Solution Annealing is a high temperature process that is normally required on parts or components that have previously been used for long periods of time in a high temperature process. In this industry, it sometimes gets confusing as many times the terms anneal, solution anneal and solution heat treatment are used interchangeably in describing these services. Annealing helps restore stainless steel and other metal alloy's ductility following cold working, allowing additional processing including welding without the fear of cracking. Annealing may also be used to release mechanical stresses induced by grinding and machining helping prevent distortion during future subsequent higher temperature heat treatment operations.
During the solution annealing process, material returns to a state whereas the part can continue to be used or can be welded on with a reduced chance of cracking taking place during welding. Often rework or welding on solution annealed steels will require additional heat treatments to help retain its microstructure and ductility. Some challenges due to the required temperature ranges as well as cooling requirements can make solution annealing a hazardous proposition.
Special precautions should be discussed where onsite applications are required. The teardown operations of the annealing at extreme temperatures to allow for a forced cooling can cause a serious safety risk. Special safety attire as well as precautions to prevent the hot elements from causing a fire from debris or other materials local to the work area should be discussed and preventive measures put in place as a part of the pre job walk through and analysis. Special component support is also recommended to prevent distortion during the heat treatment process. Hi temperature canthal heating elements as well as high temperature cefir thermocouple wire should be utilized to ensure thermocouple accuracy and to help prevent heater failure during the annealing.
Axioms understanding of the process and risks associated with solution annealing heat treatment as well as our ability to achieve the highest temperature and controls, including force cooling, gives our customers the added confidence that they are working with a company that values safety, quality and are committed to getting the job done right, on time and on schedule.