Alloy Engineering Blog

Heat Treating Tray Replacement: Key Considerations

Serp Tray

Heat treat trays are designed to provide maximum efficiency for your manufacturing operations. They are a crucial element that must handle a heavy load at extreme temperatures. Because they operate in extreme environments, they will periodically need to be replaced – typically every one to three years depending on your operation.

Maintenance managers often re-order the same trays again and again without fully exploring the opportunity to understand if and how the design could be improved. Although there are many types of furnaces that incorporate trays, we’ve compiled three considerations that apply for nearly all types of heat treating trays.

Consideration #1 – Why are Your Trays Failing?

Heat treating furnace trays will eventually fail, but the goal is always to get as much service life as possible. Maintenance managers should consider analyzing how and why their trays are failing. It could be due to the weight-to-part ratio during heat treating, or it could be the materials used to build the tray. Spend some time exploring the reasons for failure, and the ways you might address them in order to extend their life.

Consideration #2 – Could you Benefit from an Updated or Modified Design?

Again, don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to keep ordering the exact same tray. Many heat treating companies have benefited from re-designing existing trays for improved service life. Make sure you speak with several vendors, and partner with a company that has expertise improving tray design.

Consideration #3 – Could you Benefit from Incorporating Different Materials?

If your goal is to extend the lifespan of your trays, then consider ductile wrought materials that offer greater resistance to thermal fatigue. Also keep in mind that efficiencies can be gained during the heat treating process when you utilize higher grade materials that weigh less.

Your Next Steps

These three considerations are a great starting point to begin your discussions with vendors. Remember to begin speaking with vendors early to allow ample time for design and fabrication.

Alloy Engineering offers heat treating baskets, trays, fixtures and grids in a variety of application-specific configurations. To learn more, contact us here or call us at 440.243.6800.