A Walking Beam Furnace is a type of continuous furnace commonly used for various high-temperature heat treatment processes, particularly in the steel industry. It is designed to transport and heat large, heavy, or elongated workpieces, such as steel billets, slabs, or bars, through the furnace in a controlled manner.
The main feature of a Walking Beam Furnace is its unique conveying mechanism, known as a walking beam or walking hearth. This mechanism consists of a series of reciprocating beams or hearths that support the workpieces as they move through the furnace.
The typical operation of a Walking Beam Furnace involves the following steps:
Loading: The workpieces to be heat-treated are loaded onto the walking beams at the furnace entrance. The beams are usually spaced at regular intervals to accommodate the length and size of the workpieces.
Heating: The furnace is heated to the desired temperature for the heat treatment process. Burners or other heat sources are used to provide the necessary heat energy. The workpieces are elevated and supported by the walking beams as they move through the heated zones of the furnace.
Reciprocating Movement: The walking beams move in a reciprocating motion, shuttling the workpieces through the furnace. This movement allows the workpieces to be evenly exposed to the desired temperature zones for the required period.
Cooling: After the desired heat treatment cycle is completed, the workpieces are transported out of the furnace for cooling. This cooling process may involve air cooling or water spray systems, depending on the specific heat treatment requirements.
The Walking Beam Furnace design offers several advantages, including uniform heating, precise temperature control, and the ability to handle heavy or long workpieces. The reciprocating motion of the walking beams ensures that the workpieces receive consistent and even heat treatment throughout the process.
Walking Beam Furnaces are commonly used in applications such as reheating of steel slabs or billets before rolling or forging, stress relieving, normalizing, and annealing of steel bars, rods, or tubes. They are especially suitable for continuous and high-throughput operations in steel mills and other metal processing industries.