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PROCESS OVERVIEW - Benefits of the Nitride Hardening Process

Nitride Hardening is a means of imparting very high surface hardness to steel components.
There are, of course, other processes which offer this but nitride hardening offers certain crucial advantages:

  • Low process temperature - Around 495º to 535º celsius
  • Lack of shock-inducing "quench" at cycle end - Nitride hardening utilises a slow, controlled heating and cooling rate at cycle end
  • The whole process takes place under a protective atmosphere, giving the finished product a clean, oxide-free finish
In combination these features confer great advantages to the manufacturer requiring wear resistance whilst maintaining component form and dimensional accuracy. In fact, many types of component can only be hardened by the nitriding process due to their complex or slender forms. For example, racing car crankshafts, extrusion screws for plastics manufacture, forming dies, etc. (See photos)
A completed load of work requires careful dismantling
A completed load
prior to dismantling

Masking components prior to the ntriding process

Another major benefit of the nitriding process is the ability to harden selected areas of the component, but of course the entire component can be hardened if preferred. This is achieved through the application of specialised masking paints to areas of the component that do not require hardening.. In our experience, when correctly applied, these masking agents are totally effective during the nitriding process.

A large percentage of our workload needs some degree of masking. For example, motor sport crankshafts usually need extensive masking (see photo) on areas such as the tops of crank webs to allow super accurate balancing prior to engine build. Many components require very intricate masking and this can involve a great deal of operator skill. As specialists, Longwear Surface Treatments take great care to provide the very best in this often critical aspect of the nitride hardening process. Applying special masking paint prior to nitriding
Racing car crankshaft masking using custom made jig
(Click photo for larger version)
Masking a racing car crankshaft for nitride hardening
(Click photo for larger version)
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