Coreless induction furnaces (without core)

The heart of the coreless induction furnace is the coil, which consists of a hollow section of heavy duty, high conductivity copper tubing which is wound into a helical coil. Coil shape is contained within a steel shell and magnetic shielding is used to prevent heating of the supporting shell. To protect it from overheating, the coil is water-cooled, the water being recirculated and cooled in a cooling tower. The shell is supported on trunnions on which the furnace tilts to facilitate pouring.

The crucible is formed by ramming a granular refractory between the coil and a hollow internal former, which leaves a refractory lined crucible.

The power cubicle converts the voltage and frequency of main supply, or that required for electrical melting. Frequencies used in induction melting vary from 50 cycles per second (mains frequency) to 10,000 cycles per second (high frequency). The higher the operating frequency, the greater the maximum amount of power that can be applied to a furnace of given capacity and the lower the amount of turbulence induced.

When the charge material is molten, the interaction of the magnetic field and the electrical currents flowing in the induction coil produce a stirring action within the molten metal. This stirring action forces the molten metal to rise upwards in the center causing the characteristic meniscus on the surface of the metal. The degree of stirring action is influenced by the power and frequency applied as well as the size and shape of the coil and the density and viscosity of the molten metal. The stirring action within the bath is important as it helps with mixing of alloys and melting of turnings as well as homogenizing of temperature throughout the furnace. Excessive stirring can increase gas pick up, lining wear and oxidation of alloys.

The coreless induction furnace has largely replaced the cupola furnace, especially for melting of high melting point alloys. The coreless induction furnace is commonly used to melt all grades of steels and irons as well as many non-ferrous alloys. The furnace is ideal for re-melting and alloying because of the high degree of control over temperature and chemistry while the induction current and the frequency control circulation of the melt.