A Walking Beam Furnace, a continuous furnace widely utilized in the steel industry, is specifically designed to facilitate various high-temperature heat treatment processes. Its primary function entails the controlled transportation and heating of sizeable, weighty, or elongated workpieces, such as steel billets, slabs, or bars, within the furnace.
At the heart of a Walking Beam Furnace lies its extraordinary transportation system, aptly called a walking beam or walking hearth. This ingenious mechanism comprises a succession of back-and-forth beams or hearths that cradle the workpieces as they gracefully traverse 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 brings forth a multitude of benefits, including the ability to uniformly heat materials, maintain precise temperature control, and handle large and elongated workpieces with ease. The back-and-forth motion of the walking beams ensures that the workpieces receive a consistent and even heat treatment throughout the entire process.
Walking Beam Furnaces find widespread usage in various applications, such as reheating steel slabs or billets prior to rolling or forging, relieving stress in materials, normalizing, and annealing steel bars, rods, or tubes. They are particularly well-suited for continuous and high-volume operations in steel mills and other industries involved in metal processing.