stronger metals, lighter product
- Aalberts surface technologies is an expert in austempering, an alternative to conventional heat treatment
- the process leads to better mechanical properties than traditional treatments
- this includes greater strength and toughness, allowing the part to be designed with less material resulting in reduced weight
- with the process well known across North America and parts of Europe, Aalberts surface technologies is looking to work with other customers globally
Aalberts surface technologies is an expert in austempering, an often-overlooked alternative to conventional heat treatment that offers many key benefits for treated metals, including increased strength, greater resistance to fatigue, and reduced distortion and cracking. And while its advantages are widely known across North America and parts of Europe, this fast-growing treatment is now also starting to make its mark in other geographies.
“The austempering process can be used on ductile iron and many steels, and it has a number of very clear advantages over other heat treatments”, says Steve Metz, vice president of business development at Aalberts surface technologies – HIP | braze | heat treatment. “For example, austempering leads to superior mechanical properties than more traditional heat treatments, because we produce a preferred crystal structure. The result is that the treated metal is stronger and tougher than other methods, so customers can use less metal to achieve their design specifications, reducing the product’s weight. This is a profound benefit for many of our customers, such as those in the automotive sector, who want to make their vehicles lighter and improve fuel efficiency and sustainability. Another benefit is that austempering results in a fraction of the distortion experienced in other heat treatments, enabling customers to deliver fully machined parts for treatment, something that you see infrequently within this industry. And the final benefit is cost; although initial outlays are slightly higher than conventional treatments, the other advantages lead to greater value over the long term.”
While Aalberts surface technologies is the largest provider of austempering globally, offering the process to a broad customer base through multiple facilities across North America and with modest coverage in Europe, the market elsewhere is looking for the solutions it offers. “There is a substantial proportion of the market where the demands placed on materials is increasing, and this is where the potential for austempering comes in,” says Steve. “Customers are zeroing in on products that can be stronger, lighter, and more sustainable, which is what we offer. We are passionate about offering austempering to new markets and industries, and look forward to speaking with potential customers from around the world.”