For the leading designer of the heat treatment solutions — SECO/WARWICK — the last year meant vacuum technologies. Despite unusual circumstances and uncertainty in the global markets, the SECO/WARWICK Group reinforced its position in the market as vacuum technology leader. The manufacturer’s solutions were delivered to 5 continents in 2020, mostly for aviation, automotive, defence and tool industries.
SECO/WARWICK’s American dream
Last year proved to be a very good year on the American market. Already in the first two months of 2020, SECO/VACUUM Technologies (SVT), US subsidiary of the SECO/WARWICK Group, sold four Vector® furnaces, i.e. multi-purpose vacuum equipment. The solution was delivered e.g. to aluminium extrusion dies manufacturer — Youngstown Tool & Die. Subsequent orders for the product were placed in the following months. Still, the fourth quarter of the year has been the best one for the company since its establishment. This is a great forecast for 2021 and a perfect end of the year.
Vector® wins the market with its versatility
Among the SECO/WARWICK Group portfolio, Vector® is clearly the most versatile vacuum furnace and the most popular product of the company. This single-chamber HPGQ model is multi-purpose equipment well-suited for various industries. Vector can be used in a multitude of processes, including quenching, tempering, annealing, brazing and sintering. It is characterised by low consumption of electricity and process gases while it ensures high performance. This most-popular solution of the vacuum division was delivered to manufacturers of landing gears, tools and aluminium extrusion dies or even dental implants.
Vector furnace — a champion of the eastern markets
In 2020, Vector® was delivered to the Kamyanka Machine Building Plant (Ukraine), currently manufacturing over 50 types of pumps for chemical, metallurgical and power industries, and others — international leaders in this field. Machinery manufacturers were also active in using vacuum technologies — Russian ROTEC became another customer of SECO/WARWICK. SECO/WARWICK’s solution will be the only system on the Russian market dedicated to manufacturing complex parts with welded honeycomb seals. This validates the presence of SECO/WARWICK on the eastern markets yet again.
Defence industry with SECO/WARWICK solutions
Turkish ALP Aviation is an example of cooperation with the defence industry. In the 13 years of fruitful cooperation, this is the fourth installation. This time the customer chose a vacuum furnace for carburizing (LPC) components of gears for rotorcraft and other aircraft.
A special vacuum furnace equipped with high-pressure gas quenching system is being built under order from the US Department of Defense. With the versatile and reliable processes of the device, the customer will be able to ensure continuous availability of key aviation parts. The defence customer specializes in the repair and maintenance of aerospace components. The device will be mostly used for the production of the key spare parts for the US Air Force.
Poland loves SECO/WARWICK
For the very first time, SECO/WARWICK started its cooperation with GEBERIT — the Polish branch of the European leader of high-tech sanitary solutions. Their manufacturing plant will receive two Vector® vacuum furnaces adapted to the individual needs of the German brand of the sanitary ware manufacturer. This was also the second time when SECO/WARWICK cooperated with the Mint of Poland, delivering another Vector vacuum furnace which will be used for the production of collector coins and seals. The design of the second Vector vacuum furnace is distinguished by additional high-vacuum, convection heating and PreNITLPC® options, which enable the nitriding attempts on batches intended for thin layers. Mints around the world are very demanding customers, where the recommendation is a significant factor in selecting a business partner. That is why we are glad that SECO/WARWICK has yet again won a customer in this industry as continuously the most frequently recommended manufacturer of mint solutions.
Commercial hardening plants with SECO/WARWICK solutions
In 2020, commercial hardening plants were the major customers of the solutions delivered by SECO/WARWICK. For hardening plants around the world, the CMe technology, apart from Vector®, is one of the two most sought-for solutions for heat treatment. Both solutions share its process versatility and operating flexibility that distinguish the SECO/WARWICK solutions. The products proposed to commercial hardening plants are usually non-standard, individual designs requiring vast engineering and design expertise. A manufacturer of machining tooling chose to implement both solutions, and with these two vacuum technologies, they went for in-house heat treatment.
“Last year, commercial hardening plants, most often placed orders for the two flagship SECO/WARWICK products, i.e. multi-chamber furnaces — CaseMaster Evolution® (CMe®) — and single chamber furnaces — Vector®. The vacuum carburizing process, in which SECO/WARWICK is an expert, is the common denominator for both solutions” — explained Maciej Korecki, VP, Vacuum Business Segment at SECO/WARWICK.
“Last year, SECO/WARWICK delivered a dedicated solution to the Polish Kuczma hardening plant, Australian HTA group and Hart-TECH hardening plant which also has extensive scientific facilities. Commercial hardening plants require tailor-made solutions. They need equipment that provides unique and versatile processes — summarized Maciej Korecki.
Unmatched technology – CaseMaster Evolution – T (CMe-T)
CaseMaster Evolution – T (CMe-T) is a 2020 product that has no competition on the market. Three-chamber vacuum furnace enables economic surface hardening with the use of low-pressure carburizing and high-pressure nitrogen quenching. The CMe-T furnace can replace the existing lines and generators used for mass heat-treatment under protective atmosphere and oil quenching, whereas it ensures higher precision and process repeatability. This solution is distinguished not only by its three-chamber design, but mostly by significant process quality improvement and cost reduction thanks to doubling the capacity and increasing production flexibility. Moreover, safe operation of the CMe-T furnace and low environmental impact becomes more and more important for the industry leaders. This is one of the key reasons for which aviation and automotive manufacturers become more and more interested in CMe-T as the preferred heat treatment solution. Last year, the solution dominated India, e.g. was bought by the largest Indian manufacturer of coolers.
The largest SECO/WARWICK furnaces delivered to the Netherlands
Speaking of the MOST, from 2020 the Dutch branch of Hauck in Eindhoven successfully operates a high-vacuum furnace with a huge working chamber with the dimensions of 1200x1200x2000 [mm]. Not only this is the largest furnace with an all-metal heating chamber, but also the largest device of this kind in the Benelux.
First implementation of UCM® 4D Quench® for the US defence industry
A year after its launch during the Thermprocess Fair and the presentation in Detroit, first UCM® 4D Quench furnaces by SECO/WARWICK are being delivered to their customers. The technology gained top interest from aviation and defence companies, and the latter placed orders for the first furnaces delivering new quality. UCM® 4D Quench® is a system for vacuum heat treatment intended for vacuum carburizing and quenching of individual items with distortion control and limitation. The UCM® – 4D Quench® furnace was designed for heat treatment of the most vital and key components on which the safety and reliability of operations depend. It meets the most demanding criteria of the aviation industry in terms of precision and repeatability of results, control and monitoring of the process, and quality assurance. The system delivers state-of-the-art solutions when it comes to safety, integration into the production chain and protection of the natural environment.