Plasma nitriding/ nitrocarburizing can be used to treat a wide range of materials including carbon and low-alloy steels, tool steels, stainless steels, cast irons, sintered steels, and even titanium. The IONITR plasma nitriding/nitrocarburizing process currently is used to improve the surface hardness and wear resistance of parts and components in a number of different industries including the automotive industry (gear wheels, crankshafts, dies, gear parts and synchronizing rings), plastics industry (extruders, injection molds and cylinders), general mechanical engineering (pumps and hydraulic cylinders), and metals processing industry (molds, dies and cutting and drilling tools). The IONIT OXR process combines the nitriding process with an oxidation step, which extends treatment benefits by improving corrosion resistance and tribological properties of treated parts in addition to increasing surface hardness.
The plasma nitriding/nitrocarburizing process is based on a selective dispersion of nitrogen and/or carbon into ferrous materials. In the vacuum process, a low-energy plasma is used to ionize nitrogen, which then is accelerated toward the component and into the surface, diffusing into the material usually to a maximum depth of 0.8 mm (0.03 in.). The absorption of nitrogen/carbon creates a nitride surface layer in the material. The layer is a pure diffusion layer at a certain concentration of nitrogen. However, a change in nitrogen concentration (based on treatment time and temperature) results in the formation of a new ____(gamma prime) or _ (epsilon) type compound layer out of the diffusion layer (Fig. 1) to a depth between 2 and 20 _m (79 to 790 microinch).