Vacuum Carburizing in a Pit Furnace?

We at “The Monty” are very familiar with Low Pressure Carburizing (LPC) or Vacuum Carburizing as we generally prefer to call the process but to date we don’t believe we have seen such a process in a pit furnace. Typically what we see are horizontal style vacuum furnaces with a carburizing atmosphere added, although in the early days ECM did offer a vertical style system.

According to this press release SECO/WARWICK is now offering a LPC system in a pit furnace called Pit-LPC, the advantage for some users being that you can process large diameter parts, gears being an obvious example. Mark Hemsath of SECO, USA has these comments and below them is the original press release.

“As with all LPC, it is critical to have our software and recipe simulator which is well proven with many years of experience.  Combined with this new design of a Pit vacuum furnace for quenching in a standard, separate pit-style oil quench, It is now economical to apply LPC and its benefits to vertical, deep case vacuum carburizing. What is unique about the Pit-LPC is that we are able take the furnace to atmospheric pressure prior to load removal, in order to allow for overhead load removal and transfer of the load to an existing or purchased vertical, pit-style oil quench bath.  This transfer is identical to what users of pit furnaces do today.”

SECO/WARWICK Press Release; “Pit LPC Alternative for atmosphere carburizing, which achieved the maximum of its possibilities. Pit-LPC = cost reduction, taking care of the environment, production increase – all this is possible due to the process being carried out in vacuum and in higher temperatures. The state-of-the-art solution meets the most stringent ecological standards, while increasing the work safety through elimination of flammable and explosive atmosphere. High homogeneity of the process parameters has a direct effect on the thickness of the carbonized layer and, as a result, on the quality of the processed detail.”

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Gord Montgomery, Mark Hemsath