Solar Atmospheres retrofits vacuum furnace for MIM and sinter-based AM

September 28, 2021

The as-purchased VFS HL50 vacuum furnace (left) and the upgraded furnace (right) with a new hot zone and pumping technology (Courtesy Solar Atmospheres of Western PA)

Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, Hermitage, Pennsylvania, USA, reports it has successfully retrofitted a pre-owned vacuum furnace with a new hot zone and pumping technology to enable the furnace to be used for Metal Injection Moulding and sinter-based Additive Manufacturing processing. The upgrade is designed to minimise the impact of detrimental binders on the furnace during sintering cycles.

For the project, the company purchased a used VFS HL50 external quench vacuum furnace at auction, with the specific goal of retrofitting an older furnace with new technology. Solar Manufacturing, based in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, and led by owner and CEO William Jones, designed the apparatus needed to consolidate the binders into one central location, thus minimising the cleaning downtime often experienced.

The update included a completely new hot zone, a binder pumping port and a second vacuum pump.

The company stated that, by mid-October, high-volume MIM sinter jobs will be fully transferred from current Solar vacuum furnaces to this dedicated and refurbished vacuum furnace. After multiple sintering runs, Solar will then have the data to compare the downtime of a traditional vacuum furnace versus the newly designed debind & sinter modifications. Solar added that it intends to share its findings after the completion of these test runs.

In the latest issue of PIM International…

Download PDF

Extensive MIM, CIM industry and sinter-based AM industry news, plus the following exclusive deep-dive articles and reports:

  • Calling all product designers: Discover what Metal Injection Moulding could do for you through these award-winning parts
  • Binder Jetting of a dual-phase steel: Process insight and optimisation using the Master Sintering Curve
  • The rise of filament-based metal AM: New materials and machines present opportunities for MIM producers
  • Sinter-based Additive Manufacturing at the 20th Plansee Seminar on Refractory Metals and Hard Materials
  • Ceramitec 2022: Opportunities abound for producers of technical ceramics by CIM and AM

The latest news from the MIM, CIM and sinter-based AM industries

Don't miss any new issue of PIM International, and stay up to date with the latest industry news. Sign up to our fortnightly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free-to-access PIM International magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of MIM, CIM and sinter-based AM from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.


    Browse the archive


    Looking for suppliers of materials, production equipment and finished MIM, CIM or sinter-based AM parts?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of PIM International.

    • Metal powders
    • MIM, CIM & AM parts producers
    • Binders & feedstocks
    • Feedstock mixers
    • Furnaces & furnace supplies
    • Atmospheres & gas generation
    • HIP systems & services
    • Injection moulding machines
    • AM technology
    • Debinding systems
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap