21st Century Heat Treatment
This article summarizes advancements in industrial heating from 2000 to present day.
The first decade of the 2000s brought an incorporation of more of the developed technologies into industrial heating, as ROI improved and replacement equipment was needed. The focus was still on energy savings, and recuperative and regenerative burners became more common. Insulation options, such as microporous material, were incorporated as standard practice for new furnace systems and rebuilds. Vacuum carburizing incorporating high-pressure gas quenching (LPC + HPGQ) benefitted from its continuous improvement and became a more commonly used process.
Instrumentation might have been the biggest development in the past decade. Requirements such as Nadcap and CQI-9 imposed documentation that was most easily accomplished using paperless systems. Chart recorders continued to go the way of the buggy whip, and people also began incorporating some form of wireless technology, which continues to develop. Process modeling has also become more integrated with furnace control systems. These developments will help manufacturers decrease costs and increase productivity.
The decade of the teens continues, and while many things could be mentioned, we will identify 3D printing (additive manufacturing) as the technology having the most impact now and for the balance of the decade. Having its roots in the 1980s, no one heard much about this potentially disruptive technology until later. We first came into contact with a 3D-printed part sometime in the late 1990s, and regular coverage began in the early 2000s in Industrial Heating. We continue to have our finger on the pulse of this “new” technology, and we even began a 3D-printing newsletter in 2016. Whether it be the latest information about composites, 3D printing or something yet to be discovered, Industrial Heating has it covered.
We hope you have enjoyed this brief review of the past century (or so) of thermal processing. Referring back to Dr. Bates, “Thousands of workers convening regularly to exchange and fit together their individually acquired bits of new information have made modern steel possible. Only by this and similarly free collective action will progress continue.”
We can’t think of a better summary for what we do through the pages of Industrial Heating, our website, enewsletters and podcasts. We look forward to helping continue the progress.