Spotlight: Improved oven technology pushes advances in heat treatment

Materials World magazine
10 Feb 2013

The effectiveness of heat treatment is directly linked to the effectiveness of the oven used. Rachel Lawler looks at some of the improved products available.

Heat treatment is an essential part of the manufacturing process for improving the functionality of components in many industries. The effectiveness of this technique is often reliant on the quality of the oven or furnace used. Manufacturers of this equipment are constantly improving their products to help users get the most out of their heat treatment methods.

Ovens created by The Grieve Corporation are improving heat treatment for a range of applications. Flat urethane sheets can be cured in the company’s number 981 oven, which uses 18kW to heat the chamber and recirculating blowers to provide horizontal airflow to the workload. Those working with acrylic and polycarbonate can make use of Grieve’s number 1026 – this oven can be used for preheating these materials prior to forming and features Incoloy-sheathed tubular elements.

Highly viscous, corrosive or heat-sensitive materials can be heated using CCI Thermal Technologies’ Caloritech FHP Flanged Pipe Insert Heater. The equipment is designed for storage tanks containing hazardous materials and is fitted with segregated heavy-duty alloy sheathed heating elements. The heater is constructed of multiple insert pipes mounted to a common flange, allowing for its use in applications requiring a higher kilowatt rating than can be achieved with individual pipe insert heaters.

Moulders looking to create a perfectly flat thermal profile can make use of improved equipment from DME Company. The Zenith Valve Gate Hot Runner System provides uniform heat to prevent flow channel hotspots in sequential filling and family mould applications. The system provides better thermal profiles in the nozzle and tip, where uniform heat is needed to prevent flow channel hotspots. This improved displacement of heat gives an enhanced surface finish and increases design options. The system works with a range of materials, but is particularly suited to amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers.

Difficult microprocessor cooling applications can now be addressed using a new range of heat sink products from Thermacore Inc. The system offers optimal airside heat transfer performance in compact designs, and is suitable for use in applications including cooling avionics in manned and unmanned aircraft, vetronics in ground vehicles, military radars, medical electronics and computer server microprocessors. The range includes four varieties of sink, handling 250–2,000W and using either water or methanol.

With improvements such as these, heat treatment of components and machinery parts is likely to become a more efficient and simpler process. And this can only improve the functionality of components, something that could benefit almost every industry.