Safe control of the gas supply and the furnace atmosphere

Mass flow controllers are compact, inconspicuous components that greatly influence industrial processes – for example, heat treatment. How can these components be individually adapted to different automation concepts?

The automotive industry, wind turbines or mechanical engineering in general often require high-strength steels that are processed into safety-relevant structural parts by press-hardening processes. In automotive construction, for example, these include body parts such as A- and B-pillars, side impact beams, and door jamb reinforcements.

Photo: Golffy /

The use of mass flow regulators (MFCs) is a state-of-the-art solution for the precise control of the gas atmosphere in hardening furnaces. However, such heat treatment plants are built very differently and have different gas supply requirements. Therefore, the components used must be adapted to the situation on site. For this purpose, it is also necessary that the mass flow regulators fit into the respective automation concepts.

The mass flow meters do not function independently when controlling the furnace atmosphere, as the required amounts of gas must be constantly regulated. The way the MFC is integrated into the respective system can vary widely. Possibilities range from data exchange via “classic” analog interfaces and digital network connections with all common fieldbus protocols, to plug-and-play MFC modules or complete control cabinets containing all components for controlling the furnace atmosphere.

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