U.S. Patent Office Publishes Solar Manufacturing Patent Application

The management of Solar Manufacturing Inc. and affiliate company Solar Atmospheres Inc., recently announced that Solar Manufacturing inventors Robert J. Wilson and Robert F. Daley were notified by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that their Patent Application, Publication No. US2014/0042678 A1, for a new 20 Bar Super Quench Vacuum Furnace was published on February 13, 2014 and is now available to the public on the USPTO.gov website.

The published patent application, a first step in the patent process, contains 19 claims which detail the unique design of a horizontal, single chamber front loading vacuum heat treating furnace capable of in-situ gas quenching at pressures up to 20 bar and with cooling gas speeds reaching up to 200 mph.

One major advantage of the new design is the use of movable radiation baffle doors that prevent heat loss during heat cycles and open wide to avoid pressure drops during cooling cycles. The application of the open doors in combination with the use of a plenum fan arrangement, generous annular space for uniform gas flow, and a low static pressure loss nozzle design provide inert gas quenching capabilities typically achieved only with oil quenching by concentrating the available system horsepower on the task of producing a high nozzle exit velocity. The system also permits excellent cooling at lower pressures. Low pressure cooling is typically sacrificed by undersized fans normally selected for high pressure quench systems. The new system operates in a constant horsepower mode over a large range of quenching pressures.

Commercially, Solar Manufacturing’s first 20 bar high pressure quench vacuum heat treating furnace is currently in production at Solar Atmospheres of Western PA. The cooling rates are reported to be significantly better than any other high pressure gas quench furnace currently in production. According to Solar Atmospheres of Western PA President, Bob Hill, the new 20 Bar Super Quench furnace is “the fastest cooling furnace in the Solar fleet and one of only a few of its kind in the U.S. By adding the unique capabilities of the 20 bar quenching to our repertoire, we can now effectively process a wider range of materials and assist more customers than we could with our 10 bar furnaces.”

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