L&L ships atmosphere-controlled retort burn-off furnace

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Model XLC3672 atmosphere-controlled burn-off furnace by L&L Furnace. (Courtesy: L&L Special Furnace Company)

L&L Special Furnace Company, Inc. has delivered a Model XLC3672 to a Midwest manufacturer of ceramic matrix parts (CMCs). CMCs materialize when nano fibers of silicone carbide or other ceramic nano threads are wound together, forming various sheets and 3D printed shapes deployed in aerospace and military applications. The resulting finished product is lighter and stronger than titanium.

The nano threads in the CMC process are coated with proprietary resins that need to be completely removed from the substructure using heat. It is also important that there is no oxygen present during the process as this will significantly weaken the part structure.

The Model XLC3672 has a work zone of 32 inches wide by 32 inches high by 66 inches deep. It has a single zone of control with a temperature gradient of ±20°F at 1,100°F using four zones of temperature control with biasing to balance any temperature gradients.

The furnace is constructed of low-mass insulating firebrick, which allows for quicker cooldown times. A venturi cooling blower is included that also aids in cooling. The Model XLC3672 is controlled by a Eurotherm Nanodac Mini 8 program mechanism with overtemperature protection. There is also a programmable flow panel to manage the nitrogen flow throughout the process.

The parts are heated to 1,220°F in a retort chamber that is pressurized with nitrogen. The byproducts of the outgassing part are directed by pressure and flow out of the rear of the furnace. The parts are then heated in a vacuum furnace to temperatures in excess of 2,300°F. The result is a super-strong component that is lighter than titanium.

An independent flow panel is provided with an oxygen analyzer that monitors the oxygen content of the atmosphere on exit. This data is recorded electronically on the data acquisition station.

Options include a variety of control and recorder configurations. A three-day, all-inclusive startup service is provided with each system within the continental US and Canada. International startup and training service is available by factory quote.

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