In 1968, a prominent heat treater in Oakland, Calif., joined forces with a local brazing company. The companies wanted to do both heat treating and brazing in one shop. The combo proved to be a great idea.

The joint venture, ThermoFusion Inc., moved to its current location in Hayward, Calif., in 1972 before being sold to Dave Buttner Sr. in 1984. Buttner Sr. promptly started expanding the company, forming a brazing-only division in Fremont, Calif., and an additional heat-treating division to serve northern Nevada. Those were sold in 2004 so ThermoFusion could focus on growing its own business.

This MTI member, which is ISO 9001, AS9100 and Nadcap certified, currently operates three shifts at least five days per week. ThermoFusion has five vacuum furnaces and two hydrogen furnaces that can be used for heat treating or brazing. The company also boasts three induction machines, a belt furnace with a 36-inch hot zone, several air furnaces, two IQ furnaces, one endothermic furnace, two straightening presses, and a furnace that is used for both nitriding and ferritic nitrocarburizing.

ThermoFusion uses this equipment to serve customers in the aerospace, agriculture, automotive, defense, medical, mining and semiconductor-equipment industries. With 32 employees, the company provides: vacuum annealing and hardening, induction hardening, nitriding, stress relieving, case hardening, neutral hardening, and a variety of brazing services.

    One thing that sets ThermoFusion apart is its staff. The company has three materials engineers and two industrial engineers on staff with hundreds of years of combined experience. If they haven’t seen it, they can understand it and help customers with it.

ThermoFusion is always looking for ways to improve and grow its business. In August 2016, Edwards Heat Treating was acquired. One year later, the company expanded its services to include marquenching and austempering. Marquenching and austempering use a less aggressive quenchant to reduce distortion caused by rapid temperature change. In June 2018, ThermoFusion installed an endothermic gas generator and an indirect temper furnace to support customer demand.

Last year, however, was important for ThermoFusion. First, the company transitioned from Dave Buttner Sr. to Glen Ottinger, a move that represents a new generation of leadership. Second, ThermoFusion was named the 2019 Commercial Heat Treater of the Year award. Presented by MTI and Industrial Heating, the annual award is given to one MTI member company that demonstrates they are “making a positive impact on their community and their industry.” It is based on quality programs, pollution/hazardous waste control and community leadership. ThermoFusion was selected because of its commitment to customer satisfaction, efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and continual investment in the community, particularly in education.

The future is bright at ThermoFusion. The company will continue to explore new brazing and heat-treating methods and will not hesitate to secure new equipment if it finds better methods or starts to see delays in turnaround times for customers.

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