Get a quote
mail icon

Frequently Asked Questions

We're utilising the benefits of vacuum furnace technology.

What is heat treatment?
arrow pointing down

Generally speaking any process that applies heat to material can be classed as heat treatment, whether that is part of the treatment of metals, wood, ceramics, composites etc... MSL Heat Treatment Specialise in the Vacuum Heat Treatment and Vacuum Brazing of metals including steels, copper alloys, nickel alloys, and many more materials that can benefit from vacuum furnace treatment.

Why heat treatment is important?
arrow pointing down

Heat treatment is important and widely used as it can alter the properties of materials in beneficial ways or otherwise benefit the performance of the materials treated.

Why vacuum heat treat?
arrow pointing down

Vacuum heat treatment is a fantastic process to control the quality of heat treatment. By processing in a vacuum, the reduction of reactive gases (particularly oxygen) around the material minimise surface reactions with the process environment, so that parts exit the furnace as clean (and often cleaner) than they went in. This helps remove the need for post heat treatment cleaning and finishing processes, and is especially beneficial for components used in the food processing, medical, automotive and aerospace industries where minimising contamination is of vital importance. Vacuum furnaces also exhibit excellent temperature uniformity and control, producing repeatable results batch to batch.

Can you harden stainless steel?
arrow pointing down

A common question where the most important consideration is what
grade of stainless steel? There are thousands of grades of steel and stainless steel, which can be hardened to varying extents and through various different processes. When it comes to hardening stainless steels, very roughly they can be split into four categories

  1. Hardenable stainless steels such as the martensitic 400 Series (410/420/440C etc...) That can be hardened and tempered in the same way as standard tool steels and carbon steels
  2. Precipitation hardening stainless steel such as 17-4PH – that can be age (precipitation) hardened from the solution annealed condition.
  3. Austenitic stainless steels such as the 300 series steels (304/316) and ferritic stainless steels (403/430) cannot be hardened by pure heat treatment, but require surface treatments such as carburising or nitriding to create a hard surface case to improve hardness and wear resistance.
  4. Duplex steels – can be hardened through various processes, but the metallurgy of Duplex steel is complex and the effects of various heat treatments has to be carefully considered when working with these steels.
What heat treatment process do I need?
arrow pointing down

Vacuum heat treatments are carried out for a variety of different reasons, whether material need to be softened via annealing, hardened or age hardened, stress relieved to remove stress caused during manufacturing, or to join parts together through brazing. Due to the clean process environment, vacuum heat treatments can also be carried out to clean components, and the low-pressure environment can also help contaminants outgas from material, improving performance of parts that themselves have to operate inside vacuum systems. Heat treatment is not a widely understood process, and there is a wide variety of different processes, so it is not uncommon for customers to not know the specifics or technical definitions of the processes they require. Our heat treatment engineers and metallurgists are on hand to offer advice and guidance on selecting the right process for your products and materials.

Want to discuss your requirements?
Get in touch today to see how we can help you. +44 (0) 1293 822 660
Send a message