Large slewing bearings are employed in wind turbines and other energy industry applications where they are subjected to harsh working conditions. In order to bear heavy dynamic loads, slewing ring tracks can be surface hardened by induction heating with a seamless process which allows for a uniform heat treatment without soft zones. In comparison with the traditional furnace carburizing, seamless induction hardening is faster, consumes less energy, and has been developed to achieve the same results utilizing medium carbon steel. The presence of a pre-heating coil, with an independent power source, allows for the adjustment of the heat input rate in order to tune the heating process according to the steel characteristics. The pre-heating operation allows for case depths up to 10 mm to be reached without a reduction in scanning speed or productivity. A mechanical tracking system adjusts the coils to compensate for ring deformation and thus assure a uniform heating pattern. Surface hardness tests and metallography have been performed in different process stages to verify the process consistency. A fine grain microstructure in the end zone has been obtained thanks to the pre-heating coil, which avoids surface overheating.

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