Heat treating is a process in which metal is heated and cooled under controlled temperatures and atmospheres to improve material properties, performance and durability. In its simplest form, the process requires three basic steps: heating the product to a specified temperature, holding the product at that temperature for the appropriate amount of time, then cooling the product according to prescribed methods.
Heat treating can improve formability, improve strength, increase abrasion resistance, protect parts that would otherwise corrode, or toughen brittle products.
III Equipment Options
There are three major categories of heat treating equipment. Batch furnaces heat one load at a time, with minimal automation in process flow. Continuous furnaces use automated processes to move parts through the furnace. Atmosphere generators produce gas compositions for use in the heat treating process.
Some materials may be cooled slowly in the furnace, but others must be cooled quickly, or quenched. Certain cryogenic processes require treatment at -120º F or lower. Quenching media include water, brine, oils, polymer solutions, molten salts, molten metals and gases. Each has specific characteristics that will make it most useful for specific applications.
1. Equipment Manufacturer Database
2. Heat Treat Consortium