Delta Air Lines ordered a 500°F (260°C) vacuum-assisted composite curing (VACC) oven for manufacturing parts for its airplane cabins. The VACC process involves drawing a vacuum on composite layups in vacuum bags while they are cured in an oven. Lewco Inc., Sandusky, Ohio, supplied the composite curing oven.
Composite curing ovens manufactured by Lewco include a vacuum pump, thermocouple jacks and vacuum ports. The oven purchased by Delta has 22 vacuum ports in the workspace that are connected to control valves on the exterior of the oven. Thermocouples are attached to the layups to monitor and record the temperature of the parts being manufactured.
The oven, which is designed to meet both NFPA 86 Class A and AMS 2750 standards, includes a Eurotherm Nanodac temperature controller and redundant high limit controller. In addition, a programmable logic controller (PLC) interfaced with a human machine interface (HMI) and temperature controller communicate over Ethernet IP, allowing remote monitoring. The walk-in oven also includes a top-mounted heater box with a 1 million BTU direct-fired natural gas burner and two 35,000-cfm circulation fans.