Plasmait GmbH has introduced the PlasmaANNEALER, a second generation plasma annealer designed for wire, rope and tubes made of stainless steel and nickel alloys with cross-sections from 20 mm2 down to the smallest fine wire sizes. It can manage a radical increase of continuous annealing speeds. In fine wire sizes, it is possible to conduct annealing of austenitic stainless steel wires at speeds over to 15 m/s. Annealing can be performed in-line with drawing or rolling, substituting multiple lines of a traditional tube furnace. Rapid heating and reduced time of recrystallization results in a fine-grain size with uniform crystal structure in longitudinal and transversal directions. This improves the material’s susceptibility to cold working and its resistance to surface cracking.
Ion bombardment or ion sputtering on the material surface results in fine dry surface cleaning and surface oxide removal, which has proven beneficial to demanding surface requirements in medical, welding or aerospace sectors, to mention a few. Unlike the traditional tube furnace, the PlasmaANNEALER can cold start production in few minutes and can be stopped immediately. This avoids lengthy heating-up and cooling-down times, and associated energy costs associated with conventional furnaces. In addition, the gas cooling section in the plasma annealer has a closed-loop design to minimize purging gas consumption.