Good Air Quality Is Essential For Productivity In The Workplace

Is your business experiencing a high level of absenteeism/respiratory illness, complaints about unpleasant odors and an unpleasant work environment? Your air quality could be to blame. Poor air quality is a big deal in the USA, with employees missing over 14 million days of work each year as a result of asthma alone!

And improving air quality isn’t just about healthier employees who take fewer sick days – great ventilation and healthy air actively impacts on employee productivity. A 2015 Harvard study showed that people who work in environments with a healthy, adequate air source scored higher points (almost double!) on cognitive function than those that don’t. This makes a very real impact on smart decision-making, creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Causes of Poor Office Air Quality 

Air quality within a commercial property can suffer for many reasons, but the most common include:

  • Insufficient ventilation: Buildings need to circulate fresh, clean air effectively if you want your employees working at their best. Signs of inadequate ventilation include stale air, odors, and stuffiness.
  • VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are chemical contaminants that can circulate in the air within a building and can be toxic to your health as well as creating an unpleasant work environment. These contaminants can contribute to chronic respiratory conditions, including asthma and allergies, as well as causing headaches, dizziness and nausea. Common VOCs include pollutants from outside the building/industry, benzene, and formaldehyde.
  • Mold: Any building can become affected by mold, and buildings that have a history of floods, water leaks and poor air quality are especially vulnerable. Any moisture can start a mold infestation, and common areas affected include basements, bathrooms, and ventilation systems. Buildings with mold problems often lead to respiratory problems and allergic reactions, as well as eye irritation, sinus problems, skin rashes and congestion for those working in the affected environment.

Air Conditioning Installation from HVAC Specialists in New Jersey 

If you suspect that your air conditioning system is not providing you with high quality air, it’s important that you have it professionally addressed. At Crosstown Plumbing Supply, we have a wide range of high-efficiency central air systems, condensers, dehumidifiers and ductless air conditioning systems that offer exceptional temperature control and air quality while using minimal energy.

For more information on our air conditioning and HVAC system solutions, as well as to have any of your cooling system air questions answered, please visit our website at

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The Use of Furnaces in 3D Printing

While manufacturers scramble to realize the full promise of 3D metal printing with new methods, better throughput and more accuracy, a survey of 3d Printing technology in 2017 shows that Powder Bed Fusion, or Direct Energy Deposition methods still dominate most equipment. Both these methods require a sintering phase where the printed part is purged of catalysts, and non-uniformities introduced during the printing process.

3D Printing Processes

In metal 3d printing, the dominant form of printing is currently powder bed fusion, in which a laser (SLM) or electron beam (EBM) fuses particles of metal powder together point by point, layer by layer until an object is grown into final form. Powder bed fusion systems are designed to control both the energy source and the distribution of powder.

powder bed fusion process
A diagram of the powder bed fusion process. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Directed energy deposition (DED) and binder jetting are also used to 3D print metal objects. In the case of the former, powder or a metal wire feedstock is introduced to an energy source. In the case of the latter, a liquid binder is deposited onto a bed of metal powder. After the print is complete, the object is heat treated and sintered in a furnace.

DED processes
Various configurations of DED processes. (Images courtesy of Wikipedia.)

A Sintering Furnace Solution for 3D Printing

Despite the fact that the best 3d Metal Printing Systems cost north of $300K, the 3d printed parts still require careful thermal sintering and/or heat treatment to help them achieve proper size, hardness and density. This is regardless of what process produces them. Failure to manage this critical finishing step properly can yield parts with internal flaws that compromise integrity, or parts that require excessive mechanical finishing.

Selecting a Furnace for finishing your parts is largely a function of what kinds of metals your will process (temperature), what kind of atmosphere you will heat them in, (air, hydrogen, nitrogen), and what kind of throughput you need in your production or lab environment.

Here are a couple of the most common CM furnaces used in the finishing of 3d metal printed parts:

CM Rapid Temp Series – One of the most flexible furnace designs on the market, these batch furnaces come in box furnace or tube furnace forms in multiple sizes. Available with sealed atmosphere chambers and temperature ranges from 1200 to 1800 degrees Celsius.

CM 400 series continuous furnace – This furnace is a better choice for medium to high volume production environments. With multiple heating zones, atmosphere sealed chambers, and sophisticated thermal profile automation, the furnace is both reliable and customizable.

All CM furnaces are designed and manufactured right here in the USA. For more information on furnaces suitable for your 3D printing process, contact CM furnaces today.

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3D Printing for High Volume Production

Additive manufacturing or “3D printing” has come a long way since originally introduced in the 1980’s as a method to conveniently create prototype parts out of plastic.. Additive manufacturing can now be used with various materials including metal and ceramics, giving injection molders an alternative process for building parts. With new, highly sophisticated 3d printers for metal printing, the ability to print metal, three-dimensional parts from a computer aided design (CAD) file has become cost effective for both prototyping and some production environments. While startup costs can be high, the convenience of additive manufacturing with the added potential of volume production is forcing traditional fabrication shops to change their mindset about the role of 3d printing, and the technology is being embraced by major manufacturers like GE, Honeywell, IBM and others.

Metal Printed Parts Still Require Heat Treatment

Additive manufacturing capabilities are maturing, providing high volume manufacturing options to various industrial processes, including metal injection molding. 3D printers today are manufacturing parts faster than ever before, with the capacity to fill furnaces quickly thus requiring a large capacity furnace for high volume production.
Metal injection molding companies have long been familiar with the use of CM furnaces in the finishing of metal parts.It turns out that the finishing of 3d printed parts is very similar, requiring post formation processes that will both purify and harden metal printed parts.

Typically these processes include debinding and/or sintering to remove binders and gases that finalize the size and hardness of the product. Debinding is required to remove most of the binder that chemically bonds the metal powder throughout the molding process. Upon completion of the debinding process, the resulting part is about the same size but typically 20% less dense than the original part, and will usually change from a greenish tint to a typical brown metal color, similar to what is observed in the finishing of injection molded parts.
After debinding, the metal parts will be ready for sintering and moved through the sintering furnace. The sintering furnace will precisely control the temperature to remove any remaining binder and gases, and sinter the parts to the final part specifications. Many parts will shrink during this process depending on their material properties. Metal additive manufacturing can produce a wide variety of parts composed of various metals including Copper, Brass Bronze, Nickel, Silver, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Manganese, Chromium, Titanium, Aluminum Oxide or even Ceramics.

Sintering and Debinding Furnaces for both Batch and Production Environments

CM Furnaces manufactures a wide selection of high performing furnaces used in precision manufacturing operations around the world. All our equipment is designed and manufactured in the USA and we’ve been a leader in production furnace manufacturing for over 70 years. We provide sophisticated yet flexible solutions to some of the most challenging metal injection molding and metal additive manufacturing processes in the world. We have a furnace to suit your application no matter the material, the temperature profiles, or the size of your production run.
For batch processing in the lab or light production environments, our CM Rapid Temp series of box and tube furnaces, can accommodate a wide range of temperature and atmosphere requirements, from 1200° through 1800° depending on your material properties and part specifications. These furnaces can be either front or bottom loading and come with sophisticated programming options as well as high quality Kanthal heating elements.

For real production environments, variations of our CM 400 series continuous furnace, have long been a go-to solution for medium to high volume MIM production environments. With multiple heating zones, atmosphere sealed chambers, and sophisticated thermal profile automation, there are almost no requirements these workhorse machines can’t be made to accommodate.

CM Furnaces has been manufacturing furnaces in the United States for over 70 years, satisfying customer specifications with high performance furnace equipment since 1946. Our machines help OEMs realize cost savings through efficient heat treatment of large scale production parts. The core value of our company and our products is quality, and you will find only the most durable and robust design choices inside our furnaces. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable technician about heat treating your additive manufactured metal parts for low or high-volume production. Visit for more information.

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MIM Process Overview – MIM Furnace Criteria

In MIM design there are many variations of the initial forming process where MIM manufacturers add their particular process differentiators.  Whether your processes involves metals or ceramics, the key to reproducible production of precise metal parts requires a carefully planned and controlled sintering/debinding operation.

Molding plastic parts is similar to molding metal parts in many ways such as designing draft on features or radii on edges to improve the moldability of a part.  But in the case of a metal injection molded part, greater attention needs to be paid towards the need for smooth material flow through the entire part creation process. This process also requires that the parts be carefully supported throughout the debinding and sintering process.

MIM Part Creation Overview

After the part design is agreed upon, the MIM tool is designed. During this process, gates and vents are added to the part, and ejector pins (to push the finished part out of the tool) are selected and placed. The mold designer also adds side-actions for any undercuts. MIM tools are fabricated using a combination of CNC milling and electrical-discharge machining (EDM). After milling, the tool is polished by hand to customer specifications. The finished tool is loaded into a metal injection molding press for green part production. A MIM press is nearly identical to a standard plastic injection-molding press, with a special screw and barrel designed to reduce separation of the binder and the metal powder during injection. Pellets of MIM feedstock are loaded into the hopper of the machine; they are then volumetrically metered into an injection barrel with a screw similar to an injection-molding press. Once the pellets are heated (through use of electric heaters and screw motion), the barrel is placed against the tool and the feedstock is injected. After solidification, the parts are ejected from the press and the cycle repeats.

The MIM Furnace’s Role in Sintering & Debinding

After ejection, green parts are de-gated and placed on ceramic substrates which help retain the shape of the part throughout the debinding and sintering process. Pallets of green parts are loaded into a debind oven (like our CM 400 continuous MIM furnace) to remove most of the binder that carries the metal powder through the injection-molding process; the binder is about 20 percent of the feedstock volume. The length of time required for debinding is a function of the thickest section of the part, as the binder must migrate all the way out of the part. At the end of the debinding process, the resulting brown part is approximately the same size as the green part, but only 80 percent dense. Just enough binder remains to keep the powder particles together, so the brown part is quite fragile. Typically, pallets of parts are moved directly from the debind oven into a sintering furnace. This can be accomplished automatically at high volume with a furnace like our CM 400 Continuuous Hydrogen Pusher Furnace Series . The furnace precisely controls the temperature, cover gas profile required to remove the remaining binder, and sinter the parts into the final product. During the final cycle, parts shrink about 20 percent into their final size. After sintering, secondary operations may be performed and the parts are ready for QA and shipping.

Advantages of MIM Part prototyping

  • MIM offers rapid prototyping now, with costs much less than typical proto-metal houses.
  • Ability to produce high volumes of complex parts
  • Relatively low production cost compared to several other metalforming technologies
  • If your part is destined for mass production in MIM, the ability to resolve manufacturability issues during the design/prototype stage using the same process as you will use in production, is a big advantage.
  • Produces a clean surface finish
  • MIM is a Consistent and reliable process.


For more information see our MIM Furnace Process Overview or contact a CM Furnace representative today.

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High Temperature Kilns and Furnace Considerations

Guys who’ve been doing ceramics for decades tend to call everything a kiln. Back in the day you could point to some differences between a ceramic kiln and a high temp furnace used for metallurgy. A Kiln had a slow heat-up, a soak period, and a slow cool-down that minimized thermal shock to what were usually thermally sensitive ceramic materials. Metallic materials had little sensitivity to thermal shock and featured relatively fast heating and cooling cycles.

But today the lines are indeed blurred as the modern kiln and furnace converge. The increased resilience of modern ceramic materials and the increased programming flexibility of furnace models now accommodate both processes. Today the terms, and indeed the machines, are often used interchangeably.

High Temperature Production Kiln Design Considerations

In analyzing requirements, both heating and gas elements are considered, including discharge gases. For heating, the ability to heat in a batch or continuous fashion any process material to a desired temperature at a desired rate for a desired soak time and them cool it down at another rate with the ability to perform many cycles of heating/cooling.

Continuous vs. batch furnaces are perhaps an even more basic production furnace consideration. Throughput considerations are key as are power considerations.  It takes a lot more power and time to heat up a cold furnace than it does one that is already warm.

Special atmosphere’s are another consideration. Typically they include the need for a minimum or maximum oxygen content or dew point and a particular process or protective atmosphere such as Hydrogen (reducing), Argon or Nitrogen. The ultimate temperature, heating cycle and atmoshphere required for the process  drive the size, type, and power of the kiln required.

Another considering for furnace designs has also become power and efficiency. No longer a secondary concern in a world trying to reduce carbon emissions, for many manufacturer’s the power requirements of a programmable kiln are a key purchase consideration. Efficiency numbers for materials and furnace heating elements will and should be scrutinized.


CM Furnace Kilns for Batch and Production Processing

CM Furnaces see use as both kilns for ceramic processes, and batch or production furnaces in hundreds of industries and applications. We’ve been selling our version of heavy duty, long lasting production furnaces made in the USA for over 70 years.


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High-Temperature Sintering Furnaces for Production

For production sintering operations, certain furnace design considerations are common regardless of whether you are working in metals, ceramics, or glass and regardless of what industry you work in. In order to achieve compression without liquification, accurate temperature control and careful atmosphere monitoring are essential to uniformity and throughput.

Furnaces for normal sintering applications are often continuous-belt furnaces like our CM 600 Series. This type of furnace automatically conveys the parts through the furnace on an alloy belt. Mesh-belt furnaces however are usually not used above 2100°F/1100°C due to the limitations of the metallic alloy belt and muffle.

Instead at higher temperatures, furnace construction moves to designs like “pusher furnaces” or “walking beam furnaces”. In a pusher furnace, a series of boats or plates typically move material through the furnace by pushing up against one another in a continuous train, pausing only long enough to remove or add a boat at the ends of the line.  A walking-beam furnace utilizes a pusher mechanism to bring the boat into the furnace and place it on the beams. These beams are analogous to a series of rails. The rails are on cams, which lift up, forward and down, essentially walking the boat or carrier through the furnace. At the exit end, the boats are then commonly transferred onto a belt for the cooling section.

In both the pusher and walking-beam furnace there is a high degree of automation. This automation allows the operator to run multiple furnaces. A return conveyor runs the length of the furnace, connecting the entrance and exit ends. This return conveyor is where the operator will load and unload product. The boats/carriers are automatically conveyed around the furnace.  The return conveyor delivers the boats to a furnace entrance crossfeed. This crossfeed then moves the boats in front of the main pushing device. The boats are then pushed through the furnace at a constant speed. Upon exiting the furnace the boats move in front of an exit crossfeed, which delivers them back to the return conveyor.

The advantage of this type of furnace for high volume operations, is guaranteed throughput and repeatability. Every boat goes through a given profile at a constant speed. This ensures that every part will see the exact same conditions. The parts enter the furnace at room temperature and exit at room temperature. The interior of the furnace is in a protective atmosphere. Therefore, oxidation is not a problem.

The CM Furnace Solution to Continuous Sintering for Production

The CM 600 Series furnaces are available in a variety of configurations from manually loaded lab-scale units to fully automated production systems. The two basic system configurations are continuous belt furnaces and pusher style furnaces. Both types utilize nickel alloy muffles in the entrance and heated section.

These furnaces can be used for either inert or reducing atmosphere applications. The furnaces are constructed of heavy gauge steel that is welded and reinforced. All power components and controls are located on the main frame assembly. Ceramic plate heaters with embedded Kanthal A1 wire serve as heating elements. A high alumina fiber insulation package provides for efficient operation.

Controls include a microprocessor based temperature controller, a zero cross-over SCR power controller, type “N” thermocouples, and independent overtemperature instrumentation.

Please visit our  page about our CM 600 series of Continuous Atmosphere Furnaces for Sintering and many other applications.  Or contact our sales team today to discuss your requirements at (973) 338-6500.

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Sintering Furnace Selection Considerations

High-temperature sintering furnaces are utilized in powder metallurgy for sintering stainless steel and, in some cases, iron-based materials. They are exclusively used in refractory-metal fabrication of molybdenum, tungsten and rhenium. High-temperature sintering furnaces are also utilized in the nuclear-fuel industry for sintering uranium oxide. The ceramic industry has always used high-temperature processes for sintering, co-firing and metallizing.

To properly select and size a continuous high-temperature furnace, a number of qualifying questions must be answered.

  • What is the operating temperature?
  • Is there an existing profile?
  • What is the process atmosphere?
  • What size furnace opening is required?
  • What is the boat/carrier size?
  • What is the mass of the component?
  • What is the material being processed (if not proprietary)?
  • What is the required output?

The answers to these questions will determine the size of the furnace and determine which style of furnace best suits your production needs.

Many furnace manufacturers have standard-size furnaces that they have built in the past. Most, however, customize the furnace to the client’s needs. Because the units are produced one at a time, it is not difficult to have the furnace built to the customer’s exact specifications.

Operating Costs

More than ever, the focus is on operational costs. A continuous furnace is used when warranted by volume of parts being produced. Which is better, continuous or batch? This question is constantly asked, and the answer is both and neither. Either furnace can work perfectly inside your production line, it is strictly a question of volume. If your volume is low or uncertain, a batch furnace would be the proper choice. With a batch furnace you are only paying for operation of the unit while you are processing parts. If your volume does not warrant constant production, batch is a better solution.

If you have high or even medium volume production, a customized continuous furnace is the proper choice. In addition to the throughput and repeatability previously mentioned, there is operational size. These are massive systems that are extremely well insulated. The insulation packages are analogous to a sponge. Once the furnace is initially heated, the insulation package absorbs and holds the heat and the power levels drop off considerably. These furnaces are also efficiently designed in terms of atmosphere flow. High-temperature furnaces are not open at both ends – they have door assemblies, which minimize gas flow. With a continuous furnace, the processing costs per boat or component are at the lowest possible level.

CM Furnace  Solutions to Batch and Production Sintering

CM Furnaces has numerous options available for manufacturers attempting to customize a process without needing to invent a furnace. Products like our CM 1700 series “Rapid-Temp” batch furnace, or our CM 400 series continuous production furnaces have a flexible core of functionality and proven reliability which can be added to and customized.

Over our 70 year history, we’ve seldom met a process we haven’t been able solve with our wide array core furnace designs, coupled with our deep human expertise in furnace modification and customization.

Please call us today to discuss your production or batch furnace needs or visit us at

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Production Furnace Throughput Defined

It is very common in several industries to discuss the output of a continuous furnace in terms of pounds/hour. This is an interesting number and easy to understand, however, it is misused most of the time. The origins of this output rating came from lower-temperature furnaces, specifically traditional mesh belts. If you were to speak with the belt manufacturers themselves, they would say you cannot exceed more than 10 pounds/foot2on the belt. Most people routinely run at 20 pounds/foot2 and experience a shorter belt life. Pounds/hour is not an accurate number because you do not know if the part is solid or shaped like a doughnut. Depending on these form factor considerations, you would not get as many parts or as many pounds/foot2, so using this as a measure of output can be very misleading.

Higher-temperature pusher or walking-beam furnaces are not load limited. Pusher furnaces can push in excess of 500 pounds/foot2 and walking beams approximately 400 pounds/foot2. The problem still remains that the shape of the part dictates the load you will get in a boat or on a plate. A more meaningful output number for high-temperature sintering is boats/hour. The furnace does not care if you put lots of small parts or a very large, heavy part into it. By design, higher-temperature furnaces have sufficient power for almost any application. Many of these units are designed for refractory metals with tremendous densities. If you have enough power for these very dense materials, you need not be concerned about more traditional materials.

So a better measure of throughput might be related to how many parts can be processed on a single boat which is a function of the size of the part, not the weight. Manufacturers need to consider placement of parts in a single boat to determine how many will be reliably processed as one boat goes full cycle.  And how many boats you can get through a production furnace is really a function of the soak times in your process as well as the physical capability of the furnace. To learn more visit us at

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Nuclear Waste Disposal Facilitated by Glass Melting Furnaces.

In the latest technological solution to a decades old problem, researchers have determined that using blast furnace slag through a process called vitrification, can reduce the volume of radioactive material by 90%. This astounding breakthrough in nuclear fuel disposal melts waste down into little cubes of glass making it way easier to dispose of.

The current treatment method for non-compactable plutonium contaminated wastes involves cement encapsulation, a process which typically increases the overall volume.  If the new process can reduce the volume of waste that eventually needs to be stored and buried underground, costs can be reduced considerably. At the same time, the process can stabilize the plutonium in a more corrosion resistant material, which should improve the overall safety of disposal not to mention the public acceptability of geological disposal.

CM Furnace History with Nuclear Material Processing

CM 1600 Furnaces For Nuclear Fuel vitrificationInterestingly, CM has a history of being used in the processing of nuclear material by both government and private concerns. CM furnaces have been used by the Savanna River Nuclear facility in the sintering of ceramic nuclear pucks for waste disposal. For more information on this application see our blog on Furnaces for Nuclear Fuel Disposal.

Furnaces Applicable to Nuclear Fuel Sintering and Glass Melting

CM has supplied customized furnaces to the nuclear industry based on our Rapid Temp Furnace line, with automated bottom loading options. These units are excellent for nuclear applications for a number of reasons.

  1. Glovebox application with heating elements inside the chamber instead of outside, allow furnace temperature in excess of the 1300C needed for sintering ceramic pucks in the plutonium immobilization process.
  2. Supplied with an integral, automated lifting mechanism for loading the trays and pucks inside the furnace.
  3. Design to meet the furnace temperature schedule requirements, including a ramp up rate of 4 deg. C/min. to 300 deg. C, a two hour hold at 300 degrees C, a ramp up rate of 5 deg. C/min. to 1350 degrees C, a four hour hold at 1350 degrees C, and a rapid cool down
  4. Design to accommodate incorporation of a linear transport system that transfers the tray stack and furnace door into position underneath the furnace for loading into the furnace
  5. Design to lift the furnace door and tray stack from the linear transport system for final positioning inside the furnace and to deliver the furnace door and tray stack back to the linear transport system after puck sintering is complete.
  6. Features to facilitate ease of maintenance in a glovebox, such as glovebox replaceable thermocouples and heater elements.
  7. Trace cooling water and annular space air cooling systems designed to maintain furnace exterior shell temperatures below 50 degrees C in order to minimize heat load to the glovebox and to minimize cool down time for the tray stack

In an application such as that proposed in the new research, our Rapid Temp glass melting furnace could be modified to act as a reducing furnace at glass and/or ceramic melting temperatures as high as 1800C.

CM makes custom Furnaces for the Nuclear Industry.

For more information contact our sales team or visit our website at


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Bring Heat Treating Capability to your Machine Shop

If you are one of the thousands of machine shops or prototype houses throughout the country that is routinely outsourcing their heat treatment work to expensive labs with long lead times, we have a suggestion for you: 

Consider bringing your heat treating capabilities in-house.

Some of the more common processes that machine shops outsource include:

  • Hardening or Tempering of Steel or other metals.
  • Small, low volume MIM part production
  • Normalizing and Annealing
  • Sintering
  • Metal Melting for small scale foundry and casting operations.

Heat treatment operations can require different materials from 17-4 PH Stainless, to aluminum or titanium. By bringing heat treatment capability in-house the operation creates a number of advantages for itself over an outsourcing model.

  • Complete Control over scheduling of thermal operations
  • Low cost to test and prototype small runs of parts.
  • Process versatility, as the right furnace technology can cover many different processes.
  • Quicker turnaround of material
  • Opportunity to experiment with process parameters for optimum process output.

Key to the economics of this of course, is the versatility of the furnace selected for your operations.

CM Furnace Ideas for Machine Shops requiring Heat Treatment Capability

Ceramic Kilns, Ceramic Furnace, Box Furnace, Tube Furnace
1600 Series box and tube furnaces for batch production

CM Rapid Temp Series  – On your short list for a versatile, reliable, and cost effective multi-purpose furnace technology has to be the CM Rapid Temp Series of furnaces. With multiple chamber sizes, top and bottom loading options, tube and box configurations, as well as a gas sealed option for support of multiple atmosphere’s, these furnaces have among the broadest applicability you will find for the most common heat treatment process operations in MIM prototyping or small production runs.

The “Rapid Temp” series derives its name from the fact that it was designed to have the ability to heat up extremely fast owing to its ultra-high temperature molydisillicide heating elements and its high efficiency, low mass alumina fiber insulation. The Kanthal super molydisilicide heating elements are used, offering fast heat up rates and long life in oxidizing atmospheres. These elements are not subject to normal watt loading limitations and are not affected by thermal shock, therefore heat-up rates are only limited by the capability of the power supply. The electrical resistivity of these elements remains constant over long periods without aging so that individual elements can be replaced without having to match resistance values.

For more information on how our Rapid Temp Furnaces can make economic sense over thermal outsourcing in your Lab or machine shop, call our engineering team today or visit

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