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Laser Heat Treating

Laser heat treating is a surface modification process designed to change the microstructure of metals through controlled heating and cooling. An advantage that lasers offer in this process is the ability to heat treat localized areas without affecting the entire work piece. After heat treating, the mass of the material being processed is generally sufficient for "quenching" or rapid heat removal. One example of an ideal application of this technology is heat treating bearing races. No post machining is needed in some situations.

The enhanced mechanical properties resulting from laser heat treating depend upon the specific composition of the metal or alloy. For example, laser casehardening of transformation hardening metals provides high wear and abrasion resistance with minimum distortion. In addition, laser spot annealing of precipitation and work hardened metals (i.e., 300 series stainless steel and copper alloys) restores ductility and improves formability and fatigue resistance in critical areas.

CO2 lasers, Diode lasers, Fiber lasers and Nd:YAG lasers are commonly used for laser heat treating. If Nd:YAG lasers are used for heat treating, the inherently high absorption properties translate to eliminating pre-processing painting and increasing throughput. 

Advantages
  • Precision control of heat input to localized areas
  • Repeatability with increased processing speeds
  • Minimal distortion 
  • Minimal residual stress input
  • Self-quenching process; requires no quenching medium
  • Time efficient process
  • Line-of-sight access for hard to reach areas
  • Able to process 0.050" to 2.0" (1.27mm to 50.8mm) wide passes
  • Increase local hardness over 60 Rc (material dependent) without cracking

Preco's applications engineering team has extensive knowledge with laser heat treating and can assist you in deciding if laser heat treating is a good fit for your application. Preco will also discuss CO2, Nd:YAG and diode laser capabilities, so you can incorporate heat treating in future part designs. There is more information on our laser heat treating systems available, including the SL Series, RT Series and ST Series. For more information on our laser heat treating solutions, contact us today.

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Preco Laser Heat Treating and Surface Hardening

Applications
  • Bearing races
  • Wear areas
  • Seal areas
  • Gears
  • Cams
  • Engine components
  • Cutting, bending, forming edges
Excellent Materials
  • Carbon and alloy steels with greater than 0.3% carbon content(AISI 1060, 4140, 4340)
  • Ductile and Gray cast iron
  • Martensitic stainless steels (AISI 440)
Good Materials
  • Carbon and alloy steels with less than 0.3% carbon content (ex. AISI 1018, 1020, 4130)
  • Nodular cast iron (ferritic)
  • Powder Metals
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