Aluminum Heat Treating Furnaces
Aluminum and its various alloys are used in virtually every facet of the production of goods from aerospace to consumer products by virtue of its high strength to weight ratio.
In its pure state, aluminum is a relatively soft material that can be strengthened through the careful addition of small quantities of alloying materials. Alloy variations permit tailoring the properties of the base materials to suit the application. Prior to and after forming, heat treatment processes are used to facilitate the next step in manufacturing and are often the final step prior to delivery of the goods produced.
The process parameters for the heat treatment of aluminum alloys are determined by the responsible engineering organization depending upon the desired outcome and intended use. The aluminum metals industry in general and the aerospace industry in particular recognizes and adheres to processes as determined and promulgated through AMS process specifications.
The most commonly required heat treatment processes are solution heat treatment and precipitation or age hardening.
Solution heat treatment involves raising the alloy temperature to a point where alloy constituents dissolve back into “solution” within the aluminum base material. This process is temperature critical and requires highly accurate control of both temperature and time at temperature. Once the correct condition has been achieved the material is quenched quickly insuring that the materials previously dissolved remain “frozen” in solution.
Keith Company builds drop bottom furnaces for batch application and belt furnaces for continuous productions needs. These furnaces can be electrically heated or they can be fuel fired. For the air craft industry (no products of combustion can be in the air stream), we build indirect gas fired furnaces which typically have much lower firing costs compared to electric fired furnaces.
Precipitation or Age hardening makes use of the tendency of alloying materials to come back out of solution over time. This process occurs even without special treatment, but Aging ovens are generally used to speed the process thereby assuring the delivered product is fully hardened and ready to be used.
Keith manufactures a variety of furnaces designed to provide precision heat treating in batches or in continuous systems. All of our aluminum heat treatment products are produced to conform to relevant standards, typically AMS 2750 for equipment capabilities, and can be delivered with uniformity better than +/- 5°F and quench delay times less than 5 seconds from the moment the doors start to open. Keith Class 1 furnaces and ovens are truly Class 1 throughout the designed working space and provide accurate and repeatable results time after time.