Solar Atmospheres Inc., Souderton, Pa. announces formation of a team of metallurgist’s and engineers to develop equipment and processing for vacuum furnace carburizing. Development parameters include low pressure or “vacuum carburizing” atmospheres within a modified standard horizontal vacuum furnace hot zone. Mixtures of nitrogen and hydrogen with injected ratio’s of gas, such as methane, will be the process environment. Following carburizing, rapid quenching would be via high velocity gas at overpressure conditions. The hot zone will be the new low-density mullite ceramic board with high nickel alloy heating elements, in-situ. This approach will minimize carbon build up in the hot zone and allow a mild weekly air burn-out for clean up. Since the work load is stationary, with no complex mechanisms or use of multiple vacuum chambers, maintenance is greatly reduced.
Team members: Nick Trivic, a Drexel University master’s degree candidate in metallurgically and Solar Development Manager: Harry Antes, Ph.D. metallurgy; Ken Moyer, metallurgist of Magnetic PM labs; Don Jordan metallurgist and Solar VP of operations; Bob Hill metallurgist and President Solar Atm., Western Pa.; Brian Shoemaker, mechanical engineer, Solar Mfg.; Bruce Ruhf electrical engineer and President of Solar Mfg.; William R. Jones electrical engineer and CEO Solar Atm.
Several trial runs have been completed in a laboratory vacuum furnace at Solar, pointing the way toward continued development. A furnace is now in final construction at the Solar Atmospheres’ Keystone development facility. Design and construction of a production model is scheduled for mid 2004.”