The SECO/WARWICK vertical vacuum retort furnace for the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) will be used for high-vacuum annealing of gyrotron components. The equipment will be used as part of the ITER project. This is the first time the SECO/WARWICK Group has cooperated with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
Special product requirements
The order placed by the Institute was preceded by several months of consultations when the optimum technical parameters of the furnace were agreed upon with the customer. The furnace will have a water jacket with a compact integrated cooling system. When open, it will be 12 meters in height, and the diameter of the usable space of the device will be 1.8 metre. These are not the standard dimensions for a furnace of this type. It was necessary to adapt it to the customer’s needs. KIT also required a specific level of high-vacuum that will be achieved with the use of a cryogenic pump.
“The device we are to deliver to the renowned European Institute of Technology is a furnace made-to-order according to the special needs of the customer. At SECO/WARWICK, we are fond of projects that require a fresh and individual approach. Thus, by delivering tailor-made devices, we are able to continuously learn and develop our expertise in the production of metal heat treatment furnaces”, said Maciej Korecki, VP, Vacuum Business Segment at SECO/WARWICK Group.
Science opts for SECO/WARWICK furnaces
“The vacuum furnace will enable the researchers of the German Institute to achieve a very clean process under vacuum, and thanks to its dimensions, it will enable them to develop gyrotrons with larger dimensions”, M. Korecki added.
The example from the Institute (KIT) proves that the market needs non-standard heat treatment equipment with large dimensions that can be used not only for industrial purposes, but for scientific ones as well. The SECO/WARWICK Group has vast experience in cooperation both with the representatives of industry and science. Only last year, SECO/WARWICK equipment has been chosen by the Shanghai University and a British research institute, while industrial companies from 70 countries already enjoy over 4000 different devices from the Group’s portfolio.
“We were looking for a partner that would be willing to face the challenge of designing and building a furnace that would completely satisfy our specific needs. The SECO/WARWICK Group instantly responded to our process needs and adapted the furnace to our requirements. We hope that our cooperation will proceed successfully without any problems,” said Tomasz Rzesnicki, experimental group leader at the Institute for Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology (IHM), KIT. Currently, we anneal components in a conventional furnace under nitrogen atmosphere. Transition to vacuum technology means a huge quality leap in terms of the heat treatment process,” summarized T. Rzesnicki.
Gyrotron, space and SECO/WARWICK
The SECO/WARWICK Group has been cooperating with nuclear and space industries for decades. For one of the US companies operating in this sector, the Group delivered a large vacuum furnace for the processing of the ITER “heart” — the central electromagnet comprising six coils. Each of the coils was heat treated using a SECO/WARWICK furnace. Due its scale, the ITER international research project can be compared to the construction of the International Space Station. The erection of the huge thermonuclear research reactor to maintain a fusion reaction for much longer than the previous reactors, started mid last year.
KIT is also involved in the ITER project. The Institute is in charge of tests and measurements on prototype gyrotrons. Gyrotrons are the devices used for heating plasma in the nuclear fusion process. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology develops gyrotrons in cooperation with the European industry. It is also testing gyrotrons for national and international projects (ITER).