The primary difference between flame and induction hardening in Gastonia, NC is the end product for the steel or alloy. Choosing a method depends mainly on the amount of use and stress a component or item will undergo, as each offers different protection elements. If you choose the wrong type, you will either go into overkill and destroy the item, or not harden the surface enough, resulting in a failure in your machinery. This description of induction and flame hardening will show you the differences so you can make an informed decision.
Induction hardening involves the surface hardening of steel and other alloy parts. Its purpose is to create a shell that will allow the item to withstand pressure and use. It is a common process applied to bearing races, pinion shafts, gears, crane wheels and treads, threaded pipe and other parts common to heavy machinery. Equipment used in oil patch drilling, for example, often depends on components that underwent induction hardening. The process is used most commonly on steel parts, but has also been useful for copper alloys. Carbon and alloy steels with a carbon range of 0.40 to 0.45 percent are the most suitable for induction hardening.
Parts for induction hardening are first placed in a water-cooled copper coil and heated to their transformation temperature through alternating current. The current causes the outer surface to heat, change properties and then harden to the needed depth. Once achieved, the part is quenched in oil or water, depending on the type of steel and desired effects. The core remains unaffected by induction hardening, so the other properties of the steel remain intact.
Flame hardening is a more refined approach. It works best on flat surfaces, which is why plates and knives benefit most from it. Like induction hardening, it produces a hard surface for alloys with sufficient carbon. The core remains unaffected with flame hardening as well.
During flame hardening, heat is applied using oxy-acetylene or another gas on the surface. It is then heated to the upper-critical temperature before the steel is quenched with water. This makes it a quicker process with less hardness preparation. The result is a shallower shell, but these components normally do not face the same stress as those that require induction hardening.
Basically, both induction and flame hardening end with the same result: a harder surface for the item and component. Which one you require depends on the purpose of the item and the amount of stress it will undergo once completed. Generally, induction hardening applies to industrial equipment and parts, while flame hardening is used for consumer products which need to stay durable but do not suffer the same stress as machinery or equipment.
J.F. Heat Treating, Inc. offers flame and induction hardening in Gastonia, NC for use in multiple industrial or crafting applications. Contact us today to start the hardening process for your parts, flatware or any other items that require a hardened surface, and benefit from our more than 30 years of experience in the industry.