Induction heating machines, from the induction furnace to the induction forge, are absolutely critical to manufacturing. One of the main uses for an induction forge is to make steel, 50% of which is used in building and infrastructure construction and another 13% in making cars and trucks. Another 16% of our world’s steel will go to manufacturing and robotics. This makes the induction forge a critical step in the manufacturing process from government infrastructure projects to the most advanced aerospace rockets.
What is Induction Heating?
Induction heating is a very reliable process for hardening metal. An alternating electric current is applied to a transformer which creates an alternating magnetic field. This magnetic field creates a circulating eddy of current that flows against any material that is resistant to electricity. This flow and resistance together create heat because of the internal friction, yet there is no contact between the inductor and what is being heated and there are no gases produced or any combustion.
Why is Induction Heating A Good Idea?
Induction heating has a lot of advantages over traditional direct heating methods. In an induction forge, for example, consistency is optimized when compared with open flame heating or torching. All it takes is a properly calibrated system and this perfect consistency can be repeated over and over again. Here are a few other important benefits to induction heating:
- Induction heating is environmentally responsible. Because an induction forge does not require fossil fuels and does not produce pollution, forging and furnishing using induction protects the environment and provides an excellent way of forging metals without harming the world around us.
- Induction heating improves the quality of products. When a metal is produced using the induction heating method, the metal itself never comes into any direct contact with any kind of fire or heating element. All the heat comes from the alternating electrical current. This means it is much less likely that the steel you are heating will warp or distort.
- An induction forge is an energy-efficient way of production. Almost 90% of the energy that is used to make heat in something like a steel melting induction furnace goes into the actual process and is not lost. The old type of batch furnaces were only about 45% energy efficient, meaning that an induction forge offers an enormous savings of energy.
- You don’t need a “standby” mode. In the older type of melting furnace, it was often necessary to keep the furnace at standby heat levels because of the enormous cost of bringing them from cool all the way up to operational temperatures. With induction heating, there is no warm up or cool down cycle and no need to waste energy by keeping anything in standby mode.
- Induction heating allows for focused treatment of surfaces. Because induction heating is so precise, hardened areas can be very accurately controlled for location, depth, and hardness.
What Has to Be Considered In The Induction Forging Process?
- What your parts are like. Induction heating can be used successfully with both metal and plastic, but different temperatures would be needed for both. They can also heat both magnetic and nonmagnetic parts, though it is always easier to heat materials that are magnetic. One final important consideration is how resistive the product is to electricity. When a metal strongly resists current, heat builds up fast. Metals that do not resist electrical currents take longer to heat.
- Design of the inductor forge. One of the most important issues for any inductive forage or furnace is a precise design that maximizes efficiency from the power supply while still making it easy to add and remove parts.
- Temperature change issues. One last thing it’s important to take into consideration is the amount of temperature change that is needed for processing any particular element. It’s important to know this going in because the greater amount of temperature change you need, the more heating power you will generally require.
Induction hardening is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way of forging steel and other important metals and materials that we have. The technology only it’s better as time goes along and it remains to be seen what new developments will create for the future.