PAM (Plasma Arc Melting Furnace)

For the melting and remelting of Alloys (e.g. Titanium Alloys, Titanium Aluminides) which contain larger amounts of alloying elements with high vapor pressure that would evaporate under deep vacuum conditions, the plasma arc melting process (PAM) is the first choice. Using plasma arc melting, the metal is melted under inert gas atmosphere (usually Helium or Argon) in a pressure range between 400 – 1,200 mbar abs. The plasma arc torch column provides the heat source with maximum temperatures well above 15,000 K. Under these process conditions evaporation of alloying elements can be suppressed and complex alloy compositions can be produced.


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Plasma Features

  • Thermal processing under high temperature and inert gas atmos-phere close to atmospheric pressure thus avoiding evaporation
  • Typical inert gases for PAM applications: Helium or Argon
  • Consolidation of complex alloys with highly volatile alloying elements (e.g. Ti-Alloys, Ti-Aluminides)
  • Refining of complex alloys with highly volatile alloying elements (e.g. Ti-Alloys, Ti-Aluminides) by cold hearth refining process
  • Recycling/Remelting of valuable alloy scrap / revert material from processing and machining steps
  • Recycling of precious metal in used catalysts by thermal treatment
  • Homogenization
  • Welding
  • Incineration

As a single source supplier ALD is able to supply all necessary components and services for a complete plasma melting system which can consist of the following systems:

  • Plasma furnace with material feeders and ingot withdrawal systems
  • Plasma torch systems including power supplies with recipe based power – and torch pattern control by PLC
  • Closed loop cooling water system
  • Closed loop inert gas recycling and purification system
  • Weighing and Blending Units
  • Compacting presses
  • Turn-key installation and commissioning
  • Process and ramp up support

Besides the furnace itself ALD has developed its own Plasma torch systems (including power and –pattern control systems) and offers a wide range of torches meeting customer´s technical requirements such as torch power, type of plasma gas and torch life time. In addition inert gas recycling systems with respective gas purification components can be offered by ALD. Thus the plasma gas can be run in a closed loop circuit and only small amounts of the expensive pure inert gas have to be added in order to compensate process related losses. Automatic operating weighing and blending units with compacting presses at the end can be included in the scope of supply as well. Besides the delivery of the hardware the possible scope of services can range from supervision of installation to turn-key-installation. Furthermore process support can be provided by ALD´s process specialists.

PAM Applications

  • Single source supplier complete plasma systems by ALD as the single source supplier
  • Wide range of process variations possible
  • From laboratory and R&D-furnaces to large production scale systems
  • Own development, fabrication and testing of plasma torch systems
  • Plasma torch power range from 35 – 2,400 kW, high efficiency
  • Enhanced life time of torch consumables with easy exchange
  • Wide range of possible plasma gases depending on application
  • Possible process pressure range 300 – 1,200 mbar abs
  • Easy chemistry control
  • Ingot diameter 50 – 1,000 mm
  • Ingot weight 5 – 15,000 kg
  • Engineering resources for development of tailor-made plasma applications upon customer´s demand