Heat Treatment of Metals in Tool- and Mould-Making
Precision heat treatment of metals can be realized with the help of diode lasers in a more flexible, precise, and often more economical way than with other laser beam sources or other tools like gas flames, infrared rays, and induction coils, e.g. for the selective hardening of gripping tools or mold surface treatment at particularly stressed areas.
In the last few articles of our little series, we presented some key areas for the application of diode lasers. Now we focus on a further application field: heat treatment. Heat treatment is used for hardening machine components, tools, accessory and commodities, but also for the softening of high-strength materials.
The heat treatment of metal, such as the hardening of steel, is one of the oldest industrial processes. Its roots go back to antiquity. Even today's laser heat treatments still follow the classical objectives: The targeted application of heat to defined surface areas alters material properties and protects components from wear and corrosion.
By the way, diode lasers can also be used for drying printing inks. The color layers are heated with a laser beam, and because of temperature induced increased viscosity they are more quickly absorbed by the printing material. The modular and compact components of the laser can be directly integrated into the systems of offset printers.
This shows clearly why heat treatment is one of the main application fields for diode lasers — compared to other methods they are simply ahead. Thanks to accurate heating, the lasers are more flexible, more precise, and even more economical than induction, gas flames, or infrared radiators. And that’s not all: This universal tool called diode laser can also be used for brazing, which our next blog article will further explain.