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From Bicycle Bearings to Brake Wheels: Xtek TSP Heat Treating Technology

TSP Heat Treating TechnologyOne of the leading differentiators that puts Xtek ahead of competitors is our Tool Steel Process (TSP). When it comes to wear resistance in heavy-duty applications, the Xtek TSP has become the leading solution for increasing steel hardness and extending part life. By fortifying the most highly stressed surface areas of components, the Xtek TSP extends the life of critical components including coupling gearing, roll end casings, coupling thrust components, replacement gearing, brake wheels, sheave wheels, and rope drums.

Heavily loaded industrial components fail for a number of reasons including wear, pitting, spalling, and breakage as a result of metal fatigue. While some component failures result from system failure or neglect, most are effected by the surface hardness and microstructure of the component. The heat treating technology used in the manufacture of the component is considered to be the most impactful of all manufacturing properties when it comes to hardness, strength, and service life.

A great idea on the surface

The Tool Steel Process is based on a method of carburization that imparts metallurgical properties to gears and other components to make them as durable as tool steel. It differs from tool steel in that it focuses on the surface of the part. For example, on a gear it generates a uniform depth of hardness across the profile of the gear tooth and the root diameter — the most highly stressed portions of a gear. It is superior to tool steel in that the Xtek TSP preserves the soft and ductile characteristics of the gear’s core. If the entire part were comprised of tool steel it would be too brittle for most applications. The result of TSP treatment is unmatched strength and a significant extension of gear life.

A time-tested solution

Will the innovative Xtek Tool Steel Process stand the test of time? It already has. Its success has been demonstrated by the extended life-span of our array TSP treated components, but also by the fact that the method was developed over a century ago by a young Cincinnati inventor. At the turn of the 20th century, Russell Bloomfield sought a way to make cup and cone bearings for bicycles that could take the harsh pounding of the cobblestone streets that were ubiquitous at the time. Bloomfield’s efforts led to the development of a steel hardening process that would become known as the Tool Steel Process (TSP).

A revolutionary development for steel mills

Soon following the invention of the Tool Steel Process, the idea was applied to gears made for streetcars, then heavy-duty equipment applications in railroads, mines, and steel mills. Steel mills in particular found TSP treated gears to be a long awaited solution to chronic component failure issues, which were seriously hindering productivity. This was especially true for the machines used to flatten and roll out steel into sheets, since the high force required to perform the rolling would rapidly wear out the gear teeth. TSP treated gears lasted approximately two years compared to the previous gears, which lasted about two months.
Nearly 110 years after the work of Russell Bloomfield, TSP heat treating technology is now being used in the manufacture of components for a wide range of applications. Interested in learning more about improving the performance of your system with TSP treated components? Contact us today!



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