Germany-based industrial furnaces manufacturer StrikoWestofen Group announced last month that it is now able to offer its customers systems and product carriers for the heat treatment of cast aluminium parts. This is owing to StrikoWestofen’s takeover of employees from German engineering company BPR-Engineering.
The new StrikoWestofen business unit, Heat Treatment, has been formed in response to the growing trend towards optimising mechanical properties using heat treatment.
The company points out that, at present, the heat treatment of cast aluminium parts is one of the core competencies of StrikoWestofen and that the takeover of BPR-Engineering employees means that 20 years of experience in the field has been acquired all at once.
“The agreement with the employees was less a takeover in the classical sense and more a buying-in of know-how,” explains StrikoWestofen Group CEO Rudi Riedel.
He adds that, with their industry experience and knowledge, the 18 new employees in this business unit cover the entire range from the development and projecting of hardware and software to the commissioning and approval of the systems.
The new Heat Treatment business unit pursues a holistic approach where furnaces, quenching systems and product carriers are not seen as individual components of a system but as an overall concept.
This allows enormous cost savings, owing to the better coordination of processes. Also, the components are less susceptible to deformation, which reduces the necessary alignment work.
StrikoWestofen Heat Treatment business unit head Frank Herkenräder says: “For one of our customers, the optimised concept made over 80% of the alignment work become unnecessary. This means savings of about €3-million in two years.”
The available systems cover all phases of the heat treatment process. In four-storey continuous furnace systems, up to three different types of cast parts can be heat-treated at the same time.
The modular system also allows flexible adaptation to customer needs in each case. This also applies to the chamber furnace systems, which are especially suitable for the heat treatment of smaller numbers of pieces or of frequently changing ranges of parts. They consist of four to 22 furnaces, each of which can run a recipe of its own in parallel.
Additionally, StrikoWestofen claims to be the technology leaders with regard to combined air-water quenching systems for especially high-quality cast parts. Product carriers adapted to the components and made of a particularly heat-resistant stainless steel alloy complete the portfolio.
“It was a logical step for us to expand our core competencies by adding the Heat Treatment business unit. By taking over Herkenräder and his team, we have found a company which shares our philosophy. In the future, too, our mission will be to offer the technically most perfect, most sustainable and most economical furnaces on the market,” Riedel says.