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Solar Atmospheres Inc.
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Solar Atmospheres Handles Critical Medical Parts and Beyond
SOUDERTON, Pa.—Solar Atmospheres Inc., offering metallurgical assistance, vacuum heat treating, and brazing services, is equipped with large furnaces that allow the company to process high quantities of material while reducing lot testing requirements and allowing for a better per-piece price schedule.
The company, which is AS9100 registered and Nadcap accredited, also offers metallurgical laboratory services and processes parts for medical, including prosthetics, guide wires, stents, surgical tools, hypodermics, and brazements for analytical devices.
The company (www.solaratm.com) helps customers by identifying the best vacuum processing parameters to achieve their end properties. In brazing, Solar Atmospheres is able to help customers design braze joints to assure the highest success rate in brazing.
Experience with minimizing distortion helps customers eliminate downstream straightening operations from their process, according to company representatives. In addition, many times the company can take measures to eliminate discoloration during heat treating, which also means no cleaning operations are needed later.
Many of Solar Atmosphere's furnaces are able to process at plus or minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The company is also able to expedite gas cooling, approaching the speed of oil quenching, which results in less distortion and clean part surfaces.
A recent customer came to Solar Atmospheres with a challenge because their current heat treat supplier was collapsing their thin walled tanks. Solar Atmospheres engineered a backfill system in several furnaces to eliminate the risk of collapsing the tanks.
Recently, the company installed a climate controlled room to process critical jobs. The room allows for a lower level of residual water vapor allowing for a deeper vacuum level during processing, which is especially useful in processing sensitive materials such as titanium and tantalum.
One such critical part is a Launch Abort System (LAS) part on the safety system of NASA's new Orion spacecraft. Solar Atmospheres is vacuum heat treating the part. The large manifold housing is made from 6Al 4V titanium and is designed to rapidly propel astronauts away from the main rocket in case of a catastrophic explosion.
"The welded component needed to be homogenously treated to ensure peak performance in the event the LAS would be needed," said Michael Johnson, sales manager at Solar Atmospheres, in a press release. "Precise temperature monitoring of the part and uniformity of the furnace was the easy part. Minimizing distortion and avoiding eutectics with the fixturing materials used was ultimately the real challenge."
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