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Induction Hardening

Induction Hardening is a form of heat treatment Bluewater utilizes to selectively harden a metal part or component via means of a solid state RF power supply that sends currents through an inductor coil which then transmits electromagnetic waves that heat the metal parts or components. Induction hardening occurs because the parts placed inside the inductor coil have entered a magnetic field and the eddy currents from that field are introduced to the surface layer of the part through electrical resistivity. The natural electrical resistance of the metal within the coil causes the currents to flow against the part, which then generates accurate and focused heat.The parts being inductively hardened never come into contact with anything so contaminants are never produced. Once this non-contact heating process that uses electromagnetic induction to produce heat inside the surface layer is complete, the part can then be immersed in a water, oil or polymer in order to alter the crystalline properties of the outer layer to make it harder and more brittle than the core of the metal.This method allows Bluewater technicians to selectively harden areas of a part without affecting the part as a whole. We consider a variety of characteristics prior to the induction hardening process such as: the design of the part, the type of inductor coil used, the amount of electrical current to flow into the metal, the frequency of the alternating magnetic field, the density of the material, the permeability of the material, the time the material is exposed to heat, and the material thickness.

Properties of Induction Hardening

  • Very quick and efficient process with rapid heating
  • Allows for localized hardening
  • Depth of surface layer hardened can be varied to meet customer requirements
  • The core of the material remains the same and its original properties are unaffected after induction hardening is complete
  • Typically uses carbon and alloy steels with a carbon content between 0.30% and 1.00%
  • Process is uniform, repeatable and controllable
  • High control over quality
  • Different methods of induction hardening can be employed such as single shot hardening and traverse/scan hardening
  • Multiple parts can be treated in a single cycle with some induction machines
  • Can be performed on single pieces to large production volume runs
  • Less distortion than other heating methods like carburizing and flame hardening
  • Material costs are reduced as process is compatible with lower hardenability, lower cost alloys
  • Increases durability and resistance to wear

Applications of Induction Hardening

  • Widely used for the surface hardening of steel or steel alloys
  • Wheel hubs
  • Edge hardening of complex parts
  • Gears
  • Springs
  • Sprockets
  • Axle shafts
  • Pins
  • Steering components
  • Transmission components
  • Power tools
  • Drive shafts

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