Furnace System Designed for Diffusion Bonding, Hardening of Large Molds

Refrac Systems has contracted with two firms to design and build a gas-fan-quench-cooled vacuum hot press that will allow for direct diffusion bonding of large, conformally cooled plastic injection molds followed by quench hardening.

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Refrac Systems has contracted with Solar Manufacturing (Souderton, Pennsylvania) and Beckwood Press & Machinery/Triform (St. Louis, Missouri) to design and build a gas-fan-quench-cooled vacuum hot press that will allow for direct diffusion bonding of large, conformally cooled plastic injection molds followed by quench hardening.

The new furnace will accommodate molds as large as 36" × 31.5" × 50" and weighing as much as 3,500 lbs (as well as the additional 1,500 lbs of required furnace tooling press platens that keep everything flat). It has 5"-diameter “hot rams” with a 36" stroke length for easy loading of molds with varying heights. The 5,000-lb total load rating is based on using an 80/20 helium/argon mixture as the quench gas. A variable-frequency drive controls a 150-hp gas fan drive motor for optimum heat rejection into a 6-million-Btu/hr. quench gas radiator.

The furnace system, which is based on a derivative of Solar’s standard 2-bar internally quenched HFL-5748-2IQ furnace design, is undergoing final wiring and testing, and is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2017.