Our Annealing Process
How to Improve Nickel Alloy Products
aluminum-heat-treating | August 31, 2018 |
When drawing, bending, hydroforming and machining certain metals —such as aluminum, stainless steel and titanium—the metals undergo extreme stress to be worked into their new shape. The present mechanical and physical structures of the metal can make certain forming processes difficult due to the hardness and stiffness of the metal's characteristics. Stress imposed on the metal during forming can cause the metal to become more brittle, prone to cracks and other flaws that could cause the component to fail or shorten its lifecycle.
Our annealing heat treatments improve the characteristics of the metal so that it is more ductile and pliable, removing stress and improving the formability of the part.
What is Annealing?
Annealing, also called stress relieving, involves heating metal to a certain temperature until it turns more ductile and workable. This process changes the metallurgical structures in the metal so that the aluminum or titanium loses some structural strength. Then the metal is cooled using a variety of methods, including air cooled or quenched using solutions, and may be aged by reheating the metal to the desired temperature to increase the metal's strength.
Once the annealing process is complete, the metal will have structural and dimensional stability. In addition, the metal's inherent properties may also be increased where the alloy has greater fatigue strength, will distort less, and will have an enhanced electrical conductivity.
We specialize in annealing aluminum products for better ductility. Our aluminum heat treating capabilities include solution treating and aging, stress relieving, and annealing and aging. When heat treating aluminum in general, we have a variety of in-house options—from aging ovens and drop bottom furnaces and quench tanks to freezers—to ensure that the metal reaches the precise temperature needed for the product’s specifications and material thickness. Generally, for metals with a thickness of up to .250 inches, the temperature for annealing aluminum ranges around 300 F up to 750 F.
It’s important to note that certain 5052 aluminum is not heat treatable.
Annealing Titanium and Stainless Steel
Here at Jones Metals, we have an Ipsen vacuum furnace in house, which can anneal titanium and stainless steel as well as nickel alloys. Our vacuum furnace can be heated up to 2,200 F, though the usual temperature range for titanium is 800 F to 1,200 F.
This process is normally reserved for the interim or final stages of product development, as it treats the parts in a uniform manner. In addition, vacuum treatment burns off the top layer of the metal to prevent discoloration. Many of our clients in the aerospace, lighting and commercial industries turn to the annealing process because it shortens development and production times for parts. Beyond annealing, titanium and stainless steel can also go through solution treatment, tempering, hardening and stress relieving.
We believe that quality, timeliness and cost effectiveness should be a given when you hire a company to product your metal products. Whether you need a small order completed quickly or want to undertake a large and precise project, Jones has the capabilities to see you through from beginning to end. If you have a nickel alloy order—be it titanium, stainless steel, aluminum or beyond—reach out to the specialists at Jones Metal. Contact us today to send a drawing or talk with an expert.