Induction Hardening: Cheaper and Faster for Large Volume Repetition Hardening of Pins, Axles and Shafts Compared to Flame and Case Hardening

23 February 2017

Induction hardening technology doesn’t use physical contact. Instead, a series of magnetic fields are projected from a large coil. Workpieces enter the coil, experience this induction effect, and respond by generating surface heat. That workflow suggests a production line of some kind. If so, is its ever-cycling configuration preferred over, say, flame or case hardening technology?

High-Volume Processing 

In order to answer that query, consider the alternative. A focused flame functions as a targeted hardening method. The technique heat treats gear teeth and other finely wrought geometrical profiles. Even large surface areas can be scanned and hardened via a traveling flame nozzle. Still, it’s not considered a large volume solution, not one that can compete with induction hardening. Down on a fast-moving factory floor, the inductance effect slots neatly into a fast production environment because it’s able to accommodate a fast processing run while delivering a cheap and repeatable final result.

One-Shot VS. Traverse Hardening 

The frequency-modulated coils act as an efficient one-shot hardening mechanism, a configuration that perfectly matches the dimensional profiles of axles and shafts. The longitudinal metal segments submit readily to the lines of magnetic energy, with the induced currents forming strong thermal tides that flow naturally along the long metal segments. Alternatively, a traverse mechanism can replace the one-shot methodology. In this case, the part is moved progressively into the coils. This layout suits a standard production line, with the parts moving from one stage to the next. In keeping with this mechanical configuration, a spray quench ring is typically activated at the end of the part’s treatment.

Fine-Grain Parts Treatment

The option to longitudinally vary the frequency or applied power in different sections of the induction coil makes this method a highly tunable technique. Even the velocity of the traverse mechanism subscribes to this work model, with the component slowing to experience additional depth hardening on specified sections. Indeed, processed pins, axles, and shafts are imbued with specified heat treatment profiles after they depart the induction treatment mechanism. That’s because the station is designed to accommodate longitudinal workpieces and to process each one with repeatable mechanical features, all while maintaining a high-volume work throughput.

A contactless hardening profile can reach down as far as 15-mm when induction technology is added to the production line. The long, cylindrical coils are perfectly configured for pin processing, axle hardening, and cost-effective shaft processing. Finally, all of this one-shot and traversing momentum assumes a cycling manner, a flow that’s guaranteed to repeatably process these long parts through ring-type coils while imprinting them with localized attributes that are as hard as any flame or case hardened solution.

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