Monday, June 12, 2017

Rapid Infrared Heating Reduces Energy Use, Improves Material Properties in Aluminum Forging

Batch-type infrared (IR) furnace
Batch-type infrared (IR) furnace.

The preheating of metal billets prior to hot forging as an opportunity for significant energy savings in the U.S. forging industry. Aluminum billet preheating is traditionally slow, costly, and energy intensive. Rapid infrared heating offers a faster, cheaper, and less-energy-intensive alternative to the gas-fired convection ovens that traditionally preheat forgings to above 800°F.

In a Department of Energy sponsored project, a scaled up a laboratory based, batch-type infrared (IR) furnace (see image) to create an optimized, hybrid, continuous IR furnace for industrial forging.
Demonstration of this IR furnace reduced preheating times for aluminum forgings from 1-6 hours to 14-18 minutes. The infrared pretreatment was 75% more energy efficient than conventional ovens, and the system proved robust under industrial conditions. The IR furnace demonstrated a downtime of less than 5% over three years of use in preheating billets. 

For any questions or applications about industrial electric heating visit or call (510) 274-1990.