For Immediate Release – April 1999

Thermal Technology put a new laboratory furnace into production at a lamp manufacturer in the United States. The small lamp components are processed in the lab furnace to enhance the life and performance of the products. Due to the small size of the components and the need for a versatile system to support their research and development efforts, the customer selected a lab furnace model 1100-4080-W4 for precise, well controlled, high-temperature processing.

Thermal Technology worked closely with the customer to develop the specifications for the furnace. The system is based on a standard refractory metal vacuum furnace with a tungsten heating element 4.0″ diameter x 8.0″ high, rated for a maximum temperature greater than 2800°C in vacuum, hydrogen, nitrogen or inert gases.

Temperature is controlled by a Honeywell two-channel programmable controller. A type C thermocouple is the control sensor for operation at temperatures up to 1600°C. When the furnace is operated above 1600°C, the thermocouple is automatically retracted by a pneumatic actuator and control is switched to a Ircon two-color pyrometer. Process parameters are recorded by a Honeywell 4 channel digital process recorder.

Process gases are controlled by Thermal Technology’s GSS-97 combustible gas control and safety system. The GSS-97 system controls hydrogen and other process gases such as nitrogen, argon and helium. During operation, the system will detect the development of various unsafe conditions (should they occur), change the operating mode to a safe condition and activate the appropriate alarm(s). The system includes a dual element pilot flame starter for H2 burn-off and a current monitoring circuit.

Thousands of Thermal Technology’s furnaces are in production and research and development facilities around the world. These furnaces are available in standard and custom configurations to meet high-temperature requirements.

The vacuum pumping system consists of a Varian Turbo-V550 turbomolecular pump and a Varian 300 dry scroll forepump for oilless evacuation of the furnace chamber. This system allows the furnace to operate at temperature with vacuum levels in the 10-7 torr scale.