The Advantages of Conveyor Belt Furnaces

In the world of industrial heat treatment, conveyor belt furnaces provide a highly automated and efficient solution for thermally processing high volumes of discrete products or components.

As the name implies, these furnaces utilize a conveyor system to transport parts through a heated chamber for processes like tempering, annealing, brazing, sintering, curing, and more. Let’s explore the unique features and advantages that conveyor belt furnace systems offer.

Continuous, High-Volume Processing

One of the biggest benefits of a conveyor belt furnace design is the ability to heat treat parts in a continuous stream rather than running batch cycles. The continuous conveyor can be loaded at one end, commonly called the charge end, while already processed parts exit at the other discharge end. This allows for uninterrupted, around-the-clock production.

Parts are evenly spaced and continuously fed into the heating chamber at a controlled rate via the motorized conveyor belt loop. Inside the heated chamber, the parts travel through different heating zones, allowing for steps like preheating, high heat treatment, quenching or cooling sections. Discrete temperature control in each zone enables optimizing the heating profile for the specific process.

Extremely high volumes can be processed by adjusting the conveyor speed and spacing between parts. High temperature alloy conveyor belts, apron conveyors, or roller conveyors can be used depending on the application.

Even, Consistent Heating

In a conveyor belt furnace, all parts follow the same path and dwell times, promoting extremely uniform and consistent heating. Parts aren’t affected by varying positions like they would be in a batch furnace. The linear conveyor motion and zoned temperature control provide tight regulation of the heating cycle time, temperatures, and heat transfer.

Automating the entire thermal processing line not only increases production volumes but also minimizes labor costs, reduces human errors, and improves quality control.

Applications and Processes

Conveyor belt furnaces can be configured for a wide range of heat treatment processes on both metal and non-metal materials including:

– Tempering, annealing, normalizing, carburizing metal components

– Sintering powdered metal or ceramic parts 

– Brazing assemblies

– Hardening and precipitation hardening

– Curing coatings, sealants or composite materials

– Drying ceramics or other moisture-sensitive materials

– Glass tempering

Parts commonly processed in conveyor belt furnaces include fasteners, bearings, carbide tools,Engine valves, gears, cutting tools, ceramics, powdered metal components, and more.

Customizable Designs

Conveyor furnaces can be designed and built to meet the exact production requirements and process parameters. This includes specifying the furnace dimensions, heated length, temperature ranges, number of controlled heating zones, conveyor types, quenching systems, atmospheres, and more.

Configurations range from small bench top or cabinet units to massive car-bottom furnaces capable of heating treating extremely large loads. Specialized systems like ceramic hump furnaces or mesh belt furnaces are also available for specific processes. Virtually any part size, load volume, and heating process can be accommodated.

Integrated Control and Monitoring

Modern conveyor belt furnaces incorporate sophisticated digital control and monitoring systems tied into the furnace and conveyor systems. Operators can program and adjust all process parameters like belt speed, temperatures, atmosphere, and more through user-friendly HMI controls. Data monitoring and recording ensure strict process traceability.  

Whether it’s high volume production of small parts like bearings or fasteners, or lower volume processing of very large components, conveyor belt furnaces provide the automation, consistency, and throughput required for efficient, cost-effective heat treatment. Their linear, continuous processing capabilities are unmatched for many industrial thermal processing applications.