Vötsch Industrietechnik (Reiskirchen-Lindenstruth, Germany) introduced at JEC Europe 2013 what is said to be the world’s largest industrial microwave curing system, with a working chamber volume between 750 liters and 7,000 liters (26.5 ft3 and 247.2 ft3). The VHM Hephaistos system is reportedly the first successful development of microwave technology on a large-scale, mature industrial engineering level. The company says that with this system it is possible to quickly cure carbon fiber composite parts and structures for automotive and other applications. The Hephaistos system requires no additional pressure and involves only inertia-free heating of the component itself — the oven is no longer actively heated. The system thus generates heat at the fast rate associated with microwaves but with low energy consumption. According to Vötsch, the Hephaistos oven offers very short cycles compared to heating carbon fiber composites in conventional autoclave ovens (4 to 5 hours vs. 10 to 15 hours) and uses 30 to 35 percent less energy.
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