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Hardening and Tempering Heat Treatment

Bluewater Thermal Solutions' harden and temper hardening heat treatment processes enlist a wide variety of techniques designed to increase the hardness, strength, and fatigue life of metal parts and components.

Neutral Hardening Equipment Options

  • Batch furnaces with oil quench
  • Continuous mesh belt or roller hearth furnaces with oil or water quench
  • Saltpot furnaces with water or marquenching salt
  • Vacuum furnaces with high-pressure gas quench

Open Fire Hardening Options

  • Carbottom furnaces with water or polymer quench
Our Unique Advantages
  • Our equipment provides the ability to handle both large and small orders.
  • Continuous mesh belt furnaces are available for processing large volumes of small parts such as fasteners, bearings, stampings, and washers at competitive rates.
  • We specialize in hardening large castings and forgings using atmosphere-controlled continuous furnaces that prevent decarburization and scaling.
  • Our continuous furnaces provide lowest cost hardening.   
  • Prevention of scaling eliminates the need for blasting to clean parts and remove scale after heat treatment, which can be very costly.
  • We specialize in the hardening of long bars, tubes and plates up to 24’ length.
  • Our in-house laboratory provides tensile and charpy testing after hardening for a quick turnaround.
  • Hot oil quenching and hot salt mar quenching are utilized to minimize warpage on distortion-prone parts.   
  • We have equipment specifically designed to handle the unique challenges associated with heat treating powdered metals.
  • Our unique multi-plant capability to perform hardening in multiple locations provides built-in emergency backup and contingency planning.
What Is Hardening and Tempering Steel?

The hardening of steels and irons involves heating a material to a temperature above its austenitizing temperature, which converts the material structure to austenite. After the material has been fully transformed to austenite, it is rapidly quenched to transform the material structure to martensite which increases the hardness and strength of the material to its highest possible level. After quenching, the material is tempered down to the desired final hardness and strength level by re-heating to a lower sub-critical temperature which serves to substantially increase ductility and toughness as the hardness and strength are gradually reduced.

Neutral hardening is performed in a neutral atmosphere where there is no net gain or loss of carbon, nitrogen or other elements to the material’s surface. This is typically used for finished or near-finished parts where decarburization of the surface is not allowed.

Open fire hardening is performed in air atmosphere furnaces where carbon can exit the material’s surface by reacting with air causing surface decarburization to occur. This is often performed on raw materials or rough parts where all surfaces will be ground or machined after hardening, which will remove the decarburized surface layer.

This process is also commonly referred to as quench and temper, harden and temper, and through hardening.

Properties and Areas of Application of Hardened Stainless Steel

Hardened stainless steel used in fields of application, where high demands are placed on corrosion resistance and wear protection. We produce a surface which is up to 5 times harder and moves the operating limits of the previously soft steel.

The areas of application are varied and comprise the consumer goods and household goods sector, mechanical engineering and construction, medical technology, automotive and components industry.

Several different methods and types of equipment can be selected for neutral hardening. The processing parameters, atmospheres used, and particular furnace type is chosen based on the particular steel or iron grade requiring hardening and if the quantity of parts to be treated is an individual piece, small lot, or a high volume production order.

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