Why Vacuum Heat Treatment is Gaining Popularity Among Manufacturers?

03 November 2022

Manufacturers rely on heat treatment to convert raw metal materials into useful products. Heat treatment is a group of thermal, industrial, and metalworking methods that can modify the physical or chemical properties of metals.

One of the heat treatment methods that they carry out is annealing. Annealing heats metal beyond its upper critical temperature before cooling it slowly, ensuring that the metal will be softened and more suitable for forming and cold working. Hardening is another heat treatment method often implemented in metals. This method subjects a metal workpiece to a specific high temperature before cooling it rapidly through a cooling medium like water and oil. It aims to increase the hardness and strength of the workpiece.

Other heat treatment methods that can be carried out by manufacturers are stress relieving, ageing, tempering, and carburisation. But one method that has been gaining popularity among manufacturers is vacuum heat treatment.

An Overview of Vacuum Heat Treatment

Vacuum heat treatment is a heat-treating method that exposes metal workpieces at extremely high temperatures without any presence of air. This method utilises a vacuum that maximises an absolute pressure, which is below the pressure found in a normal atmosphere. All these qualities allow the vacuum heat treatment to expose metals in an unreactive environment.

When being subjected to vacuum heat treatment, metal workpieces are sent into a tightly sealed treatment chamber. This chamber is equipped with a vacuum pumping system that removes the air, ensuring that the workpieces will not react to any extraneous element. Once the chamber is set, it will be subsequently heated to as much as 1,316 degrees Celsius at a controlled rate. The temperature will then be lowered after the heating process.

The soak time or the amount of time needed for a chemical purging compound to finalise its effect would depend on the composition and needs of the workpieces. Some may only take three hours, while others require one day.

Vacuum Heat Treatment Major Benefits

Manufacturers love to process their metal workpieces under vacuum heat treatment as it can provide tons of benefits to their products.

For one, vacuum heat treatment allows the parts to be processed without further forming. This method likewise does not introduce scaling to the metal workpieces. Ultimately, cleaning is not required once the products have been processed with vacuum heat treatment. All these benefits can be attained since vacuum heat treatment processes the workpieces evenly. Its cooling process is also quick, which prevents any issues from developing. Vacuum heat treatment even enhances the condition, functionality, and longevity of the workpieces.

But one more benefit of vacuum heat treatment is it is eco-friendly. Energy consumption with vacuum heat treatment is significantly reduced. It does not even emit too many toxins into the atmosphere, allowing the process to be more sustainable than other methods.

Vacuum heat treatment is best applied on metal-based super alloys like iron-nickel or cobalt-nickel. It can also be used on reactive and refractory materials like stainless steel and titanium. Some products that can be made from vacuum heat treatment include aeroplane engines, exhaust parts, and musical instruments.

To acquire products out of this process, feel free to contact us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment.

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