Flame Hardening vs. Induction Hardening

When you are looking to strengthen metals, there are several ways to get the job done. Two common and useful methods are flame hardening and induction hardening. But how do you know which process is going to be right for your project?

When choosing between flame hardening and induction hardening in Gastonia, NC, there are several factors to consider. While they are similar in that both involve heating the metal to a certain temperature and then quenching it, there are some key differences you should be aware of. Here are some of the details of each process.

Flame hardening

With flame hardening in Gastonia, NC, a metal surface is heated with a high-temperature flame before being quenched. Alloy steels, mild steels, cast iron and medium-carbon steels are good candidates for this process. The result is a hardened surface that has increased resistance to corrosion and wear.

The process involves using direct heat from oxy-gas flames to heat metals to their austenitization temperature (where the surface changes, but the core does not). After being heated, the metal is quenched (that is, cooled rapidly) to develop a hardened surface. This process can be applied to the entire surface or to one concentrated area of a component.

Flame hardening results can vary depending on several factors, including the heat of the flame, how long the metal is heated and the speed and level of change involved in the quenching process. The metal’s composition can also play a factor in the hardening results.

The benefits of flame hardening are that it is cost effective and requires a relatively short processing time compared to some other methods. It has a high hardness level that will improve wear resistance. On the flip side, a metal may become more brittle in this process and become more susceptible to cracking. Flame hardening is also not as precise as induction hardening.

Induction hardening

As mentioned, there are similarities between flame hardening and induction hardening. Both heat the metal to its austenitization point and then quickly quench it to induce hardening. But the processes differ in significant ways.

Unlike flame hardening, induction hardening in Gastonia, NC does not use an open flame. Instead, it relies on electromagnetic induction. This process heats materials in a coil with alternating magnetic fields while electric currents cover the surface of the component.

Induction hardening can be used for many types of steel and steel alloys to improve hardness and resistance to fatigue. While flame hardening can be used with a case depth of .127mm to 6.35mm, induction hardening can be used with a case depth of up to 8mm.

Experience is key

Whether you need flame hardening or induction hardening in Gastonia, NC, it pays to look for an experienced, professional company that can handle all of your needs with confidence. J.F. Heat Treating Inc. has been your go-to source for all types of heat treating and hardening services in Gastonia, NC since 1980. If you’re looking for the best metal hardening services, contact us today.

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