Solutions for the automotive industry
The traditional automotive industry has already chosen to use several Seco/Warwick solutions, such as the CMe and CMe-T vacuum furnaces, the Pit-LPC pit vacuum furnace, and the 4D Quench vacuum system for nitrogen quenching of individual mechanical gear parts.
The family of CMe vacuum furnaces is designed for semi-continuous case-hardening by means of low-pressure carburising and quenching in oil or gas, as well as for through hardening. The CaseMaster Evolution – T (CMe-T), the product of 2020, deserves some special attention here. This three-chamber vacuum furnace hardens surfaces using low-pressure carburising and high-pressure nitrogen quenching technologies. The CMe-T furnace can replace the existing lines and generators used for mass heat-treatment in controlled atmosphere and oil quenching, while ensuring higher precision and process repeatability. The distinguishing feature of this solution is improved process quality improvement and cost reduction. Thanks to doubling the performance and higher production flexibility, it has become a desirable solution for the automotive industry. Last year, this was a top solution in India, chosen by an Indian manufacturer of heat exchangers, among many others.
The Pit- LPC technology is popular among those manufacturers who need to carburise massive or longitudinal elements, such as gears, bearings, and other pieces requiring thick carburising layers. This equipment guarantees three main advantages: cost reduction, production increases, and finally, safety and protection of the environment. All this is possible solely to running the process in vacuum at higher temperatures. This state-of-the-art solution meets the most stringent environmental standards, while increasing work safety by eliminating the use of flammable and explosive atmosphere. An important consideration from the point of view of the automotive sector, is that we also get high process uniformity, ensuring better quality of the work being processed.
The 4D Quench is a vacuum heat treatment system designed for individual nitrogen quenching of single elements of mechanical gearboxes, such as gears, shafts, rings, sleeves, etc., made of standard and custom case- and through-hardened steels. It significantly improves precision and repeatability of the heat treatment results while reducing production costs. It provides vacuum heating followed by powerful and uniform nitrogen quenching, resulting in distortion control and reduction with high repeatability of the final result.
The electric car industry is not slowing down
Seco/Warwick is a leader of CAB technology, which has been consistently popular among electric car manufacturers. For several decades, this has been the automotive industry’s technology of choice for manufacturing aluminum heat exchangers.
The projected growth of electric car use and the associated surge in demand for battery coolers bodes very well for the aluminium brazing and heat treatment segment. Numerous installations worldwide, technical experience, and an innovative approach make the CAB solutions by Seco/Warwick the technology of choice for soldering radiator plates for hybrid (HEV) and electric vehicle (EV) batteries. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, Seco/Warwick received several large orders to supply CAB lines for this application.
Real savings for hard times
Given the current market situation and declines in production, the automotive industry must seek to introduce systems that produce significant savings without sacrificing quality. With Seco/Warwick vacuum solutions, the entire automotive sector could save billions of €/a.
According to an analysis carried out on this subject by the Bremen Institut für Werkstofftechnik starting in 1995, the cost of adjustments amounted to ca. 850 million €/a in the German automotive and gearbox industry alone, and 1 billion €/a in the bearing sector. That is why it is so important to use equipment that shortens process time, eliminates material deformation, and ensures high quality of the final product at optimum cost.