26 Mar Heat treatment services. Why they’re an investment in your business
What is heat treatment?
Heat treatment services are often one of the most critical processes required to strengthen and maintain internal integrity of heavy materials commonly used in engineering, manufacturing and tooling operations.
Heat treatment services are used to reinforce the structure of a material through a variety of processes that use extreme heat as the primary catalyst.
Heat treatments make already solid materials stronger, more durable and increase flexibility. By the time heat treated materials are used operationally, risk of malfunction and therefore risk to a business is reduced significantly.
Heavy materials such as steel and glass can be costly to buy and even more so to repair or replace. Heat treatments make sure that products are fit-for-purpose, can be used precisely as planned and will avoid maintenance problems in the future.
Whether you’re in agriculture, mining, mechanics, or construction; the higher the quality of heat treatment services, the better the longevity of your product, and the more successful your business.
The following heat treatment services are all provided by Heattech and will guarantee your materials function at optimum performance.
Pre-heating weld treatments
Pre-heating takes place during the welding process to create a crack-resistant, more pliable structure. Pre-heating will also disperse any traces of hydrogen without risk of cracking the material.
It’s important to maintain correct temperatures throughout pre-heating weld treatments to avoid compromising the integrity of the material both during pre-heating and in successive heat treatments.
Want to know more about pre-heating weld treatments from Heattech? Contact us here.
POST WELD HEAT TREATMENTS
Post weld heat treatment is an umbrella term used to describe a set of heat treatments designed to strengthen material, reduce pressure internally, withstand corrosion, and improve elasticity. The following are common post weld heat treatments:
1) Hydrogen bake out
Hydrogen bake out (otherwise known as hydrogen-induced cracking) is the essential process that cures a potentially significant problem in steel manufacturing. In some instances, atomic hydrogen can dissolve into steel equipment and can lead to hydrogen cracking. It can take up to 48 hours for the cracks to display which means that while routine assessments are of course commonplace if the inspection of steel takes place too soon, hydrogen cracks could appear afterwards. This could lead to the use of defective steel causing severe implications for both the manufacturer and the service provider.
Rather than estimate the time it will take for cracks to appear; the manufacturing process is streamlined with an additional process known as hydrogen bake out. The steel is heated to approximately 300 degrees forcing all hydrogen out of the steel before it goes into service.
The specific protocol for hydrogen bake out are set internally following recommended industry guidelines. For maximum efficiency, it should be carried out immediately after the weld rather than being allowed to cool. The additional process may take a little extra time, but it’s guaranteed to stop potentially severe threats to businesses.
2) Stress relieving
Once a material has been welded, the internal structure can become stressed which can cause corrosion and cracking. Stress relieving is a post weld heat treatment that releases any lingering stresses. The material is heated and cooled in line with industry standards.
Post weld heat treatments aren’t suitable for all materials in all circumstances, and it’s important to consult with a professional before subjecting your materials to a treatment. If steel is exposed to a PWHT and it’s not necessary, it can cause irreparable damage. It’s impossible to say without making a visual assessment, but thicker materials with higher carbon and alloy content are more likely to require post welding heat treatments.
Want to know more about post weld heat treatments from Heattech? See our full list of services here.
Metal degassing removes excess hydrogen, nitrogen or carbon to avoid internal failures that can impact the reliability of a material. Previously an arduous treatment, degassing is now carried out in a vacuum which facilitates the materials cooling much faster to reduce time, and therefore the cost.
Materials that will benefit from degassing are generally steel, titanium, and copper.
Refractory dry outs
Refractory materials are those that are resistant to heat. While they can’t respond to thermal treatments, they’re also more susceptible to absorbing moisture in the final stages of manufacture.
Refractory dry outs remove residual moisture after installation but before the material is used operationally without damaging the refractory materials. If this step is overlooked, once the equipment starts to heat, it will turn to steam which can crack and cause severe damage.
Want to know more about refractory dry outs from Heattech? Contact us here.
Annealing strengthens materials by, ironically, softening them. By heating materials to temperatures above their critical transformation point, and slowly cooling them, internal stresses are removed which results in a stronger more durable material. Annealing is recommended for materials such as glass, steel, and iron.
Want to know more about annealing from Heattech? See our full list of services here.
Normalising is a similar method to annealing. It’s the process of heating heavy material, generally steel, to a temperature above that which transformation occurs and holding it there until said transformation takes place. The material is then cooled naturally creating a stable, uniform product that will withstand the general stresses of all industrial processes.
Want to know more about normalising from Heattech? See our full list of services here.
Induction heating is the process of heating a metal with an electromagnetic current. This causes the object to heat from the inside rather than penetrating material with extreme heat externally. Induction heating heats objects much faster, and no contact is required which makes it a suitable heat treatment where contamination may be an issue.
While induction heating is extremely efficient as no contact is required, not all materials are suitable for induction heating; it’s only an appropriate treatment for materials with high electrical conductivity.
Benefits of heat treatment services
While it can initially appear that heat treatment services are an unnecessary extra step, the following is a summary of the reasons an appropriate heat treatment service should be considered at all stages of the production process:
- Strengthens materials to make them more durable
- Reduces the risk of corrosion
- Increases the lifespan of costly materials
- Avoid encountering problems once materials are used operationally
- Increases capabilities of materials
- Improves elasticity of a material to allow it to withstand more stress
With a full suite of solo and integrated heat treatments available, to save time, money, and to avoid compromising expensive materials, it’s important to always consult with experts prior to arranging heat treatments.
At Heattech, we believe in excellence.
We know that providing our customers with a superior standard of heat treatment services means the best outcomes for their business, and for ours. All our technicians are highly skilled in a wide range of heat treatment services and consistently deliver a service in line with our client’s expectations and budgetary requirements.
To find out more about the heat treatment services we provide, contact us here.