Tool steels are an important class of steels due to their distinct applications and their specific heat treating issues. This article provides an overview of the classification and production of tool steels, and discusses the procedures and process control requirements for heat treating principal types of tool steels. It reviews the various heat treating processes, namely, normalizing, annealing, stress relieving, austenitizing, quenching, and tempering, and surface treatments and cold treating. The article also provides information on the applicability of these processes to various types of tool steels.
This article provides a detailed discussion on the heating equipment used for austenitizing, quenching, and tempering tool steels. These include salt bath furnaces, controlled atmosphere furnaces, fluidized-bed furnaces, and vacuum furnaces. The article discusses the types of nitriding and nitrocarburizing processes and the equipment required for heat treating tool steels to improve hardness, wear resistance, and thermal fatigue. The various nitriding and nitrocarburizing processes covered are salt bath nitrocarburizing, gas nitriding and nitrocarburizing, and plasma nitriding and nitrocarburizing.