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Laser Heat Treating for Surface Hardening

Surface hardening using laser heat treating is used to improve the wear resistance of the surface of a part without affecting the tougher interior of the part. Typical results include:

  • Case depth typically between 0.4 – 2 mm (.015-.080”)
  • Hardness greater than 55 HRC

Because the laser can be concentrated to produce a small spot of intense heat energy, there are a number of advantages:

Minimal Heat Input – Since the source temperature is so high, transformation occurs quickly and heat input to the part is low. This reduces distortion in the component.

Precise Control – Since the laser energy is concentrated, the area of heat treating can be located with great precision. As for its flexibility, the heat treat area can be projected within a small diameter bore through the use of optics.

Non-Contact, Open Air Processing – Since the energy comes from laser, nothing physically touches the work piece. There is no force exerted on the part.
Other advantages of laser heat treating include:

  • The precision control of heat to localized areas avoids distortion and stress
  • Self-quenching conductive process – no quenching medium required
  • Easily controlled & highly repeatable non-contact process
  • Closed-loop pyrometer control
  • Line-of-sight access for hard to reach areas

Common heat treated materials include carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel, and cast iron. Achievable core hardness and depth are dependant on the base material’s carbon content.

Group Six’s 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.