Heat treatment is often used in the fastener industry to change the properties of a fastener or wire. Even though heat treatment is a well-established, mature process, there are continuous innovations happening in the heat treatment industry today.
Heat treatment is the action that combines heating and cooling operations being applied to a metal or alloy when it is in its solid state. When working with heat-treating fasteners, heat treatment is used to achieve results such as changes in softness, hardness, ductility, stress relief or strength. Not only are finished fasteners subject to heat treatment, but so are the wires or bars that the fasteners are made from by annealing them with heat to alter the microstructure for ease of manufacturing ability.
There are many different types of heat treatment systems and machinery. When working with heat-treating in fasteners, the most common types of furnaces include continuous belt, rotary and batch. Due to the high cost of energy resources like electricity and natural gas, those using heat treatments are looking for ways to save energy and lower utility costs.
Over the past few years, energy and cost savings has been a huge focus of the most recent heat treatment industry innovations as well as innovations surrounding burner technology, atmosphere controls and the exploration of a wider variety of fuels that can be used to power heat treatments.
Even though the heat treatment process is very mature, there have been many innovations and advances made in the industry in the past few years. Some examples include:
• Heat treating in a vacuum (controlled environment)
• Reduction in fuel consumption during the heat treatment process
• Waste heat recovery systems
• Upgraded feeding and handling systems that work to help reduce or eliminate thread damage
• New and updated furnace designs
• Software systems that can be used to predict and control the heat treatment process and performance
Heat treatment is an important aspect of the fastening industry and process. Those working in the industry continue to strive for innovation and advancement to save on energy costs and energy resources.
Learn more about fasteners and heat treatment by contacting us at ProvenProductivity@bossard.com.
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