Case Study: Induction Heating

Induction Heating Improves Metal Parts Production

Situation

A global manufacturer and marketer of replacement parts, equipment, and accessories for the forestry industries produces high-performance parts using induction heating, a non-contact process that uses high frequency electricity to heat materials that are electrically conductive. Induction heating provides a competitive advantage to the manufacturer with case hardening of bearing surfaces for maximum performance and durability.

Challenge

While the company had been manufacturing small equipment parts using induction heating vacuum tube-based oscillators, they knew their systems were obsolete and needed to be upgraded to improve efficiency, throughput and reliability. They wanted to upgrade or replace 15KW, 1Mhz, induction heating oscillators and improve their rate of throughput to 10 units per second. In addition, they were interested in reducing their overall carbon footprint and manufacturing costs. The company’s manufacturing engineer contacted Comdel to discuss new specifications for replacing their oscillators with more efficient, reliable equipment for small parts production.

Comdel Approach

The engineering team at Comdel has always prided themselves on being able to solve a customer’s specific application needs by designing customized RF generators optimized for performance and reliability. After meeting with the company’s manufacturing engineers, Comdel engineers quickly realized that the company’s induction heating method used low frequencies designed to heat large parts; however these frequencies are inefficient when used to heat small parts. Therefore, the oscillators were much larger than necessary, contributing to higher energy consumption, slower throughput and higher costs. Comdel’s engineers determined that raising the frequency to 3.39 MHz fixed frequency and employing a customized impedance matching network, production could be accomplished with only 10 KW – a 50% reduction from the process the company previously had been using. 

Results

Comdel was able to work with the company’s engineering team to replace 15 KW vacuum tube based oscillators with 10 KW solid state RF generators to heat and produce small parts faster, with more precise temperature control, resulting overall higher throughput. Power consumption was reduced by 50%, achieving the company’s environmental goals for a smaller footprint and reducing production costs. Equipment reliability was significantly improved reducing downtime and repairs.  

Induction Heating

Industry

Industrial Manufacturing

Application

Industrial Heating/Metal Hardening

“Comdel has given us full support in the introduction of RF power generators for heat treating parts... They helped us in specification and development, and fixed any electrical issues that we encountered in production. We will always use Comdel products to help us in heat treating our manufacturing parts.”

- Manufacturing Engineer

Results

  • 50% Reduction in power consumption
  • Increased production efficiency
  • Lowered costs
  • Improved reliability
     

Comdel Products Used for this Solution

CX

CX High Frequency RF Power Series

The CX high frequency series is available in power ranges of 5000 and 10,000 Watts with fixed frequencies from 2 to 30 MHz, and frequency agile capability up to 10% bandwidth. The CX series provides precise, repeatable power control with ultra-stable output. The solid-state design provides low cost of ownership with high reliability.