Solar Atmospheres commissions large car bottom air furnace


Solar Atmospheres of Western PA successfully commissioned a new 20-foot-long car bottom furnace that has a total load capacity of up to 30,000 pounds.

The Class 2 furnace, built by John Becker’s Heat Treat Equipment Inc. in Canton, Michigan, was installed and fully tested for the first time in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The 60-inch by 240-inch hot zone envelope easily passed the stringent AMS 2750E Temperature Uniformity Survey (TUS) of  ± 10°F from temperatures of 300°F to 1,450°F. The survey passed on the first attempt and was put into production immediately.

This new piece of equipment will serve to compliment Solar’s lower temperature work — especially where surface oxidation is of little concern. It will also be used to economically process many “downstream” processes, including multiple tempering operations, which typically follow vacuum austenitizing treatments. Pictured is the inaugural run of six 4,140 rolls that weigh a total of 12,000 pounds. The rolls are used for a variety of steel making industries from forming angles to rolling rebar. The uniqueness of these rolls is that the working circumferences of the major diameters are made from crucible powdered metal (CPM 9V). The consolidated powdered metal on the major diameters is hot isostatically pressed (HIP’ed) and thus must be hardened. Following the vacuum austenitizing treatment at 2,075°F, the rolls are quickly nitrogen quenched. It is necessary to immediately temper the resultant HRC 60 surface hardness on the major diameters. Instead of reloading back into Solar’s large vacuum furnaces, the rolls are now transferred to this newly acquired air furnace for triple tempering operations ranging from 1,000°F to 1,150°F — thus saving valuable vacuum furnace time.

“Today, we have acquired an excellent piece of equipment that will keep metal flowing in and out of our state of the art facility,” said Bob Hill, president of Solar Atmospheres of Western PA. “Every employee remains laser focused to achieve our ultimate goal — 100 percent On Time Delivery (OTD) to all of our customers. This furnace will enable us to get there.”

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