Reasons for needing a vacuum anneal can range from a machined detail that was missed prior to hardening and weld repair of the tool.
Vacuum solution annealing insures the parts are in the correct condition for subsequent age hardening or being in the proper phase for optimum corrosion resistance.
One of our core competencies is vacuum hardening of tool & die jobs. We have 5 vacuum furnaces that are capable of hardening several grades of tool steels such as A-2, A-6, A-8, A-10, S-7, D-2, H-11, H-13, M-2, M-4, M-42, T-15, and DC-53.
Several tool steels require oil quenching to either fully transform their microstructure to a fully martensitic phase or to comply with an industry or company's technical specification.
A vacuum stress relief of molds allows a more uniform looking textured surface during subsequent usage. We can handle a die or mold up to 36" wide x 32" high x 72" long with a total piece weight of 10,000 pounds.
Several tool steels such as A-10, A-6, & S-5 may require liquid quenching for the parts to achieve full hardness.
Some Tool and Die materials like S-5, 52100, O-1, & O-6 require oil quench hardening. ThermTech has several furnaces capable of hardening these materials with the largest being 36" wide x 42" high x 72" long.
Some tool and die parts are made from low alloy tool steels like W-1 & L-6 materials. These tool steels require water quench hardening in order to achieve full hardness.
To transform the retained austenite found in these materials after hardening it is typically necessary to deep freeze or cryo-treat them to -300F below zero.
Gas Nitriding is low temperature diffusion heat-treatment process that can increase the lubricity, corrosion resistance, and surface hardness of certain tools and dies run with this process.
Often several tool steels supplied in the as-cast conditions definitely need a carbon restoration due to the high carbon content of those materials and the natural de-carburization environments of the casting processes.
To straighten out a material post-hardening when they are at their most brittle we employ a process involved fixturing the part during the tempering operation where the material has more ductility and takes a set to a straighter/flatter configuration.
Tool & Die products shaped in cylindrical form require straightening by mechanically pressing the parts with some localized heat put on an area to prevent gross cracking due to the brittleness of the material involved.
Should the tooling require blasting we typically employ a hand-blast operation to make sure care in handling is used to avoid damaging critical edges and over-blasting intricate details on the tool.
Final Stress Tempering is performed to remove machining stresses before a final machining operation to tight tolerances.