After 40 years, I still embrace heat treating as a lifeline. I know that not just my life depends upon it, but the lives and well-being of many others. I still have the Stanley knife I carried to my first day of work at an oil rig fabrication facility in the far North of Scotland, and though we are both weathered, we both still make the cut when called upon.
As an apprentice I worked the arduous 96-hour weeks (yes, 96, not an error), spending much time learning from my journeyman and coworkers. My craft has been put to the test across the globe in the North Sea, Norway, Scotland, England, Spain, Argentina and here in the U.S. Many of my assignments were conducted independently, far from replacement equipment and technical support. Keeping the job going meant figuring out why something broke and how to fix it without replacement parts or required tools. I rose to the challenges and internalized the lessons learned both in success and failure.
Heat treating is an immensely complicated and multifaceted undertaking. Many types of heat treatment exist, from heat treatment of parts that weigh fractions of an ounce, to those that weigh many tons. Process temperatures vary from below zero to well over 2000 degrees. Materials can be made more corrosion resistant, more abrasion resistant, stronger, more flexible, harder, softer, more ductile, or easier to machine. Material can also be damaged beyond repair if heat treated improperly, causing costly and dangerous failures.
Because it is (in almost all cases) impossible to discern visually whether heat treatment has been done properly, correct processes, stringent procedures and unfailing integrity are essential to good heat treatment. Consequently, thorough training is absolutely necessary.
No matter what you look at, it was most likely either heat treated or made using tools and machines made from parts that were heat treated. A good heat treater knows your life depends upon doing the job correctly--never cutting corners. When you work with TPI, whether for consulting or training, you can rest assured you have a good heat treater on your side.
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