Solar Atmospheres announced today that The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 8,088,328 covering Solar’s new vacuum gas nitriding furnace design. The patent, including 14 claims, centers on an all graphite hot zone design featuring graphite heating elements, graphite gas baffles, graphite fan, and graphite felt insulation housed in a vacuum chamber enclosure. The advantage of the all graphite hot zone is the combination of non-nitriding components that do not require retort tear down and scrubbing to restore nitriding constants, as with prior 330 alloy retorts. The low mass hot zone provides rapid heating, and combined with an external gas blower and heat exchanger, allows fast heat up and cool down for nitriding cycles that are 50% faster than standard brick or retort designs.
According to Roger A. Jones, corporate president of Solar Atmospheres, “This new furnace has proved equally useful for bright tempering of alloys like H11,13, D2 and bright annealing of brass alloys. This is a significant improvement over standard vacuum furnaces which have slower cycles, or in the case of brass, that can cause contamination.”
The new patent is part of an intellectual property portfolio from Solar that includes more than 18 issued patents and numerous patent applications to which Solar has exclusive rights.