Vacuum Pumps Vacuum Pumps Help to Achieve Robust and Efficient Heat Treatment

Editor: Dominik Stephan

How intelligent modular vacuum pump systems minimize downtime and save costs – Innovations in vacuum technology deliver an important contribution to productivity in heat treatment, furnace construction as well as secondary metallurgy. Modern vacuum systems fulfill a number of requirements in order to save energy during the production of high quality steel and to reliably guarantee the required vacuum level.

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Modular Vacuum System Steel Degassing ATEX from Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum for secondary metallurgy.
Modular Vacuum System Steel Degassing ATEX from Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum for secondary metallurgy.
(Picture: Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum)

In the search for energy efficiency potentials, manufacturers of heat treatment plants increasingly consider the value of modern vacuum pump systems. For a long time, the top priority was placed on trouble-free operation and reliable production of the required vacuum level. Apart from fulfilling these demands, manufacturers such as Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum have constantly and intensively worked on improving the energy efficiency of their vacuum solutions— with good results.

When developing modern screw vacuum pumps the reduction of energy consumption has been given a high focus— it is now at about the same level of established oil-sealed rotary vane pumps or rotary piston pumps.

A Closer look at Vacuum Processes

Most pumps in the 600 m3/h class require a typical furnace operating pressure below 1 mbar an output of approximately 10 kW. Here, the DRYVAC series screw pumps of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum achieved a much lower energy balance with a reliable performance, due to an optimized rotor design, an innovative drive concept and the installation of a perfectly adapted frequency converter.

The power consumption of DRYVAC DV650 sets new standards for energy consumption of backing pumps and amounts to only 6.9 kW at 1 mbar and is therefore even below that of a comparable rotary vane pump. The built-in frequency converter offers additional energy savings and greater process control. Many process steps do not require the full pumping speed, particularly when operating under rougher pressure ratios, as during carburizing.

Compressing Screw Vacuum Pumps

In fore-vacuum applications, dry compressing screw pumps have proven themselves even under rugged conditions. They offer a higher degree of robustness and insensitivity towards dust, particles, and vapors at significantly lower maintenance cost.

In addition to energy savings through modern screw vacuum pumps, similar opportunities arise when using modern Roots pumps or with an optimized operation of rotary vane pumps. Apart from this, the established diffusion pump technology has been improved upon featuring a modern and retrofit power control unit that offers a reduction in the energy demand of these pumps by up to 30 per cent.

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