Heat Treatment Solutions for Metals and Ceramics:
Aluminum Solution Treatment and Ageing Furnaces for the Automotive and Aerospace Industry
By fast quenching of aluminum alloys from solution treatment temperature to room temperature alloying elements are kept in solid solution. The hardening effect arises after quenching by natural ageing or artificial ageing. Depending on the aluminum alloy used and its further processing, either T4 or T6 treatment or other treatments are preferred.
T4 = solution treatment + water quenching + natural aging
T6 = solution treatment + water quenching + artificial aging
The ideal Al heat treatment line achieves the required quench delay time as well as the necessary temperature uniformity for the solution treatment and the artificial aging. The necessary quench delay time to reach the required part properties depends on the selected aluminum alloy, the shape of the parts as well as on the way of parts’ arrangement in the load. Once the latter mentioned parameters have been clarified, we can work out a detailed proposal, suitable to achieve the requested properties with a high and reproducible quality.
The here provided download for the article „Quenching of Aluminum Alloys” explains the major correlations necessary to determine the correct quench delay time of your specific part.
Example: Fully automatic Aluminum Solution Treatment and Ageing Line with integrated water quench bath
Such heat treatment lines are, for instance, used for solution treatment of aircraft parts. The parts are fully automatic solution annealed and moved within 8 sec from the furnace to the water quench bath:
- Furnace up to maximum 600°C
- Internal chain driven load transport system
- Quench bath for different quench media with high speed agitation and high pressure spray head
- Roller conveyer system for loading and unloading
Next step after solution annealing with post water quenching is artificial aging. For this the parts are kept in a temperature range from 110 °C to 260 °C for an adjustable time and temperature.
Furnace applied for heat treatment of aircraft parts usually need to apply for NADCAP AMS 2750 E in order to meet high demands of the aircraft industry with respect to quality, safety and traceability. The automotive industry implements more and more quality increasing measures, including complete documentation also in the sector of heat treatment and hence demands self-assessment of their supplier according to AIAG CQI-9-HTSA. For suppliers of the aircraft or automotive industry it is strongly recommended to consider these standards when investing in new furnaces or complete new heat treatment lines.