Elnik launches new laboratory-sized MIM furnace
May 15, 2016
Elnik Systems LLC., a market leader in the production of vacuum sintering furnaces for Metal Injection Moulding, has launched a new laboratory furnace for MIM part and process development. The furnace has a useable volume of 16 litres and a footprint of 252 cm x 196 cm x 324 cm including the afterburner.
Stefan Joens, Vice President of Elnik Systems, told PIM International, “Over the last five or more years we saw the need to develop a true laboratory sized Metal Injection Moulding furnace that offers all the same functionality and testing parameters as a full sized production furnace. With the development of the MIM3001L laboratory furnace, we have answered the demand for a furnace that can provide real test results that are similar to those of a production furnace. It provides its users with the ability to scale up to production processing without having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when it comes to scaling up production and switching to one of our full sized furnaces.”
With the development of the MIM3001L laboratory furnace, we have answered the demand for a furnace that can provide real test results that are similar to those of a production furnace
The system is designed so that once a successful profile has been developed for a particular part or material, it is easy to move that same profile to a full sized production furnace. Joens stated, “The only real adjustment needed would be the amount of gas usage throughout the profile to accommodate the additional size and material of a production sized load.”
The MIM3001L lab furnace was developed to offer the same advanced functionality as its larger production sized furnace family members and this furnace incorporates many of the features found on Elnik’s popular MIM3000 series furnaces. This includes the utilisation of a similar retort gas plenum construction that allows for shortest distance gas flow with even gas flow per process shelf. Users have the ability to program any segment with hydrogen, argon, nitrogen or forming gas. “Utilising mass flow controllers for both hotzone and retort locations allows the user to have ultimate control,” stated Joens.
All the control thermocouples in the furnace use Elnik’s proprietary AccuTemp™ control functionality, allowing the furnace to achieve very tight temperature control in each of its heating zones. This, stated Elnik, provides the user with the ability to reach high part densities by being able to program the furnace to run very close to the material’s solidus temperature without overshooting.
The furnace’s control system uses the same Excel based program builder as the larger MIM3000 system, making it simple and easy for a user to program the furnace with any control parameter they see fit. As the furnace has the ability to operate under a hydrogen environment at partial vacuum pressure, Elnik has incorporated all its standard safety features to ensure proper customer safety.
The furnace is designed to operate at up to 1,600°C under vacuum. It is supplied ready to be outfitted with a diffusion pump for high vacuum processing, with typical vacuum ranges being 1x 10-5 or 10-6 mbar. There are also numerous ports to outfit SAT or TUS thermocouples for process control and analysis.
“The usability and functionality of the MIM3001L furnace makes it the ideal laboratory furnace to be used at universities, research and development organisations, feedstock manufacturers, small batch MIM part makers and any MIM part maker that is looking for a furnace to perform reliable test runs. As with any of our furnaces, usability and flexibility were part of the groundwork when developing this Lab furnace,” stated Joens.