PdMetrics Case Study: Hot Zone Cleanliness and Efficiency

Ipsen’s PdMetrics® software platform utilizes proprietary sensors and control algorithms to determine the appropriate timing for replacing parts and servicing the furnace. By monitoring critical data, users are able to improve the health and integrity of several systems, including the hot zone, pumping system and cooling system.

To ensure maximum performance of the hot zone, parameters such as resistance to ground, heat loss, open circuits and hot zone cleanliness are monitored. This, in turn, helps avoid arcing, which can damage the heating elements; ensures proper heating uniformity; and prevents high-energy consumption by the hot zone.

Keeping Your Hot Zone Clean

PdMetrics® is helping our customers reduce unplanned downtime and lower utility costs by keeping their hot zones clean. By continually monitoring the resistance of the heating elements to ground, PdMetrics® informs the customer when a cleanup cycle is required to avoid arcing and damage to the hot zone and/or parts.

In this case, the resistance to ground decreased from about 100 to 85 ohms over time.

Element resistance to ground data

PdMetrics® sent a notification to the customer along with a warning indicator on the PdMetrics® Element Resistance to Ground widget on the dashboard.

Ipsen PdMetrics Dashboard

Below is a photo of the contaminated ceramics prior to the burnout and alarm condition on the PdMetrics® dashboard.

Contaminated vacuum furnace hot zone ceramic

PdMetrics® then instructed the customer to run a cleanup cycle and replace any contaminated ceramics. After following the recommendations, the resistance to ground went back to green condition at 100 Ohms.

Element resistance to ground data
Ipsen PdMetrics Dashboard

Maintaining Hot Zone Efficiency

PdMetrics® also monitors furnace heat loss to let customers know when it’s time to replace the hot zone and insulation. Depending on the heat treatment process, furnace maintenance and usage, hot zone replacement can vary from less than five years to more than eight years. This timeline can be difficult to estimate, but thanks to PdMetrics®, the customer can now rely on data to plan for a hot zone replacement.

PdMetrics® calculates the heat loss at a given temperature, typically during a burnout cycle at 2200 °F. Depending on the heat loss value calculated, PdMetrics® shows a green, yellow, or red condition.

Recently, PdMetrics® sent a notification to a customer for a yellow condition, meaning there is degradation of the hot zone insulation. This notification is sent before the condition gets worse, which could lead to high energy consumption and/or increased cycle time. It allows the customer enough time to plan ahead and provides tangible data to the maintenance manager for justifying the capital expenditure. Below are the PdMetrics® dashboards showing this particular hot zone heat loss case.