Research & Pilot Facility Access
Service Detail from Harper International Corporation
Let Harper help bring your next material innovation from spark to reality. Hundreds of companies have used our Technology Research Center for process development and process optimization as they work toward commercial scale-up or with systems requiring unique process specifications. Customers can utilize numerous on site thermal systems to gather data and fine tune their processes, with a focus on varying production rates, temperature regimes, processing times, atmosphere compositions, and flow rates, resulting in savings on the investment ultimately required for new thermal processing systems.
Harper has a wide variety of thermal systems that can handle your process conditions. Additionally, we have the ability to make modifications to tailor the existing pilot equipment to specific customer process requirements. Our range of equipment on site includes:
- Batch or continuous furnaces
- Sizes from small kilns to large furnaces, with 3 temperature zones
- Furnace conditions from atmospheric to nitrogen or specialty gases, with temperatures up to 2500°C
Along with our thermal systems, Harper provides state-of-the-art laboratory environments to help transfer your technology from the lab to the global marketplace. Our comprehensive range of lab testing capabilities include:
- electron microprobe
- qualitative and quantitative powder XRD
- high temperature XRD
- particle size analysis
- surface area measurement
- DTA and TGA
- thermal diffusivity
- thermal and elemental
As a result of their experience in the testing and feasibility stage, many customers work with Harper to conduct in-depth studies to determine equipment requirements and help define process parameters for optimal plant design to assist with technical and business strategy and financial planning. Our vast capabilities in thermal processing engineering studies include, but are not limited to:
- process cost models
- economics of increased production capacity with current and future state technologies
- analysis of best-suited thermal process technology system for new material innovations
- identification of opportunities for improved product quality and cost reduction
- investigation of solutions for transition from batch to continuous processing
- engineering of material handling solutions for unique processing systems
In addition to Harper's rotary, box and elevator furnaces, we also offer microwave testing as a part of our Research and Piloting facility. Harper's Lab Scale Experimental Apparatus is capable of delivering up to 3kW of microwave energy and it can be controlled in steps of 50W. The frequency of the radiation is 2450MHz. The current aluminum container designed as a single mode applicator can reach very high temperatures. If a controlled atmosphere is required, a quartz container can be placed with quartz tubes extending through the holes of the applicator. Connecting gas sources to the quartz enables atmosphere control. All non-metallic and electrically non-conducting materials can be tested in temperatures ranging from 600°-1800°C. Applications include, but are not limited to; ceramic processing, powders, shaped ceramics, activated carbon, battery materials and food processing.
Partner Research Facility - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is home to the Department of Energy's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. As a part of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program office, this 42,000 sq. ft. innovative technology facility serves as a national test bed for government and commercial partners to scale-up emerging Carbon Fiber technology. The 390-ft long processing line at this DOE facility was manufactured by Harper International and is the ideal outlet for Carbon Fiber research and development. It is capable of custom unit operation configuration and has a capacity of up to 25 tons per year, or 4.3kg per hour, allowing industry to validate conversion of their Carbon Fiber precursors at semi-production scale. The facility aims to be a collaborative research center and is designed as one of the most sophisticated and capable lines in the industry. Clients can take advantage of their testing and piloting needs with the Carbon
Fiber line's extensive capabilities including:
- Rated capacity 25 tons/year based on 24k PAN tows
- Configured for PAN, polyolefins, lignin, and pitch precursors; Upgradable for rayon and high modulous carbon fibers
- Designed for 3k to 80k tows and web up to 300mm wide x 12.7mm loft
- Oxidation temperature to 400°C with airflow configurable for parallel, cross or down flow
- High-temperature carbonization to 2000°C
- Low-temperature carbonization up to 1000°C with capability to produce structural or micro/nano-porous fibers
- Post-treatment system designed for compatibilizing fibers with performance or commodity resins
Partner Research Facility - UDRI, USA
Harper has partnered with the University of Dayton Research Institute to offer our clients access to additional innovative R&D systems. The UDRI Multiscale Composites and Polymers division operates an industrial scale, continuous process high temperature Pusher style furnace manufactured by Harper. With this furnace, materials are placed on a tray or loaded into graphite boats which are placed on the track system and "pushed" through the hot zone of the furnace under inert atmosphere. The advantage of Pusher furnaces compared to a conventional batch oven is that the time consuming process of heating up and cooling down the furnace is removed, resulting in dramatic cost reductions and process uniformity.
Harper's clients can take advantage of testing their advanced materials with the facility's equipment capabilities including:
- Maximum temperature: 2500°C
- Purged nitrogen atmosphere
- Maximum part size is 19 in. x 19 in. x 3 in.
- Adjustable residence time at temperature, varying from 30 minutes to 6 hours.
Partner Research Facility - Carbon Fiber Pilot Line - Portugal
Harper offers its complete Carbon Fiber pilot process line at a partner's facility in Lavradio, Portugal as an open reference and capabilities demonstration to select Harper clients. This facility includes Harper's proprietary multi-flow Oxidation Ovens, advanced LT and HT Slot Furnaces rated for 800°C and 1800°C respectively, surface treatment and waste gas abatement systems, and winders.
Here, Harper clients can utilize the facility for validation of their Carbon Fiber process, confirmation of material quantities to enable downstream research, assessment of feasibility of continuous operations, and validation of design parameters for further scale up.