Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Awards SECO/VACUUM with Contract for Second Nitriding Furnace

December 20, 2023 – Świebodzin, Poland – An international electric vehicle manufacturer has awarded SECO/VACUUM, a SECO/WARWICK Group company, with an order for a second nitriding furnace to operate in parallel with an existing one.

The car maker already purchased an identical SECO/VACUUM nitriding furnace last year. The added heat-treating capacity will ensure that the nitriding step does not become a bottle-neck in the plant’s high-pressure die casting tooling production process.  

The retort furnace for gas nitriding has a chamber size of 1.6m (63”) diameter and 2.8m (110”) depth, accommodating a load up to 1m x 1m x 2.6m (40” x 40” x 100”). The furnace has 350 kilowatts of heating capacity divided into 3 heating zones. The durable Inconel 600 retort will offer many years of trouble-free service.  

Piotr Zawistowski, Managing Director of SECO/VACUUM, said of the project, “This heat-treat partner’s dies present quite a unique heat-treating challenge. At SECO/VACUUM we love a good challenge, so we have built this solution with the dimensions and thermal capacity to nitride these large, heavy parts to exceed customer’s specifications”. 

Patented ZeroFlow® nitriding process for automotive industry

One feature that distinguishes these SECO/VACUUM nitriding furnaces from alternate nitriding methods is the patented ZeroFlow® nitriding process. The modern variant of controlled gas nitriding achieves optimum results while only consuming less than 20% of the ammonia compared to traditional nitriding, making it both economically and environmentally advantageous. The system is equipped for vacuum purging to further reduce nitrogen consumption and shorten cycle times. 

The nitriding furnace is also fitted with a device called a thermal oxidizer. Although the all-electric heat-treating process does not involve any combustion, the combination of ammonia and high temperatures still creates NOx emissions. The thermal oxidizer breaks down the harmful NOx molecules in the furnace discharge. 

The tool & die market serving traditional, and EV automotive markets uses vacuum heat-treating technology extensively to produce bright, high-quality parts. SECO/VACUUM’s nitriding furnaces are highly regarded for their clean operation, precise temperature uniformity, reduction of quench distortion, automation and software, compact design, and overall reliability.