Heat Treatment Portugal/Part One

This week “The Monty Heat Treat News” visits Portugal to look at the captive/commercial heat treating market. We are sure it will surprise no one that the heat treating market in Portugal is relatively small, however what there is, is very sophisticated and technology wise it rivals any market in the world.  Most of the industry revolves around the manufacturing of molds for the plastic industry which is deeply rooted in the history of the country. Portugal for hundreds of years was a hotbed of glass making which required molds, over the years this translated into the manufacturing of molds for the plastic industry. To give you an idea this relatively small country has over 500 manufacturers of molds which are subsequently shipped all over the world. Now as we all know tooling and mold making requires some pretty high end heat treating which means that for a relatively small market there are a number of very advanced vacuum hardening and vacuum nitriding furnaces.
Our first visit was to a captive/commercial heat treater by the name of TTO (Tratmentos Termicos do Oeste) in Maceira, Portugal http://tratamentostermicos.com/pt/. This family owned and run company consists of 3 divisions, a machining division dedicated to the mold making industry, a second division which supplies graphite products and a third division which is the focus of our attention-a captive and commercial heat treating facility.
In turn the heat treating facility can be divided into three parts; a sealed quench (batch IQ) department, a plasma nitriding facility (Ion nitriding as some would call it) and a vacuum department which includes vacuum hardening furnaces, vacuum nitriding units and vacuum tempering systems.
The plasma nitriding operation consists of two Klockner units in imppecable condition which originally came from Bodycote, the atmosphere facility has two sealed quench furnaces with oil quenching and the vacuum line has an impressive 12 furnaces which makes this a very substantial operation-either captive or commercial although it is more a captive operation than a commercial one.
Part Two To Come
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Gord Montgomery, Joao and Hugo Ferreira