Solar Manufacturing installs GFQVHP for Arizona company


Solar Manufacturing has successfully completed the installation and startup of a 100-ton force Vacuum Hot Press that includes a 2-Bar Gas Fan Quench cooling system (GFQVHP) for Refrac Systems’ commercial and aerospace diffusion bonding operation in Chandler, Arizona.

Working with Solar’s engineering team, Refrac Systems selected a derivative of the Solar Manufacturing standard HLF-5748-2IQ internally quenched 2-Bar vacuum furnace as the base design. The furnace hot zone was modified to contain a 100-ton load hydraulic ram centered over the zone which is configured to diffusion bond parts up to 36” wide x 48” long x 30” tall.

The world’s first 100-ton vacuum hot press with gas fan quench cooling capability for up to a 4,000-pound part is now installed and in commercial operation at Refrac Systems. (Courtesy: Solar Manufacturing)

Besides being specifically designed to diffusion bond large plastic injection molding dies, and concurrently quench hardening them, the system is finding applications in bonding advanced superalloy heat exchangers where the quench cooling offers significant improvement on performance.

Norm Hubele, president of Refrac Systems, said, “We really drew on the extensive engineering experience base that Solar Manufacturing has for building large gas fan quench cooled vacuum furnaces coupled with our own vacuum hot pressing experience to build this very unique hot press system.”

Along the course of system design and development, a number of new and complex engineering solutions were needed in order to reduce the operational and ownership risks for the new type of furnace system. “Solar’s engineering team really helped out with a lot of great design ideas and manufacturing experience, and the system really contains the most robust and reliable furnace engineering content that both companies could muster.”

William Jones, CEO of the Solar Atmospheres family of companies, said, “Norm put together a team of engineers to design and build this state-of-the-art GFQVHP, and it contains many innovations. Throughout the entire process, Norm personally reviewed all aspects of the design and added considerable insight to the development of this unique vacuum furnace system.”