Mr. David Pye (View Profile)
Pye Metallurgical International Consulting.
Heat treatment training has been a continuing and persistent problem for both captive and commercial heat-treaters alike. The problem is both a domestic problem and an international problem that continues to inhibit the location of heat treaters with a sound heat treatment and metallurgical knowledge base.
There are no schools of thermal processing technology. No school that the furnace operator can attend.
There are the schools that offer excellent graduate courses in metallurgy and materials science, but nothing for the operator who physically handles and processes the clients work/tooling for the heat treater or the technician that can, in a heartbeat ruin a client’s work.
For the heat treatment operation to be repetitive, competitive and successful, it is a pre-requisite that there are trained and knowledgeable heat treatment associates. HT Courses are addressing that problem by offering a variety of comprehensive heat-treatment courses with both Power Point notes and an accompanying supportive video’s for the;.
- Furnace operator
- Heat treatment technician
- Quality assurance technician
- Technical sales person
- Middle management
- Purchasing agent
The heat treatment of both ferrous and non-ferrous materials requires an understanding of the ever changing control parameters of heat treatment furnace equipment in terms of:
- Atmosphere process control.
- Process control for vacuum treatments and an understanding of Vacuum technology.
- Process temperature uniformity, temperature control and temperature accuracy.
- Process cycle time.
- Surface hardness.
- Core hardness.
- Tensile strength, impact strength and other mechanical properties.
We are currently seeing off-shore sourcing of heat treatment services being both considered and occurring, not only by the auto industry and off road vehicles, but with aircraft, aerospace and defense work.
The engineering industry (metallurgical processing) is continually calling out for ‘accreditation’ and ‘repeatability, but where does the heat treater go to acquire that accreditation with such subjects as;
- Carburizing technology
- Nitriding technology
- Tool-steel and its heat treatment
- Furnace design and Maintenance
- Quenching technology
- Safety in Heat Treatment
- Vacuum processing technology
- Quality assurance testing methods
- And many other Heat Treatment subjects
The emergence of more repeatable and controllable technologies for surface treatment such as are occurring to ensure repeatable metallurgical properties, such as;
- Low Pressure carburizing
- Precision gas nitriding
- Pulsed Plasma Nitriding.
- Precision induction heat treatment
- Thin film hard coatings
- Other emerging technologies
Where does one go to, to find out ‘How to? Why to? There really is nowhere. No recognized authorities will pick up the banner of what is necessary, which is EDUCTION.
Let’s face it, the person on the shop floor, (the furnace associate) is the one who will either make the product being heat treated, or break it??
The manufacturing company makes a high capital investment in terms of money into furnace equipment, yet he has to trust a person/associate who has perhaps received some, or little training in metallurgical processing and control.
For the higher end technologies, the furnace associate is reliant on the furnace manufacturer for training.
Whose responsibility is training? The commercial heat treatment shop owner? The manufacturing company? The schools? The individual? Or is it the responsibility of the furnace associate?
It is a joint and mutual responsibility. A trained and educated work force is usually a force to be reckoned with for to ensure well heat treat products that could be lif and limb (automotive prts, aerospace components, surgical instruments, surgical implants and many others to ensure;
- On time delivery
- Repeatable heat treatment
- Metallurgically sound heat treatment
- Innovative and creative process techniques
- The ability of the associate to assist and guide their clients
- To effectively trouble shoot the process and the system
The only answer that I know is for India to take its place in the manufacturing world through a trained and educated work force. After all, India was the early pioneer of metallurgical processing and in the development of steel and other metallurgical metals.