Avure Technologies of Västerås, Sweden, announced at the PM2012 Powder Metallurgy World Congress and Exhibition held in Yokohama, October 14-18, that it has developed the next generation of large Hot Isostatic Press (HIP) systems.
The first model of the Avure Tera-HIP (code named TeraPi) system has a work zone diameter exceeding 3 m and stands 5 m in height, representing a major leap forward from the previously world’s largest ‘Giga-HIP’ system produced by Avure and installed in Japan in 2010, which has a work zone of 2.05 m and is 4.2 m tall.
Avure’s Dr Anders Eklund stated that whilst HIP is already used in a wide range of applications, there is considered to be huge scope for new markets for HIP using both the existing small to medium size HIP systems as well as the very large systems such as Tera-HIP. This is said to be particularly the case for the production of PM high alloy steel components and near-net-shape (NSS) PM steels and PM super-alloys, plus post densification of PM, MIM and cast parts.
Dr Eklund stated that powder consolidation already made up around 50% of HIP throughput, and the economics of scale using the new Tera-HIP system will make HIP even more attractive as a production process. A 3 m diameter Tera-HIP system will minimize running costs to less than SEK2,5/kg, stated Dr Eklund.
The major producers of gas atomised, high alloy steel powders will be adding some 25,000 tonnes/year of production capacity by 2013 to meet the expected demand for HIPed PM components and other applications, added Dr. Eklund.
There is additional potential to convert around 10% of the 1.5 million tonnes of water atomised ferrous powders to HIP processing, he said.
Avure reported that its TeraPi Hot Isostatic Press will be modular in design for easy manufacture and quicker installation. The new HIP system comprises a frame constructed from multiple (four) frames, which are wire wound with a total length of 5100 km of high strength steel wire, and a forged steel pressure vessel weighing in excess of 250 tonnes.
Fig. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a typical TeraPi (TeraHIP) installation with the upper floor used for the press operation and the lower floor for maintenance operations. The system will be capable of processing load weights of around 75 tonnes with a cycle time of about 16 hours.
The furnace used in the system is also of a new design and will be capable of handling large volumes of hot gas with a maximum temperature deviation of just +/- 10°C. It will incorporate Avure’s ‘Uniform Rapid Cooling’ (URC) which means interrupting the insulating capacity of the furnace in a controlled manner in order to shorten cycle time, or to incorporate heat treatment into the HIP cycle. During URC vast amounts of energy are transferred out of the HIP vessel in a short period of time with cooling rates up to 100°C/min achievable.
Fig. 2 shows the HIP furnace design incorporating URC. The loading/unloading of the HIP loads into the furnace is done automatically.
View the Avure presentation from PM2012 Yokohama
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]