Induction hardening is widely used in both the automotive and aerospace gear industries to minimize heat treat distortion and obtain favorable compressive residual stresses for improved fatigue performance. The heating process during induction hardening has a significant effect on the quality of the heat-treated parts. However, the quenching process often receives less attention even though it is equally important.
In recent years, there has been significant interest in expanding the use of induction hardening in gear manufacturing operations. Over the past several years, many of the limits to induction hardening have shrunk, thanks to recent advances in technology, materials and processing techniques.
Part I, which was published in the September/October 2008 issue, covered gear materials, desired microstructure, coil design and tooth-by-tooth induction hardening. Part II covers spin hardening and various heating concepts used with it.
Induction hardening is a heat treating technique that can be used to selectively harden portions of a gear, such as the flanks, roots and tips of teeth, providing improved hardness, wear resistance, and contact fatigue strength without affecting the metallurgy of the core and other parts of the component that don’t require change. This article provides an overview of the process and special
considerations for heat treating gears. Part I covers gear materials, desired microsctructure, coil design and tooth-by-tooth induction hardening.
The tooth-by-tooth, submerged induction hardening process for gear tooth surface hardening has been successfully performed at David Brown for more than 30 years. That experience - backed up by in-depth research and development - has given David Brown engineers a much greater understanding of, and confidence in, the results obtainable from the process. Also, field experience and refinement of gear design and manufacturing procedures to accommodate the induction hardening process now ensure that gears so treated are of guaranteed quality.
High-speed machining using carbide has been used for some decades for milling and turning operations. The intermittent character of the gear cutting process has delayed the use of carbide tools in gear manufacturing. Carbide was found at first to be too brittle for interrupted cutting actions. In the meantime, however, a number of different carbide grades were developed. The first successful studies in carbide hobbing of cylindrical gears were completed during the mid-80s, but still did not lead to a breakthrough in the use of carbide cutting tools for gear production. Since the carbide was quite expensive and the tool life was too short, a TiN-coated, high-speed steel hob was more economical than an uncoated carbide hob.
So, you've been assigned the task to buy an induction heating system for heat treating: It's an intimidating, but by no means impossible, assignment. With the help of the information in this article, you could be able to develop common ground with your supplier and have the tools to work with him or her to get the right machine for your jobs.