Preventative Maintenance for Heat Treating Furnaces

Heat treating furnaces play an important role in many metallurgical manufacturing operations including tempering, preheating, quenching, stress relieving, normalizing, aging, heat treatment solution, annealing, hydrogen embitterment relief, and more. These processes are often performed continuously, and that is why preventative maintenance on heat treating furnaces is crucial. This can prolong the overall lifespan of your equipment as well as minimize the possibility of debilitating downtime. The most important part of preventative maintenance is regularly scheduled thorough inspections of the heat treating equipment. Inspections can catch small issues before they become major problems with expensive solutions. Below are some general guidelines and procedures when it comes to general maintenance and part replacement for your heat treating furnace.

Heat Treating Furnaces EquipmentPhoto Courtesy of The Grieve Corporation

The first recommendations for preventative maintenance are about keeping the furnace clean. Always turn the equipment off before cleaning. Regularly clean rear and front louvers and ventilation ports. Clean interior control panel when dirty. Make sure your hands are free from oil, dirt, and chemicals when setting the temperature selector. Clean up and spills and remove any deposits from chamber walls. Always take care when loading or unloading the chamber to avoid damage to thermocouples or heating elements. It is also important to lubricate fan shaft bearings with high-temp lithium grease every three months. Inspect the fan belt regularly and replace if it looks cracked or worn. And obviously, never exceed the maximum operating temperature of the furnace.

Clean Interior Control PanelPhoto Courtesy of Wisconsin Oven

In addition to cleaning and preventing failures of parts, it is important to keep an eye on the amount of energy being used and making sure your machine is running at the highest efficiency. Regularly inspecting the door seal will prevent heat and energy loss that can be quite costly if such loss goes unnoticed. These simple preventative tasks can prevent expensive replacements and downtime. Always refer to the user’s manual for your heat treating furnace when performing maintenance and repairs, and call the manufacturer if you have further questions or concerns about how your equipment is running. Being careless early on, or ignoring warning signs can mean big head aches later in the game. Save yourself the trouble and time by performing regular preventative maintenance.