Xtek, Inc. – Case Study

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Xtek, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH), heat treats and manufactures a number of wheel and mill roll products as well as spur, helical, herringbone and bevel gears for various applications.  Among the most challenging operations the company performs is selective hardening on items such as crane wheels.  The wheels, as large as 42 inches in diameter, require hardening to 60 HRC on the tread only.

“It’s a very precise operation,” explains Jim Senne, vice-president of heat treating and hardening at Xtek.  “If you try to increase the hardening depth in the tread area and go too far, you risk hardening right through to the wheel flange, and that’s a negative.”

The best solution for Xtek was accurate flame-hardening, which proved to be more of a challenge than Senne expected.  “We hired a local consultant and tried building the equipment ourselves,” Senne recalls.  The equipment proved excessively complex and was less than operator-friendly.  “We called FTSI, and they listened very carefully, then told us they could solve the problem.”

FTSI installed four flame heads at 90-degree intervals surrounding a chuck.  The crane wheel, mounted on the chuck, spins through the flames then descends into a quench tank at the end of the treatment.  Senne and his staff found the equipment accurate, durable, simple to operate and requiring minimum maintenance.  Perhaps the most appealing innovation is the split design of the flame-heads.  “We’re a job shop,” Senne points out, “and the split-head eliminates the need to do a lot of specific tooling for all the blueprints we can handle.”