Established way back in 1932, Rochester Steel Treating Works initially served tool-and-die shops with open hearth, coal-fired furnaces. A lot has changed since then.

Today, RSTW relies more heavily into vacuum processing to meet the needs of the automotive, aerospace, military, electronics and medical industries. In fact, the Rochester, N.Y.-based MTI member recently added a new vacuum furnace to meet customer demand. But that’s just one piece of vacuum equipment the commercial heat treater operates.

A double-chamber furnace, processes high-speed steels in a vacuum atmosphere. Double chambers allow for an oil or pressurized nitrogen quench. This furnace has a 500-pound capacity and a 24- x 36- x 18-inch work zone. A single-chamber furnace with 6-bar quench capability accommodates special processing of H-13. Computerized for precise process control and data acquisition, this furnace has a 2,500-pound capacity with a 36- x 48- x 36-inch work zone. An even larger furnace is utilized for greater poundage and longer materials. RSTW also offers vacuum tempering, which produces cleaner parts and less oxidation and scale through a nitrogen cooling process.

But RSTW does more than just vacuum processing. In addition to vacuum services, case hardening and neutral hardening are available for jobs of any size. From a one-piece project to a large production job, internal-quench atmosphere furnaces are utilized for parts that need carburizing, carbonitriding or through-hardening. The company also offers ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC), which imparts greatly improved wear, fatigue, impact and yield-strength properties to a wide range of carbon steels, alloy steels, tool steels and cast iron parts. FNC also improves corrosion resistance, which eliminates the need for additional protective plating operations in many cases.

At the other end of the temperature spectrum, RSTW provides deep cryogenic tempering in which tools are subject to temperatures of -300°F to increase durability and wear resistance. This one-time, permanent treatment affects the entire piece, not just its surface. 

Versatility and experience are just a couple of things that set RSTW apart from the competition. The shop has the ability to run both small and large jobs in existing equipment. This versatility affects not only load size but the size of its customers. RSTW also has several employees who have been with the company for 10, 20 or 30 years. Their knowledge of heat treatment and the customer base is a valuable asset. In addition, the technical-support staff has over 80 years of combined metallurgical experience and is ready and prepared to answer any customer question.

After 85 years of business, RSTW has seen it all. The company will continue to follow market trends and listen to customer demands to evolve the business accordingly. It is currently keeping a close eye on automation and 3D printing and planning for the future.

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