Annealing should be used throughout the manufacturing process. Temperature and cooling rates are controlled differing from Normalizing process.
Annealing a component can:
- Increase a part’s ductility
- Improve a part’s “workability”
- Increase a part’s toughness
- Reducing the part’s hardness
Engineering groups need to be aware of all manufacturing processes required and the sequence of events they lay. Such workability processes include: bending, cold forming, welding or (deep) drawing. Various manufacturing steps (including welding stresses) make further manufacturing steps difficult or create fractures. Not annealing the parts may make further manufacturing impossible or result in fracturing.
By heating the material above the A temperature, it makes the part microstructure more ductile allowing further manufacturing possible and a uniform grain size to work with. Welding on the component creates stresses as cooling (solidification) begins.
Other materials such as aluminum, brass and copper are a few that also benefit from annealing.
Annealing temperatures of alloys are based on the alloy elements. The process cycle times will also vary by material alloy.
Controlled cooling can become lengthy in time. Anywhere from 10˚F/hr. – 30˚F/hr. cooling rates. Thicker cross sections can create concerns. This must be considered by the engineering groups of the manufacturer, for their quoting process to their customer.