This is your guide to annealing equipment. We’ll begin by explaining the process of annealing, and go into the equipment involved in the process.
Annealing is the process of treating a material with heat to change is physical and chemical properties. This process is essential to the manufacturing and material science industries. Annealing is often used to soften a material, making it more ductile and workable for use in future processes. The softened material can then be prepared for further work like stamping, shaping and forming.
How It Works
Annealing heats materials to the required temperature. Once the temperature is reached, and held for the correct amount of time, the material is then cooled. Cooling can occur slowly (via air drying) or quickly (via quenching the material in water).
Annealing can be done on a range of materials. Commonly used metals include steel, copper, brass, and silver.
By heating a metal, the atoms move around within the solid material. Heat increases the rate of movement by allowing pre-existing atomic bonds to break more quickly. This redistribution irradiates “dislocations” in the metals. Dislocations are like “kinks” in a material, which would otherwise stiffen it. After annealing, these dislocations are gone, allowing the material to be shaped more easily.
This process is known as “stress relief” for metal materials. Relief of stress happens naturally at room temperature, but it is very slow. Using high temperatures allows the process to be completed quickly.
There is a range of annealing equipment available to choose from. One option is a batch oven. These ovens allow products to be placed inside in “batches” and annealed at specific temperatures. They are incredibly versatile, and you can very wall thickness and overall oven dimension. Another great option is a conveyor oven which, as the name suggests, includes a conveyor belt along which the material travels. These have heating and cooling zones that are fully customizable and can make your process more efficient. Gas fired ovens are another option, but you must consider that they use natural gas instead of electricity.
Annealing is essential to many industrial processes. At Eastman Manufacturing, we provide annealing equipment that can make this process simple and efficient for you. Our range of ovens, process tanks, and custom options can be made to perfectly suit your operation.