Do You Have Control Over Your Vacuum Equipment and Processes?

An Introduction to VacuProf® – Expert Controls System for Intuitive User Operation:

If you are heat treating a diverse range of parts in terms of geometries, materials and load sizes, it is essential to achieve precise control over your processes and vacuum equipment. After all, being able to maintain control of your vacuum furnace is a key part of producing repeatable, high-quality parts.

So how does one best maintain control? By utilizing advanced, intuitive controls software.

With VacuProf® – one of Ipsen’s vacuum furnace controls systems – users can achieve time and cost savings, increase quality consistency and improve operational reliability. It is also important to note that the controls software utilized with your equipment plays an essential role in providing ease of use.

The true question, though, is how do you know what features and abilities your controls software should possess?

Today, we will take a brief look at the five key features our experts believe your controls software should be capable of (and how Ipsen’s proprietary controls system, VacuProf, delivers):

  1. FlexibilityOn a basic level, the controls software should be capable of computing and executing a wide variety of processes; it should also provide the flexibility to measure and analyze your processes and equipment. With the VacuProf software, all data produced by the process is transported to the computer system where it is then available for specific processing and conversion (e.g., for logging, visualization, archiving and reporting of errors and historical data).
  1. Advanced Monitoring – The controls software selected should also provide some means of monitoring the process and equipment. Ipsen’s VacuProf controls system features a sophisticated alarm package that monitors the furnace and suggests preventive maintenance. It can also monitor the process throughout the current cycle, allowing operators to make any adjustments needed to further optimize the cycle (e.g., adjusting the ramp rate, soak times and/or quench pressure).
  2. Producing Repeatable, Quality PartsEnsuring your parts are consistent and high-quality should also be on your list. With the VacuProf controls software, you can monitor the process status while you are actually running the load, as well achieve repeatable results with programmable recipes and optimization of processes. As a result, parts within the same load experience consistent temperature uniformity during the cycle and emerge with repeatable hardness results.
    In addition, one of the VacuProf software’s features is the DigiTrim® controls setting. This feature is unique to Ipsen and allows users to accurately fine-tune the power output to individual heating zones and ensure all heating zones are within the required ± temperature tolerance. Overall, the ability to tune each individual zone allows users to make precise adjustments, thus reaching the desired temperature while reducing overshoot.
  1. Intuitive Actions It is also important to be able to take into account what the controls software can offer in terms of process knowledge. Another of the VacuProf software’s features is the VacuProf Expert, which is unique to the market and allows a user without any special prior knowledge to select the correct process for the type of steel to be treated. The user simply needs to enter the characteristics of the steel, the load geometry and a few other details, such as desired hardness or the heating and quenching characteristics. The VacuProf Expert software will then recommend a possible heat treatment recipe for the entered material.
  2. AutomationFinally, we are all familiar with operating errors. After all, the possibility is always present when you add in the human element. This is why considering controls software that possesses automation capabilities can be beneficial. With VacuProf software, only minimum input is required from the operator, thus virtually eliminating the risk of operating errors. As an added bonus, this software allows the system to precisely adapt to your production requirements and specific project parameters.

In the end, being able to maintain control of your equipment not only allows you to produce high-quality products, but it also ultimately leads to the optimum performance of your heat treatment equipment. By taking the time to choose the controls software that best fits your needs, you are better equipped to obtain and replicate desired results, as well as streamline your process, thus achieving valuable time and cost savings.