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induction  heat treatment

Induction Heat Treatment to Reduce Distortion

Induction hardening can be utilized on components that are difficult to treat without distortion. Components are induction hardened by placing an area of the part in the center of an induction coil and running an electrical current through the coil. This electrical current in the coil creates a magnetic field that induces current to flow just below the surface of the parts which resistance heats the surface of the part.

Induction heating allows only the surface of that portion of a metal part located within the induction coil to be heated. Longer components can be scanned through the coil to heat and quench along any given length of the components such that only designated areas of a part are heated while the rest of the component is left cold throughout the process.

Another useful element of induction hardening is that it may be set up to only heat the surface of the parts while leaving the underlying core material cold. By only heating the surfaces on just selected areas only while leaving other areas of the parts and the entire core material cold, Bluewater can just harden only those critical surfaces of a part that need increased wear resistance or strength. Not having to heat, quench and transform all of the material within a component allows that part to remain straighter, rounder, or flatter than if the entire part was heated and quenched. Oftentimes, induction processing is chosen as an alternative to heat treating an entire part because it can reduce distortion.

One example of using induction heat treatment to reduce distortion is engine camshafts. In a camshaft, only the cam lobes and bearing journals require surface hardening to resist wear from riding against the engine valves and bearings. If the entire camshaft were heated and quenched, the resulting distortion would require the cams to be straightened after heat treatment, which is not an easy or costless task. By scanning a camshaft through an induction coil and only applying heat to the surfaces of cam lobes and bearing journals, the camshaft may be kept straight and eliminate costly and difficult secondary straightening operations.