Many companies send out their metal products for further finishing. They often outsource certain metal fabrication or machining amenities. Among these are heat treatment services. This allows large and small manufacturers to ensure product or component strength while reducing investment in facilities and specialist personnel.
Definition and Purpose of Heat Treatment
Heat treatment is a combination of various processes to produce a specific result. Generally, heat treatments involve heating and subsequent cooling of a metal and/or its alloys. The intention is to improve or enhance certain inherent properties.
Heat treatments serve specific purposes. Metal service companies use heat services to:
- Standardize cast-metal alloys to improve their workability under hot temperature processes
- Soften metals before and during hot and cold processing operations
- Alter the microstructure of metals in order to produce certain desirable mechanical properties
- Change the surface chemistry of metal alloys
The overall intent of such treatments is to improve the capabilities of metal and metal alloys in strength, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance and appearance.
Factors Affecting Choice of Heat Treatment Services
To obtain the best results possible, the right treatment is essential. Before deciding on the method or technique, operators must look at several factors. Among them, of course, is the metal or alloy to receive the treatment. Other factors under consideration are the intended purpose, the environment and the length of time the project, or component, must extend its services.
Common Heat Treating Services
Companies involved in this service industry offer a variety of specific metal services. Among the most common are:
Carburizing – including low pressure carburizing
Nitriding – including precision gas and pulsed plasma nitriding
In these processes, the overall intent is to ensure the final product achieves the goals of hardness, strength and related properties for the desired application. The emergence of newer technologies improves repeatability and will allow companies that focus on heat treating services to remain competitive in the global marketplace.