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Solar Atmospheres Inc.
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Solar Atmospheres of California Adds LPVC Services
FONTANA, Calif.—Solar Atmospheres of California (www.solaratm.com) recently announced that it has added low pressure vacuum carburizing (LPVC) to its repertoire of vacuum heat treating, air tempering, and cryogenic services offered at its Fontana, Calif., plant.
Carburizing, a common surface treatment for critical steel parts that are subjected to the most demanding performance requirements, is performed to significantly increase the surface hardness and strength of steel parts for improved friction and wear. But low-pressure vacuum carburizing, according to Solar Atmospheres, offers a level of precision not available in conventional atmospheric equipment. By incorporating state-of-the-art microprocessors for cycle control, optimization, and repeatability, the process provides the ability to pre-program critical cycle parameters, including the multiple pre-determined boost/diffuse pulsing and cool down sequences.
According to the company, performing LVPC in a vacuum furnace eliminates oxygen during processing, thereby preventing the occurrence of intergranular oxidation (IGO) that is inherent in atmospheric carburizing. This produces a high-integrity case and eliminates the need to remove IGO, which can drastically reduce the fatigue strength and life of the parts. The prevention of IGO and the use of hydrogen gas in the heat-up and carburizing boost stage of the cycle, combined with the computerized processing controls, is reported to provide a process that produces extremely uniform and repeatable case depths and microstructures. Clean parts and less distortion minimize post process finishing operations, thus reducing costs.
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