How to Optimize Case-Depth Uniformity

Vacuum technology in the process of carburizing has been shown to improve the manufacturing process in a variety of ways, including by reducing processing time and the total number of steps required in the process of manufacturing a part.

Optimizing the case-depth uniformity of parts during the carburizing process is another way to achieve a lower total cost of these parts. For this to occur, it is important to analyze and optimize the carburizing process and all influencing parameters, including part positioning, heating uniformity and quality of equipment used for thermal processing.

Here’s a quick overview of case-depth uniformity from a company specializing in heat treatment in Gastonia, NC.

Low-pressure carburizing

The goal with low-pressure carburizing in a vacuum furnace is to uniformly carburize every workpiece component in a load to the same carbon content and case depth. Low-pressure carburizing (LPC) is known for how well it offers strong process control. This helps for the creation of greater uniformity in parts, as well as more repeatable processes, both of which lead to significant reductions in the amount of money the manufacturing and maintenance processes cost.

Vacuum heat-treating equipment used in the process plays a major role in LPC being able to get such excellent and precise process control.

It is fascinating to see how far the technology has come in the last five or six decades. LPC technology first started showing up in the 1960s, and it offered a whole host of benefits with regard to time spent on processing, the quality of created components and the reduction in fluid burn-off and heat emissions. However, in its early days, there was still quite a bit of soot that would form in the surface, which posed some challenges and inconveniences, and there were quite a few additional maintenance requirements while propane was being used as a carburizing gas with some high partial pressures.

By the mid-1990s, acetylene was found to have better qualities as a reactive gas in an LPC environment, which resulted in a significant shift over to the use of that technology. It took a discovery of an effective combination of process development and equipment design to really make the technology successful and become as ubiquitous as it is today.

A patented acetylene vacuum carburizing process (AvaC) has been developed by Ibsen to take the process to the next level. AvaC is beneficial because it produces twice the carbon availability that other traditional carburizing agents do, which means greater carbon transfer into each part. AvaC also creates an oxidation-free surface structure, while still allowing components to be evenly carburized, even if they have complex shapes and figures. AvaC is frequently used in conjunction with dry HPGQ as the hardening step, resulting in a safe, environmentally friendly and flexible hardening process.

For more information about low-pressure carburizing, AvaC and case-depth uniformity, or any other elements of metal heat treatment in Gastonia, NC, we encourage you to reach out to the experts at J.F. Heat Treating Inc. with any questions. We look forward to assisting you soon!

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