Following in their father’s footsteps, brothers Frank and Gene Clark opened Lark Heat Treating back in 1978. Their dad, Wade, had started his heat-treating career in 1936.

Today, the Houston, Texas-based MTI member is one of the top heat-treat providers in the southern U.S., with customers ranging from local machine shops to international tool companies in the oil and gas industry.

With approximately 55 employees, Lark Heat Treating provides a wide range of services to its customers. These include open-fire processing up to 2150°F (with water, oil and polymer quenching), atmosphere processing up to 1950°F (with water and oil quenching), carburizing/carbonitriding, induction hardening and tempering, vacuum processing up to 2350°F, gas nitriding, abrasive cleaning and straightening. The company can also perform microhardness testing and full chemical (mass spectroscopy) evaluation. 

Lark Heat Treating has the equipment to handle a variety of jobs. Its open-fire processing with water and oil quench capability stretches to parts 12 feet long and 15,000 pounds, while its open-fire polymer quench capability includes parts a maximum 8 feet long and wide weighing up to 8,000 pounds. The company’s carburizing/carbonitriding services can process parts 24 x 40 x 17.5 inches; gas nitriding can treat parts up to 72 inches long; and vacuum can manage parts 44 x 55 inches.

Out of all this, however, Lark Heat Treating points to PLC programming on its induction equipment and data-gathering capabilities on all of its furnaces as technologies that are most important to its success as a business.

What helps set the company apart from its competition is the experience it brings to the table. Nine current employees have over 200 years combined in the heat-treating industry, something that is vital when it comes to answering questions and helping with requests.

In the past year, Lark Heat Treating has installed one new vacuum furnace and two new nitriding furnaces. It has also purchased two additional vacuum furnaces set for future installation. This activity is just the tip of the iceberg. The company is scheduled to complete a 20,000-square-foot expansion in the next 18 months and hopes to have all eight of its gas nitriding furnaces capable of Kn potential control in the same time frame. Also on the horizon is a new normalizing/stress relief furnace and an integral quench furnace.

This is all quite impressive for the Clark brothers, who still own and operate the company they started to pay homage to their father nearly 40 years ago.

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