Solar Atmospheres, using advanced gas cooling technology, developed a unique three-step heat-treat process to austenite condition, in-situ cool and bright age harden 17-7 precipitation hardenable (PH) stainless steel in a vacuum furnace without breaking vacuum. This is highly desirable because it is difficult to keep 17-7 bright during the PH treatment after breaking vacuum and exposing parts to ambient atmosphere required for adequate cooling, where it can discolor due to oxidation. Working with the medical industry, a new in-situ process was developed where desirable mechanical properties could be consistently obtained.
A new medical-device design could be based on the established set of mechanical properties, and the company would reap the benefit of reduced costs owing to reduced pricing associated with the new in-situ, three-step process. Visit Solar Atmospheres' website for the full press release.