Cryogenic treatment is a metal treatment that strengthens and enhances the mechanical characteristics of metal materials by using cryogenic temperatures. Subjecting workpieces to temperatures below -190°C improves properties like wear resistance and stabilization.
Arrow Cryogenics provides a variety of specialized cryogenic treatment options. Our cryo deflashing processes can remove unwanted flash and burrs from molded products, while our other cryogenic treatment processes can improve the performance of metal parts by realigning the molecular structure, which can extend the working life of components by 100% or more.
By design, our cryogenic deflashing and cryogenic metal treatment services deliver the intended results without risking damage to the parts themselves.
Cryogenic Treatment Process
During cryo processing, metal is slowly cooled, usually using liquid nitrogen. This slow descend to cryogenic temperatures helps prevent stress on the material. The metal is kept at this freezing temperature up to 24 hours before it’s brought back up to around 149°C using heat tempering.
Using Cryo Treatment in Addition to Heat Treatment
Cryogenic metal treatment and heat treatment are two ends of the metal treatment spectrum. While heat treatment can improve the strength of the metal and make changes to the metal’s structure, it can still leave imperfections.
Heat treating converts the crystal structure of metal into martensite, but it still leaves a percentage of the structure as retained austenite. Cryogenic treating can convert the remaining austenite crystal structure to martensite, creating a more consistent grain structure and improving the durability of the material.
Cryo-treated materials maintain greater dimensional stability and can be machined to tighter tolerances, are impervious to creep (or “walk”), and are significantly less susceptible to stress fracturing. Exposing metal to extremely low temperatures also produces higher wear resistance.
Additional benefits of the cryogenic treatment process include:
- Relieve stresses
- Reduce fatigue failures
- Heat transmissivity
- Enhanced machinability
- Improved toughness and impact resistance
Types of Cryogenic Metal Treatment Services
Arrow Cryogenics provides fast, efficient, and safe cryo treatment services for a wide variety of metals and other materials. Using proven, carefully-controlled processes, we can effectively process parts and components of all shapes and sizes.
Cryogenic deflashing is one of the most effective methods of removing unwanted excess material from injection molded or machined parts. It is quick, clean, and cost-effective at removing unwanted residual mold flash from a variety of products including gaskets, medical implants, electronic connectors, and more.
During the process, liquid nitrogen is used to lower the temperature of the part until it becomes brittle. In this state, the cryogenic deflashing machine will use polycarbonate or other media to quickly remove the excess mold flash.
During this process, similar to cryogenic deflashing, the workpiece is placed in a sealed chamber, cooled to an extremely low temperature, and then deburred with non-abrasive media. As the burrs are smaller and thinner than the rest of the part, they are easily cleared away in this frozen state, and the media that is used does not affect the finish or intended geometry of the part itself.
Cryogenic deburring provides a safe, clean removal process that doesn’t damage the surface or geometry of the part.
Cryogenic metal treatment increases the density of metal materials, making them stronger and more solid. This increases their performance, durability, and wear resistance while reducing friction and surface roughness, and thereby reduces part replacement costs and associated downtime.
Cryo treatment for extended wear involves placing the workpiece in a specially lined chamber and using liquid nitrogen to gradually lower the temperature to -300°F (-184°C). A slow cooling process is required to prevent damaging, distorting, or stressing the part.
The part remains at the target temperature for an extended period, during which the material’s microstructure is permanently altered from a soft, austenitic structure to a stronger, longer-lasting martensitic structure. After a prescribed period at low temperature, parts are slowly reheated—to as much as 300°F (149°C)—to temper the material and permanently align the modified grain structure.
The altered microstructure of cryo-treated materials also helps to reduce the stresses imparted by machining and other fabrication and finishing processes. Because the entire part is affected, not just the surface layer, the material maintains greater dimensional stability throughout. This, in turn, allows parts to be machined to extremely tight tolerances without stress cracking/fracturing.
Cryogenic stress relief can also improve the dielectric properties of treated parts, improve their abrasion and impact resistance, and enhance toughness and wear resistance. Ultimately, cryo stress relief results in longer-lasting parts and reduces the costs incurred and downtime caused by part failure.
Cryo Processing for Metal, Rubber & More
Cryogenic treatment is effective for all manner of products. From de-flashing molded rubber parts to cryogenically treating steel drill bits, our in-house cryogenic services are a fast and cost-effective way to process your parts in bulk. We will adjust our processes to meet your end specifications.
Sample processing is available to determine if our cryogenic deflashing or other cryo treatment processes are right for your unique needs.
Contact Us for Your Cryogenic Deflashing, Deburring, & Cryogenic Treatment Requirements