What is Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP)?

HIP uses a furnace inside a pressure vessel. Very high pressure gas, usually argon at elevated temperature, is used to consolidate material and remove internal defects such as porosity and microcracks. As HIP uses temperatures very close to those used for heat treatment, creep and diffusion occur, along with mechanical deformation of defects due to extreme external pressure.

Other questions and answers

Material Densification

As the high pressure atmosphere acts in an isotropic manner on the surfaces of components in the hot zone, the mechanical force exerted is even. This means that solid parts do not change shape in the HIP. The gas presses on internal channels in the same way as long as they are open to the gas. Casting, MIM and AM parts are all possible to HIP, and canned powders can be formed into solid components (PM HIP or PM NNS, Powder Metallurgy Near Net Shape).

We are open for different approaches, but focusing more on the pouch cell format. Concepts featuring a lithium metal anode or in situ lithium metal anode are very interesting for us on a production level of testing. We are testing solid-state electrolyte systems featuring sulfides, oxides and composites on a daily basis in our application centers in Sweden and the US.

Modern HIP equipment from Quintus operates up to 2000⁰C (3632⁰F) and 200MPa (30,000 psi). The parameters chosen are material specific, and often an increased pressure can allow lower temperatures to be use, preserving the material microstructure. Of course the HIP cycle used should not exceed the melting temperature of the material to be treated.

The production series of warm isostatic battery presses are able to deliver pressures up to 600 MPa, while reaching temperatures of 150 degree Celsius (pressure media can be water or oil).

Cold Isostatic Pressing (CIP) entails subjecting components or powder in moulds to extreme isostatic pressure, up to 600 MPa (87,022psi) and at ambient temperature. Common pressure media include water, emulsion or oil and in some cases components my be bagged.

Sheet Metal Forming

From thin foil up to ~10 mm sheet metal may be formed, typically however thicknesses of 1-5 mm are used, including traditional aerospace aluminum alloys, stainless and most mild steel alloys. Tough alloys such as Inconel and titanium may also be formed.

Within the aerospace industry the use of high-pressure typically reduce, or even eliminate, the need for labor hand correction and the need for intermediate heat treatments.
In all applications the high-pressure support forming of complex and intricate shapes, at excellent repeatability and part quality.

The flexible diaphragm in the fluid cell press allows most kind of forming in block dies, cavity dies and expansion dies. Shallow/small tools may be mixed with high/large tools in one and the same forming operation. Undercuts, intricate shapes, as well as trimming and cutting may be performed by the fluid cell technology. The fluid cell press provides full pressure all over the tool surface, contrary to the rubber pad process where the pressure drops dramatically in the lower section of for example a block tool.

A failure is typically detected because the cycle time and the pressurization time is extended, causing a small leakage only. At worst, at a major failure, the tray may be filled by oil, but this is extremely unusual. The press will automatically decompress and evacuate the oil in the system to the tank. The operator can then close a manual valve at the main oil tank. A worn-out diaphragm is typically changed within four hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

The life depends on the used tool shapes, but typically in the order of tens of thousands of cycles. For some of the Quintus press models the diaphragm is also repairable, should the diaphragm accidentally be pierced or damaged by an operator error. A diaphragm exchange can be made in a few hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

Food Processing

Our Quintus ® Care Program reflects our culture of true partnership, as witnessed by near three quarters of a century pioneering pressure technologies. Your immediate and long term benefits of Quintus ® Care includes controlling ongoing operational costs, guaranteed access to parts, regular technical reviews and remedial training, application support, as well as opportunities to participate in ongoing educational seminars

During HPP the pressure reaches up to 6,000 bar (87,000 psi). At this pressure, products will compress approximately 15% of their volume, meaning that HPP packaging must be waterproof, hermetically sealed, and include materials which are flexible to withstand compressions of at least 15%. For these reasons, different plastic materials have traditionally been a popular choice for HPP since many of these are flexible enough to allow containers to compress without breaking and elastic enough to retake their original shapes after the process. Additionally, several sustainable alternatives can be used with HPP such as rPET, PP, PLA and other biodegradable solutions.

Commonly used packaging and materials for HPP include bottles, cups, pouches, trays, in combination with various types of films or closures. Sealing surfaces for films need to be relatively wide, uniform and preferably flat. Sealability (heat seal strength) is an important element for packaging that is subjected to HPP. Cross-hatched patterns are not suitable as they can allow oxygen
diffusion into the packages that will contribute to oxidative deterioration of products.

Definitely. HPP guarantees food safety and achieves an increased shelf life, while maintaining the optimum attributes of fresh products. In addition, HPP is highly recognized by numerous food safety authorities (FDA, EFSA…). Food safety is achieved by inactivating vegetative pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, molds, yeasts and parasites by applying 400 MPa (4000 bar/58,000 psi) to 600 MPa (6000 bar/87,000 psi), for a few seconds to around 6 minutes.

As a science based technology, HPP is not only fully recognized by global regulatory bodies as an antimicrobial process with superior capabilities for inactivating many food pathogens of concern, but also for slowing down the growth of spoilage bacteria, thereby extending refrigerated shelf life between 2-10 times longer than unprocessed foods.  Both these benefits alone can have a significant
impact on the global challenges of food safety and food waste.

Most conventional food processing methods such as heat and/or chemicals have negative effects on health and nutrition. Consumers are demanding high nutritional values in foods, particularly those present in fresh, raw, or minimally processed varieties. HPP does not affect nutritional components in foods largely because it has no effects on covalent bonds so HPP products maintain their vitamins and bioactive compounds.

Manufacturers using HPP eliminate chemical preservatives used to control microbial growth and reduce the frequency of food safety testing, thus satisfying the demand from customers for preservative-free foods, while reducing operational costs, hence delivering higher company values. HPP has thus become the process of choice among non-thermal food processing technologies. The
assurance of inactivating foodborne pathogens, post packaging, provides food and beverage manufacturers the business-critical food safety confidence for protecting their consumers, as well as ensuring that their brands and company reputations remain untarnished.

HPP is commercially used in wide range of foods and beverages such as ready-to-eat deli meats, fruit and dairy based drinks, baby foods, dairy products, pet food, ready meals, ready-to-cook marinated meats and meals, seafood, and wide variety of plant-based products including guacamole, hummus, salsa, ready-to-eat salads, tofu and plant-based protein meat analogues.

Most food and beverages are applicable for HPP technology. However, certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors are important in determining HPP conditions and satisfying regulatory rules and guidelines.

Service & Support

Studies shows that maintenance cost for a normal machine within the Industrial sector is around 6-7%/year of the investment and our full fledge Quintus Care is normally well below that. The full fledge SLA allows you to control all the cost for the material. Whereas the base agreement leaves the material portion open for sourcing to Quintus on need basis, or towards other suppliers.

Over the years we have developed our service level agreements; Quintus care in two main offers.

The base offer gives you support priority, remote tech support, application support (some countries this cannot be offered to), annual f2f trainings and annual maintenance, safety and reliability inspection.

Quintus care full additionally to the base also includes all spare parts for preventative maintenance, as well as covering spare parts if something unexpected happens (with some exceptions).

Being proactive about maintenance with a Quintus care contract keeps your costs planned and secures the best possible uptime for your system.

All our SLA’s contains 3 corner stones

  • Mutual wish to cooperate i.e. 6 months termination for convenience if any party is not satisfied
  • Strong incentives for both parties to improve uptime and utilization of the equipment
  • Optimized split of scope to keep the life cycle costs to a minimum

This your choice. Some customers believes that they have a stronger negotiation position if they finalize SLA discussion prior to investment. Some appreciate to get guaranteed uptime also during the warranty period. Others wants to avoid establishing a spare stock and avoid to expend internal organization by signing a SLA early. The warranty in general covers issues during warranty. Preventative maintenance is still needed to start directly and go on also during the warranty period.

We are stocking some parts which, by experience, is used frequently. However, since we are providing customized capital equipment it is not feasible to stock all parts. Also, some parts are becoming obsolete and therefore takes extra time to find a replacement part. Being proactive in planning with parts to preventative maintenance, the lead time is in general less of an issue.

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