4D Quench – Taking Aerospace to New Heights
When providing heat treatment for aerospace gears and bearing components, manufacturers are traditionally left with three choices for thermal processing: continuous flow atmospheric furnaces with press quenching in oil, or batch heat treatment in both vacuum and atmospheric furnaces with quenching in oil (or high-pressure gas, as in vacuum). All three techniques differ in benefits and disadvantages associated with geometric distortion, environmental impact and safety concerns.
A single-piece flow (SPF) vacuum heat treatment furnace with the capability to provide high pressure contour gas quenching to a single piece or “4D Quench” (4DQ) provides continuous flow heat treatment with low geometric distortion, environmental impact and personal safety concerns. This system has the flexibility of operating in a batch style work cell or it can be sized up and inserted in a continuous work cell, operating without human interference. 4DQ technology equals the speed of an oil quench and the cooling gas nozzle profile can be optimized based on actual part geometry. By controlling the direction of the cooling gas spray with part rotation, manufacturers now have the ability to control how fast or slow a part section cools providing a better quench. With this improved uniformity, larger and previously pressed quenched parts can now be processed in a 4DQ system.
SPF vacuum heat treating system will thermally process and quench every part the same way, in the same position, with the same timing, one by one. All components undergo the same process parameters, producing consistent and high-quality results for an entire part series. With SPF vacuum heat treatment, aerospace gear and bearing manufacturers can safely and environmentally friendly output identically processed and uniform components while reducing geometric distortion of their heat-treated components. This paper will also summarize a half decade’s worth of research associated to SPF with 4DQ Vacuum Heat Treatment.
Author: Thomas Hart
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