Plasma Arc Melting (PAM)

Plasma Arc Melting (PAM)

Retech plasma technology uses an electric arc to heat and melt metals and other materials. Three-axis torch manipulation is done using either electrically or hydraulically actuated manipulator systems. The Cold Hearth is a water-cooled, copper vessel is devoid of contaminating elements like Oxygen and yields clean, as-cast metal by removing high- and low-density inclusions during cold hearth refining. Our ongoing plasma research and development programs have melted countless specialty materials for our customers. Plasma furnaces can be designed for a wide range of sizes, from a few pounds to many tons, as well as production of everything from ingots and powder to castings. Our plasma arc melting furnaces can be configured with one or multiple torches, any number of feed systems as well as casting and withdrawal chambers to meet the needs of our customers.

Plasma Arc Melting (PAM) Productsdown-arrow

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Plasma Hearth Melting

A Retech PAM Cold Hearth furnace uses an electrically excited gas, typically Helium or Argon, to melt reactive and refractory metals in a sealed chamber, under inert atmosphere and offer significant cost savings by eliminating the need for electrode welding and primary Vacuum Arc Remelting. As with all Retech furnaces, each can be designed for a wide range of sizes, from a few pounds to many tons, as well as configured with one or multiple torches, feed systems and withdrawal chambers for production of everything from ingots and powder to castings. Utilizing state-of-the-art Plasma melting technology is an excellent option for processing a wide range of reactive and refractory metals and alloys.

Materials:

Reactive Metals, Refractory Metals, Amorphous Metals, Super Alloys, Silicon

Applications:

Alloy Production, Ingot Casting, Atomization

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Plasma Welding

Retech provides state-of-the-art Plasma Arc Welding Systems (PAWS) designed to longitudinally and/or girth weld compacted metals like Titanium sponge into electrodes or, alternatively, end-to-end, first melt ingots. Retech Plasma Welders are multi-torch systems designed to easily operate with either argon or helium by conveniently changing process control parameters. All Retech welders include automated welding sequences and weld-strip patterns in addition to being designed to weld a variety of compact geometries.

Materials:

Reactive Metals, Refractory Metals, Amorphous Metals, Super Alloys

Applications:

Remelt Electrode Production

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Waste Treatment (PACT™)

The Plasma Arc Centrifugal Treatment (PACT™) System provides superior destruction of a wide variety of wastes, including hazardous, radioactive, and biological wastes, even if lightly characterized or heterogeneous. The PACT™ system uses high temperature nitrogen plasma to break apart complex hydrocarbons into simple and clean gases while converting metals and oxides to a stable, homogeneous, and durable slag that needs no further treatment and is ready for sale as aggregate or long-term storage. Our PACT™ process greatly reduces the volume of charged material, from loose feed, slurries, small batches or even 200-liter drums, fed whole, without any unacceptable emissions. PACT™ systems can be manufactured in a variety of sizes and configurations to suit many common industrial or military situations such as commercial and field hospitals, medical, nuclear or research facilities, as well as refineries and waste treatment plants. The Retech PACT™ systems are recognized worldwide as the answer for processing and disposal of environmentally hazardous materials and waste products, thereby ensuring a cleaner environment for future generations.

Materials:

Hazardous, Mildly Radioactive and Biological Wastes

Applications:

Waste Vitrification

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Laboratory Scale Plasma

Retech Laboratory Scale Plasma furnaces are supplied to a wide range of companies, individuals, and institutions for doing an even larger variety of development and small batch production.

Materials:

Reactive Metals, Refractory Metals, Amorphous Metals, Super Alloys, Silicon

Applications:

Alloy Production, Ingot Casting, Atomization

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Retech is the recognized leader for Plasma Arc Melting (PAM) systems worldwide.

Additionally, our furnace installations can include everything from spare parts and supporting equipment to complete melt-shop installations. In other cases, our torches can be designed and adapted to replace or retrofit existing old and outmoded torches. We actively work with those customers to develop the necessary equipment solutions, including upstream and downstream components, as well as alloy and application development.

Plasma Arc Melting (PAM) FAQ’s

Plasma is the fourth state of matter whereby a gas is electrically excited via a DC arc producing a high energy plume that can be used to melt metals and alloys. That arc can be transferred to a work piece to aid in melting or the arc can be non-transferred, or contained within the torch, thereby causing the plasmated gas plume to accomplish all of the melting. Examples of plasma in everyday life are lightning, Neon lights and television sets.

A Retech PAM Cold Hearth furnace uses an electrically excited gas, typically Helium, Argon, or Nitrogen to melt materials in a sealed chamber, under inert atmosphere and offers significant cost savings by eliminating the need for electrode welding and primary Vacuum Arc Remelting. The Cold Hearth is a water-cooled, copper vessel that is devoid of contaminating elements like Oxygen and yields clean, as-cast metal by removing high- and low-density inclusions during cold hearth refining.

Yes. Retech has three types of guns in four different sizes. The customer application and the system design will ultimately determine which type of torch to employ.

Retech Plasma Melting Systems have primarily been utilized for melting reactive and refractory metals and alloys (like Titanium & Titanium Alloys) though ongoing plasma research and development programs have melted countless specialty materials for our customers. Plasma furnaces can be designed for a wide range of sizes, from a few pounds to many tons, as well as production of everything from ingots and powder to castings. Our plasma arc melting furnaces can be configured with one or multiple torches, any number of feed systems as well as casting and withdrawal chambers to meet the needs of our customers.

The PAM process is different from other melting techniques in that it does not take place in deep vacuum, instead it is in an atmosphere of inert gas. This allows the process to fully melt and refine alloys that contain low vaporization elements.

PAM applications are generally melting and remelting of alloys containing a large number of elements with high vapor pressure that would evaporate under deep vacuum. Additionally, rotor-grade alloys for aerospace typically require plasma melting due to the ability to remove high- and low-density inclusions.

Plasma torch applications include cold hearth refining as well as recycling (PAM), consolidation (PAM), welding (PAW), atomization and waste treatment (PACT).

The inert gas enters the plasma torch and is excited using DC power to the "plasma state" and directed at the workpiece where the heat of the plasma will melt the material. Additionally, the plasma acts as a conductor to allow the energy to flow between the torch and the workpiece. The current flowing through the workpiece increases the energy into the workpiece.

Typically, the PAM furnace is configured as a cold hearth refining system. The material will be melted in the hearth and refined as it is continuously cast into an ingot. Ingots can range from 50mm up to 1000mm in diameter and can exceed 5m in length depending on the final application requirements.

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