The Heat Treat Department: for Stability and Strength
One of our most requested value-add services is heat treat. When aluminum castings are heat treated, they are no longer susceptible to instability and low strength. Without this process, certain alloys can take up to 55 years for the castings’ properties and dimensions to stabilize.
When aluminum castings are heat treated, the results are added dimensional stability, strength, machineability, and uniformity.
T4, T5, T6, T7, T51, T71, & T77
The Heat Treat Process, in Three Basic Operations
The first step is solution heat treatment. We heat castings to just below the melting point and hold them there for a significant period of time. This allows alloying elements to enter into a solid solution or homogenize.
Next, quenching freezes the trapped elements in place. We accomplish this by rapidly cooling the castings in heated water. This step includes straightening the castings on a flat surface—which is uncommon in most commercial heat treatment operations.
Finally, we artificially age the aluminum castings. This relatively low temperature stabilizes the castings.