EFD Induction, Europe’s largest induction heating company, has won an order for an automatic induction hardening and quenching system from NSK of Japan, the bearing and precision parts manufacturer. The system, which is to be used for hardening automotive components, is due for delivery before the end of this year.
"Of course, we at EFD Induction are used to winning orders from some of Japan’s leading companies," comments Tetsuro Yanagawa, head of EFD Induction Japan. "After all, we have previously devised heating solutions for a major Japanese ship builder, and our equipment was used to help make Japan’s famous high-speed ‘bullet’ trains. But receiving a substantial order from a company like NSK, a global giant in the bearings industry, confirms our ability to satisfy the toughest quality demands."
The order from NSK is special in that it involves a system made at one of EFD Induction’s manufacturing centers in China.
"This is the first time we have sold a China-made system to a Japanese customer for use in Japan. Traditionally, many Japanese firms have been reluctant to turn to overseas suppliers. This is especially true for complex manufacturing equipment such as the system we sold to NSK. However, our colleagues at EFD Induction China really impressed NSK with their technical competence and track record. These factors, coupled with us having our own office in Japan, convinced NSK to choose EFD Induction," said Yanagawa.
Induction heating is often used to harden critical components in the automotive and other industries. The hardening, usually of the surface of a component, is achieved by rapidly raising the temperature of the surface of the workpiece. This temperature increasechanges the microstructure of the metal. Subsequent quenching then permanently locks this structure into a much harder, more durable form. Induction hardening is more and more being used for hardening critical components because each component is hardened individually and only at the desired surfaces. Also, the speed and precision of induction heating minimises the distortion to components brought about by heat treatment. This in turn reduces the need for postheating processes such as grinding. Finally, induction hardening systems slot easily into existing or planned production lines, thereby maintaining production flows, and minimising the number of ‘parts-in-process’.