What is Heat Treating?

Heat treating is the process of heating or cooling metals to change their physical and/or chemical properties to arrive at a pre-determined specification. The purpose of heat treating, while maintaining component size and shape, is to change the strength, flexibility and/or hardness of the metal to allow the component to perform a task. The basic steps for heat treating are essentially the same for all heat treat processes:

  • Heat to a certain temperature
  • Maintain temperature for a specific duration.
  • Cool the metal back to room temperature.
As metal and its various alloys have infinite chemical makeup combinations, such is also true for heat treating processes.  Heat treating processes vary depending on metal type and strength of metal needed for the component to perform. Furnace temperature has the most effect on heat treating results.  However, furnace type, cooling (quenching) method and cooling speed, all play vital roles in achieving the ultimate end state of the metal. Temperature requirements can range from 2375 F to 300 F below zero.

Improper, or absence of  heat treating can lead to loss of component integrity or in extreme cases, industrial accidents.

Anyone with the proper equipment can follow a heat treating recipe and achieve reasonable results.  But what about when things go wrong.  Prevention of problems and having the ability and experience to correct problems is where Katy Heat Treat excels.

Possible causes of problems include:

  • Inaccurate or incorrect documentation of metal chemical makeup
  • Assuming a recipe for one type of metal will apply to another
  • A furnace with inaccurate temperature measurement or temperature variation within the hot zone
  • Improper handling of the material
  • Inaccurate time management of the process
Katy Heat Treat employs quality controls that conform to or exceed ISO 9001 standards and documents and certifies each step in the heat treating process.  We also perform quarterly surveys of our furnaces to ensure accurate measurement and temperature uniformity.  We are known for and frequently receive jobs to correct mistakes caused by other shops.  If you want your job done right, done safely, and done fast, Katy Heat Treat is your shop of choice.