Heat treating is a crucial part of the process in the manufacturing of most steel products. Because it is one of the final steps in the fabrication process, you want to make sure to do the heat treatment correctly, as it is actually possible to mess up your manufactured steel piece so much with poor heat treatment technique that you then have to toss the piece and start all over.
In this post, we’ll explain some of the most common issues encountered in the heat treatment of steel and the best ways to avoid those issues.
Problem 1: Warping
To prevent your metal from warping, you need to normalize the treated metal before you move on to heat treating in Gastonia, NC. Also, your furnace temperature needs to remain the same throughout the heat treating process. Additionally, when you move on to quenching, you’ll want to prevent any movement from occurring.
Heat treatment is a very detailed process. You need to make sure to follow the exact timelines, using the exact temperatures, and you need to go about the process with as much scientific accuracy as possible. Otherwise, warping is an easy problem to cause during the treatment process.
Problem 2: Cracks and fractures during cooling
Again, this is a common problem, and can easily be caused by failing to maintain a steady temperature during heat treating in Gastonia, NC and then following that up by cooling the metal too quickly. The best way of overcoming this problem is to invest in a vacuum furnace. Not only will this help you maintain a regular temperature throughout the heating process, but it will prevent the decarburization that can occur when there is too much air in a furnace. Another great tip is to preheat your metal piece to its treatment temperature before you put it in the furnace.
Problem 3: Overheating
This one’s simple and quite common, too. If you heat your steel piece to a temperature above 1200 Celsius, you’ll essentially destroy the piece, making it too unreliable to use in any machine. Again, the best solutions are to have good quality hardware, to preheat your metal before you put it in your vacuum furnace and to cool the metal slowly, especially before the hardening process.
Problem 4: Brittle metal
Brittle metal is another problem caused by too much heat. Brittleness can often be fixed by tempering the metal for a shorter period of time at a lower temperature. Sometimes you can have a problem of too much hardness, which can be solved the other way around, using a longer tempering period at a higher hardening temperature.
Find out more about heat treating in Gastonia, NC
These common problems are why it can be so useful to have an expert heat treating team on your side. If you’re in North Carolina and you’re looking for a partner to streamline and assure the quality of the heat treatment of your metals, please give us a call here at J. F. Heat Treating Inc. and see how we can put our expertise to work for you.