Electrical Box Retort Furnace for De-Bindering Ceramic Composites

L&L Special Furnace Co., Inc. has received an order for a large retort box furnace used for de-bindering ceramic composite pre-peg materials along with powder metals processing and hot isostatic processing.

The main function o­­­f the furnace is to remove all organics and other materials used in the product prior to placing in a high-fire vacuum chamber. This de-bindering process is extremely important and allows for a finished product that is a very strong, lightweight part.

The XLC3648 has a work zone of 29” wide by 29” high by 35” deep. It has a temperature uniformity of ±20°F at 1,100°F using six zones of temperature control with biasing to balance any temperature gradients.

The furnace is constructed of low-mass insulation that allows for quicker cooldown times. It has a venturI cooling blower that will also aid in cooling, and is controlled by a Eurotherm program control with overtemperature protection. There is also a programmable flow panel to manage the nitrogen flow throughout the process.

The parts are a ceramic matrix composite (CMC), which is a series of ceramic threads that are bound together and woven by a 3D printing system. These parts can be made into very intricate aircraft sub-assemblies for the smaller units as well as large engine parts. For more information,  see our What Are CMCs article.

The parts are heated to 1,220°F in a retort chamber that is pressurized with nitrogen. The byproducts of the outgassing part are directed by pressure and flow out of the rear of the furnace. After de-bindering, the parts are then heated in a vacuum furnace to temperatures in excess of 2,300°F. The result is a super-strong component that is more resilient and lighter than titanium.

All L&L furnaces can be configured with various options and be specifically tailored to meet your thermal needs. We also offer furnaces equipped with pyrometry packages to meet ASM2750E and soon-to-be-certified MedAccred guidelines.

Options include a variety of control and recorder configurations. A three-day, all-inclusive startup service is included with each system within the continental US and Canada. International startup and training service is available by factory quote.

If precise temperature control and uniformity is a key to your process, then L&L’s XLC series is a great choice.