Votsch Industrietechnik introduced the world’s largest industrial microwave hardening system with 7000 ltr working chamber volume for applications including composites at the JEC Show.
The microwave unit, VHM Hephaistos, is an internationally patented system. This is the first successful development of microwave technology to a large-scale mature industrial engineering level. The unit is therefore characterised by an extremely high field homogeneity. It is possible to harden high-quality products and materials (e.g. carbon fibre-reinforced composite materials [CFC]) that, due to their potential for use in light constructions, are employed in aerospace engineering and, increasingly, the automotive industry. Microwaves penetrate the material directly and heat the product, but the oven remains cold during this process. Production costs reduced through shorter warm-up, process and cooling times are important advantages offered by the Hephaistos system.
CFC composites are normally hardened at pressure in industrial ovens. However, the Hephaistos system functions on a principle that only involves heating of the component itself – the oven being no longer actively heated. This enables the achievement of a high heating rate generated by microwaves in the component at a low energy consumption. The system also includes the injection of so that rapid, efficient and inexpensive production of composite structures can thus be achieved.
It is also possible to introduce conventional metal tools and charging systems to the microwave field in Hephaistos, without the familiar ‘firework display’ given by metal tools and charging systems in microwave fields.
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