Gear Technology Magazine

Solar Atmospheres Breaks Ground in California

May 19, 2010

Solar Atmospheres, Inc. recently broke ground on May 3, 2010, for their new plant site in Fontana, California.  This new addition to the Solar Group will bring a "green field" vacuum heat treating and brazing facility to the West Coast.  According to William R. Jones, CEO, Solar Atmospheres, Inc., "This was a major and serious decision considering the current market conditions, but the project will definitely be worth it in the long run."

The new site is located in San Bernardino County and is approximately 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The building itself will be a total of 25,000 square feet with a two-story office building included.  The plant will be equipped with roof skylights, a poured cement foundation and insulated frame work.  All of the vacuum furnaces will be powered by an electric, three-mega watt, power entrance from Edison Electric.  Required process gases will be supplied by Air Products.   Water cooling for the furnaces will be a single-close loop, air cooled heat exchanger that will be providing 1500 gal/minute.  Also, the building will include two 10-ton, full span bridge cranes that will service the entire facility.

The furnaces for the new plant are now being constructed by Solar's sister company, Solar Manufacturing.  The new plant will start out with four production furnaces of varying sizes. The first is a 24 foot deep, high performance, car bottom type vacuum furnace with a load capacity of 50,000 lbs. The second is a six foot deep, 10 bar quenching capability, high vacuum furnace that can process up to 3,000 lbs. loads.  This furnace will allow us to process many types of parts, including those requiring our patented low pressure vacuum carburizing service.  The third furnace is a five foot deep, 2 bar cooling, high vacuum furnace.  The new site will also have a five foot deep re-circulating air temper furnace.  It is anticipated that these furnaces will serve many industries within the greater Southern California area. Included in these industries would be aerospace, high end metallurgy, such as titanium, tantalum and columbium, alloys of stainless steel, and the heat treatment of tool steels.

Solar Atmospheres of California is expected to have about 30 employees within the first two years of operation.  Although the primary employment will be from the local area, selected specialists will be relocating from the Solar East Coast plants to assist in the initial plant start-up.  Sales are projected to be $12 million in two years.  The official opening date of this new state-of-the-art facility is expected to be the first week of September, 2010.