Premier Furnace Specialists/BeaverMatic shipped a large electrically-heated car bottom furnace to be installed at a customer’s location in the midwestern United States. The system was designed, built, and tested at Premier’s spacious new 40,000-square-foot facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
The furnace is capable of processing 16-foot x 16-foot parts that weigh up to 80 tons each. Six zones of temperature control and 900 KW will be used to heat these large parts up to a maximum temperature of 1,400°F. In keeping with current industry trends, the car bottom system has been designed to include all the necessary features required for strict compliance to current AMS 2750 standards.
The furnace includes a fully-insulated movable car bottom complete with oversized cast steel wheels that will roll over rails embedded in the customer’s floor. When the car bottom extends into the furnace, it will be securely sealed in place with a series of pneumatic clamps and high-temperature tadpole gaskets arranged to prevent air infiltration into the heating chamber. This pneumatic sealing mechanism is a standard and proven BeaverMatic design that has been successfully employed on many previous car bottom installations.
During processing, the customer’s product will rest on removable ceramic piers that can be specifically configured according to the size and weight of the individual part. Optimum thermal uniformity will be achieved by using large high-capacity fans and stainless-steel ductwork to aggressively direct and circulate either heated air or an inert gas atmosphere over and around the work piece. After heating, the furnace could selectively use a rapid cooling feature whereby products may be quickly and evenly cooled using an ambient air blower and a series of modulating valves controlled by the PLC.
The furnace includes an Allen Bradley PLC control system that will be used for process control and will also be capable of recording input from up to 40 part-contact thermocouples during a typical cycle. The datalogging features are very flexible and the recording parameters may be easily selected by the operator from the system’s color touchscreen HMI. Additionally, part-contact thermocouples could be used for process control. This would allow for either heat or ambient air to be selectively applied or removed depending on whether the control system called for heating or cooling. Ethernet communication will allow for the car bottom furnace system to be fully integrated into the customer’s plantwide data network.
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