Penna Flame Industries was founded in 1968 by Garrett Orr mainly for one reason – to fill a growing need in the steel industry for the precision surface hardening of steel components. Today, over four decades after opening, the Zelienople, Pa.-based company is thriving at exactly what it was set up to do.

    Since its inception, this family-owned business has focused on the timely delivery of high-quality products. James Orr, the company’s second-generation owner, has focused on the technology available to offer an unparalleled level of precision and repeatability in an effort to ensure that customer’s expectations are met.

    Penna Flame’s success is driven by its team of 25 experts and their combined experience of over 250 years. This includes the part-time contribution of its very first employee. The company relies on a healthy blend of know-how and technology while adding new, innovative equipment each year. Penna Flame’s full-service facility is capable of a variety of services, including spin flame hardening, progressive spin hardening, progressive hardening, robotic precision hardening, hardness testing, wheel and axle assembly, deep cryogenics, stress relieving and tempering.

    Spin flame hardening is a method by which a circular part is rotated while flame is applied to the desired area. Upon reaching a target temperature, the part is immersed in quench. This method of flame hardening provides selected areas of parts to be hardened uniformly without detrimental soft zones. Typical applications for this method include wheels, gears, sheaves, sprockets, rollers, rings and more.

    The “Uni-Max” Case is a roll hardening process developed by Penna Flame. This progressive spin hardening technique rotates rolls and shafts while a heat source scans horizontally or vertically. Infrared measuring devices monitor surface temperature while computer controls ensure maximum surface hardness and uniformity of depth.

    Progressive hardening is a technique that involves manipulating the movement of a part or a flame head in order to harden a desired area. Temperatures are monitored by an infrared measuring system, and rotation travels at a pre-programmed speed. Typical applications of this technique include thrust rings, sheaves and other parts that have a delicate hardening requirement.

    In 2008, Penna Flame revolutionized the flame hardening industry by installing its first FANUC robotic cell. It became the first flame hardening company to utilize robotics, which offers unmatched quality and repeatability, as a precision surface hardening method. The robot has the ability to work around a part and selectively harden only the areas for which it has been programmed. This precision provides quality results on jobs that were previously too difficult to accomplish with conventional methods. Penna Flame currently has three of these robotic cells, with the most recent installed in 2011. Coupled with programmable index tables, these robots provide an automation system that helps decrease production time while maintaining the highest quality in precision surface hardening. Applications are near limitless for this method of hardening.

    With oven capabilities to 1250°F and cryogenic treating temperatures to -300°F, Penna Flame has a variety of complementary equipment available for every step of the proper hardening process. Penna Flame also offers crane capacities up to 10 tons and inspection capabilities that ensure the highest level of quality available.

    As the company transitions to its third generation of ownership, Andrew and Michael Orr are working diligently to elevate the lofty standard of quality and satisfaction that customers have learned to associate with Penna Flame Industries. 

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