A composite curing oven will be used to accelerate the curing of vacuum-bagged composite components used in the repair and maintenance of military aircraft following the commissioning of a large field-assembled batch oven. Lewco Inc., Sandusky, Ohio, delivered the 500°F (260°C) batch oven to a foreign military's air force base outside the United States.
On the electric oven, a top-mounted heater box houses multiple banks of Incoloy heating elements that provide 288 kW of heat capacity. High-volume circulation fans deliver dual airflow, providing uniform heat distribution throughout the oven workspace.
The oven was commissioned with one of Lewco’s standard composite curing control packages. It includes ramp-soak temperature controls, a 48-channel data recorder, 12 part and two workspace thermocouples for cascade temperature control, and 12 manual vacuum ports. The control system has Ethernet connectivity, which provides automatic download of data to the customer’s PC.
The enhanced-duty oven, which has a workspace of 120 x 240 x 78", was manufactured and designed to NFPA 86 Class A standards. To ensure quality, the customer required a temperature uniformity of ±10°F at 500°F. However, when the oven underwent the nine-point uniformity test per ASM2750D standards, the outcome proved to be superior, resulting in a uniformity of ±4°F.
Due to its physical size, the oven was designed by Lewco engineers to be separated into four main sections for shipping. This design permitted complete assembly and testing at the factory and also met the size limitations of international shipping. Lewco field service engineers provided onsite startup, commissioning and operator training at the base.