State of the Art Furnace Designed, Delivered for Aerospace Supplier

A global aerospace supplier is the recipient of a newly designed, state of the art furnacethe first of its type in the worldboasting an entire side-on opening, with a door running the full eight-meter width, while maintaining an exceptionally high level of temperature uniformity.

At 1.75m high, the furnace enables two components to be loaded at one time by way of a trolley, with a gap of half a meter between the external tracks and the internal fixturing. This gap was required to enable the doors to close. The trolley then cantilevers across the gap, thanks in part to the unique design of its axels.

An additional challenge was the temperature conformity and accuracy needed by the customer. The maximum temperature difference across the part was specified to be no greater than +/- 2.5°C, to a maximum temperature of 175°C to be maintained for a number of hours to facilitate the heat treatment of highly specialized, CNC-machined aluminum components.

The furnace was designed, delivered and installed by U.K.-based AeroThermal, which designs and manufactures thermal processing equipment for clients in the aerospace, motorsport, military, electronics and tobacco sectors. Accuracy of better than +/- 2°C was achieved by using a multizone heating system on the top and bottom, with four different banks of heater cassettes and four fans, to ensure temperature uniformity. The cassettes were sheathed electrical heaters and produce 240kW.

The furnace is made of a steel structural frame and steel paneling. It is also highly insulated, to the extent that it is possible to touch the vast majority of the oven wall at a temperature marginally above that of ambient whilst the furnace is in operation, minimizing energy usage.

Aerothermal also designed and built in-house a plc control system with two controllers: one for the air temperature, one for the parts’ temperatures. When the manufacturing process is complete, the oven’s temperature is reduced by using a power-assisted ambient cooling system, through external ducts.

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