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Manufacturing process

Heat treatment – a vital technique

| Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Janina Seit

An overview of the heat treatment process along with the challenges and market view of this industry has been outlined in the article.

An overview of the heat treatment process along with the challenges and market view of this industry has been outlined in the article.
( Source: Pexels / CC0 )

A report by market research company Technavio has forecasted the global metal heat treatment market to grow steadily at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than six per cent during the period 2017-2021. Heat treatment is an industrial process that is used for changing the physical and at times the chemical properties of a material. In the manufacturing segment, this process is commonly used in order to change metallurgical properties. The metal is heated in a furnace up to 2,000-2,700°C, which results in the absence of air as well as other gases due to which contamination does not takes place.

During the heat treatment process, superior quality products are manufactured and the structural accuracy of metal products is increased in terms of its tensile and yield strength. Various industries such as automotive, aerospace, and general machinery make use of this process to develop high precision products.

View on the heat treatment market

The main growth driver for this market is the rise in construction activities in which metals such as copper and steel are used. More recently, the automobile industry is manufacturing light weight and eco-friendly vehicles. For this, the booming segment requires high tensile steel and light metals such as aluminum and magnesium that are created by the heat treatment process. The report has also stated that the automotive segment will account for about 32 per cent of the total market share and will dominate the heat treatment market by 2020.

In addition to this, the demand for fuel-efficient and technologically advanced cars has also increased. This industry trend will further boost the metal heat treatment market.

Automation by Internet of Things

Automation has become one of the latest trends of this industry. Now, the furnace can be maintained and controlled by the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. This is not all, the industry is also making use of vacuum furnaces instead of blast furnaces as it emits less carbon dioxide and is also environment friendly.

Geographic demand

Reports also state that the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region dominated the heat treatment market and accounted for more than 43 per cent of the total market share. The core factor behind this scenario was the increasing use of metal heat treatment processes in the automotive, manufacturing, and industrial sectors. Industry analysts claim that this trend will continue till 2021.

In addition to this, North America will emerge as an important region for the metal heat treatment market owing to the increasing use of vacuum and blast furnace in industries such as aerospace and automotive.

Challenges of the heat treatment process

One of the main challenges of the heat treatment process is its high installation cost. Also, different furnaces and temperatures are required for treating different metals to improve their quality. Apart from this, there are certain rules that have to be followed while shaping the part before it undergoes the heat treatment process. If one avoids these rules, there is a high possibility that cracks and hardness issues will be experienced by the specific part.

Another vital challenge is the selection of the combination of design, material grade and heat treatment for a functional component that will have a certain safety relevance, lifetime and wear behaviour. The heat treatment process is often made responsible for mistakes made by the selection of this combination.

The global metal heat treatment market is steadily increasing and with the rise of automobiles across the globe, it is expected to experience further growth!

This article was first published by MaschinenMarkt International.

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