Heat treating involves heating and cooling a material under controlled conditions to achieve specific physical, mechanical, and chemical properties for an intended application. The process is commonly used to harden, soften, alleviate stresses, or otherwise modify the characteristics of the material without altering its shape. It has numerous variations, each of which offers distinct benefits and limitations that make it suitable for different materials (e.g., aluminum and steel) and components.
Heat treatments can be used to enhance machinability, improve formability, or restore ductility in a component. Regardless of why you need heat treating services, the experts at Buell Automatics are here to help! We offer value-added heat treating services for high-precision metal parts and components.
Benefits of Heat Treating
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There are many benefits to heat treating metal components. For example:
- It improves the manufacturability of the components. Heat treatments can remove internal stresses within a material caused by previous fabrication processes, such as forming, stamping, welding, and machining. Eliminating these stresses helps improve manufacturability by increasing softness in specific sections or throughout the entire material.
- It increases the durability of the components. Heating treatments can harden the surface of the material or the entire material from top to bottom. This improves its wear resistance, making it more durable in harsh conditions.
- It enhances the magnetic properties of the components. Some materials (e.g., 1008 or 316) gain magnetic properties when work hardened. Certain heat treatments are used to reduce these properties in components intended for electronic applications.
Aluminum Heat Treating
Heat treating service providers can accommodate a wide range of materials. One of the most common heat-treated materials is aluminum.
Aluminum heat treating processes include annealing, homogenizing, solution heat treatment, natural aging, and precipitation hardening. These processes involve temperatures ranging from 240–1,000° F. Typical aluminum components that undergo these treatments include investment castings, formed plates, and wrought sheets. These heat-treated components are generally used by companies in the aerospace and defense industries.
Vacuum Heat Treatment
Vacuum heat treatment involves heating and cooling the metal component within a specialized chamber. The use of the chamber helps minimize reactions between the metal and the compounds in the atmosphere that can affect the quality of the final processed material.
Generally, vacuum heat treatments are used to soften or stress relieve a part before it is subjected to further forming operations, which helps shorten development and production timelines. However, they can also be used to strengthen and toughen parts after they’ve been formed. Typical materials that undergo these heat treating processes include exotic metals and ferrous alloys.
Partner With Buell Automatics for Your Heat Treating Needs Today
Heat treating plays an important role in the manufacture of many metal parts and products. That’s why it is essential to partner with a reliable heat treating service provider who can process your components to your specifications and standards. For a heat treating partner you can trust, turn to the experts at Buell Automatics!
At Buell Automatics, our team is fully committed to quality, whether we’re providing machining or heat treating services. If you’d like to find out more about heat treating capabilities or are interested in partnering with us for your heat treating needs, contact us at (585) 328-7430 or request a quote. We look forward to hearing from you.