High-temperature sintering furnaces are utilized in powder metallurgy for sintering stainless steel and, in some cases, iron-based materials. They are exclusively used in refractory-metal fabrication of molybdenum, tungsten and rhenium. High-temperature sintering furnaces are also utilized in the nuclear-fuel industry for sintering uranium oxide. The ceramic industry has always used high-temperature processes for sintering, co-firing and metallizing.
To properly select and size a continuous high-temperature furnace, a number of qualifying questions must be answered.
- What is the operating temperature?
- Is there an existing profile?
- What is the process atmosphere?
- What size furnace opening is required?
- What is the boat/carrier size?
- What is the mass of the component?
- What is the material being processed (if not proprietary)?
- What is the required output?
The answers to these questions will determine the size of the furnace and determine which style of furnace best suits your production needs.
Many furnace manufacturers have standard-size furnaces that they have built in the past. Most, however, customize the furnace to the client’s needs. Because the units are produced one at a time, it is not difficult to have the furnace built to the customer’s exact specifications.
More than ever, the focus is on operational costs. A continuous furnace is used when warranted by volume of parts being produced. Which is better, continuous or batch? This question is constantly asked, and the answer is both and neither. Either furnace can work perfectly inside your production line, it is strictly a question of volume. If your volume is low or uncertain, a batch furnace would be the proper choice. With a batch furnace you are only paying for operation of the unit while you are processing parts. If your volume does not warrant constant production, batch is a better solution.
If you have high or even medium volume production, a customized continuous furnace is the proper choice. In addition to the throughput and repeatability previously mentioned, there is operational size. These are massive systems that are extremely well insulated. The insulation packages are analogous to a sponge. Once the furnace is initially heated, the insulation package absorbs and holds the heat and the power levels drop off considerably. These furnaces are also efficiently designed in terms of atmosphere flow. High-temperature furnaces are not open at both ends – they have door assemblies, which minimize gas flow. With a continuous furnace, the processing costs per boat or component are at the lowest possible level.
CM Furnace Solutions to Batch and Production Sintering
CM Furnaces has numerous options available for manufacturers attempting to customize a process without needing to invent a furnace. Products like our CM 1700 series “Rapid-Temp” batch furnace, or our CM 400 series continuous production furnaces have a flexible core of functionality and proven reliability which can be added to and customized.
Over our 70 year history, we’ve seldom met a process we haven’t been able solve with our wide array core furnace designs, coupled with our deep human expertise in furnace modification and customization.
Please call us today to discuss your production or batch furnace needs.