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Furnace

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Several specialised furnaces are used to melt the metal. Furnaces are refractory lined vessels that contain the material to be melted and provide the energy to melt it. Modern furnace types include electric arc furnaces (EAF), induction furnaces, cupolas, reverberatory, and crucible furnaces. Furnace choice is dependent on the alloy system and quantities produced. For ferrous materials, EAFs, cupolas, and induction furnaces are commonly used. Reverberatory and crucible furnaces are common for producing aluminium, bronze, and brass castings.

Furnace design is a complex process, and the design can be optimized based on multiple factors. Furnaces in foundries can be any size, ranging from small ones used to melt precious metals to furnaces weighing several tons, designed to melt hundreds of pounds of scrap at one time. They are designed according to the type of metals that are to be melted. Furnaces must also be designed based on the fuel being used to produce the desired temperature. For low temperature melting point alloys, such as zinc or tin, melting furnaces may reach around 500° C. Electricity, propane, or natural gas are usually used to achieve these temperatures. For high melting point alloys such as steel or nickel based alloys, the furnace must be designed for temperatures over 1600° C. The fuel used to reach these high temperatures can be electricity (as employed in electric arc furnaces) or coke.

The majority of foundries specialize in a particular metal and have furnaces dedicated to these metals. For example, an iron foundry (for cast iron) may use a cupola, induction furnace, or EAF, while a steel foundry will use an EAF or induction furnace. Bronze or brass foundries use crucible furnaces or induction furnaces. Most aluminium foundries use either electric resistance or gas heated crucible furnaces or reverberatory furnaces. 

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