Advancing Additive Manufacturing with Multiple Vacuum Heat-Treating Systems

The Challenge

This customer's fundamental belief is that every piece of equipment, no matter its size, plays an instrumental role in helping them advance industrial technology.

As they witnessed the staggering growth of additive technologies, they decided to bridge the gap between their various businesses with the development of a new, centralized additive manufacturing facility. Their goal was to advance technology and create improved parts. This meant investing in the right equipment and finding a like-minded company that could partner with them in this pursuit.

Additive manufacturing is an involved process, and they needed equipment to cover the entire manufacturing gamut. One of those building blocks was a vacuum heat-treating system. However, innovation needed to apply to more than just the new facility and the parts they developed. The customer also wanted the furnace they purchased to reflect the principles they valued: a streamlined design, predictive maintenance capabilities and advanced process technology.

Winning Outcomes

After extensive collaboration and discussion of their goals, production requirements and so on, they were presented with several heat treatment solutions, including the TITAN® H6 vacuum furnace which addressed their key needs.

Throughout this collaborative process, the customer found the support and advanced equipment they were looking for. One of the features that made the suggested furnace an ideal fit for their state-of-the-art facility was its predictive maintenance capabilities. This integration with predictive maintenance meant that operators could better predict when future maintenance would be required and schedule it so there wouldn't be any unplanned downtime. Other features included the ability to monitor: 

Trend Amperage and Voltage
Helps operators make a more informed  decision on when to maintain and/or replace  the insulation based on wear and tear. 

Resistance to Ground
Provides a more accurate indication of when element supports and/or ceramics will need  to be replaced. 

Leak Rate 
Helps increase the life span of the hot zone by verifying the leak rate. 

They ended up purchasing two TITAN H6 systems to cure the metal-printed parts. Once the parts heated up, they could then be easily separated from the support plate. From its modular platform to flexibility of processes and ease of use, it offered the solutions they were looking for. With a 36" x 36" x 48" (915 mm x  915 mm x 1,220 mm) hot zone and a 3,000-pound (1,361 kg) load capacity, these furnaces were up to the challenge of heat treating almost any part this customer could think of creating through additive manufacturing. 

With the incorporation of this predictive maintenance technology, the customer can avoid thousands of dollars in lost production as the operators now have the flexibility to schedule maintenance at optimum times. This, in turn, helps them maximize uptime and avoid disruptions to production.

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