Annealing is a time-consuming heat treatment process used to soften material to its lowest hardness and is often used to improve machinability or formability. Steel and plastic are both materials that are commonly treated in an annealing oven. When processed and formed, the material strength can be compromised and reduce resistance to wear and cracking. In order to prevent this, metal and plastic parts are often placed in an annealing oven when the parts are heated to just below the transition temperatures for specific durations. The annealing process has several benefits such as improving the machinability, ductility, relieving tensile stress, and more.
There are various types of annealing, such as full annealing and spheroidized annealing, however the most common is process annealing. Often referred to as normalizing, process annealing is done to counteract the hardening effects of cold working in the manufacturing of final parts. After the pieces are worked, they can become too hard and brittle for further processing or final use. They are then placed in a batch or conveyorized annealing oven until the stresses have been removed. Then the material is slowly cooled to avoid adding new stresses in the materials. This process results in metal or plastic parts with low residual stresses in the structures and allows for stronger final products or durability to continue forming and machining the parts.
Epcon has been a leading global supplier or annealing or normalizing ovens to various industrial applications around the world. Our custom engineering and quality production, ensures your process heating equipment will perform and last for decades in your facility.