furnaces

vacuum heat treating furnacesConstructed of the finest materials and craftsmanship, VAC AERO’s high performance vacuum heat treating furnaces are operator friendly and designed to minimize maintenance and downtime to deliver outstanding quality and  value to commercial and in-house heat treaters alike. VAC AERO’s vacuum furnaces are designed for rapid heating rates to very uniform temperatures at high vacuum levels and can be customized to suit unique applications such as high pressure gas quenching, high temperature heat treating, ultra-clean processing and more. VAC AERO’s high efficiency hot zones are designed for easy maintenance and reduced energy consumption and an external quench system allows for easy maintenance of the heat exchanger and quench motor. A high efficiency blower and motor combine fast cycle times and quenching speeds to provide uniform gas distribution and superior cooling performance from processing temperatures at pressures of up to 10 bar.

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