A few weeks back during a visit to Aichelin in Austria (the largest atmosphere furnace builder in the world) we were introduced to heatXpress a product the company has been offering for several years now but which does not get a great deal of publicity in the heat treating industry. Basically it is a step chain conveyor furnace which is gaining a lot of acceptance in the automotive industry for the hot forming of car body parts-this is the official explanation;

The hot forming of car body parts in the automotive industry sets new standards for component properties in series production. Complex components can be produced economically with very high repeatability and superior forming qualities. The heatXpress press hardening furnace offers superior flexibility, precision and availability and is the optimum transport system for press hardening of blanks, pipes & other pre-formed profiles.” The Aichelin facility has a complete R & D test facility for the product and we found it a fascinating system although it is quite different than a standard heat treating furnace. In this photo we see from the left; , Philipp Krenn, Christoph Schneider, Gord Montgomery and Gunter Rennhofer