What Is Induction Heating?
Induction heating is a process which is used to bond, harden or soften metals or other conductive materials. For many modern manufacturing processes, induction heating offers an attractive combination of speed, consistency and control.
The basic principles of induction heating have been understood and applied to manufacturing since the 1920s. During World War II, the technology developed rapidly to meet urgent wartime requirements for a fast, reliable process to harden metal engine parts. More recently, the focus on lean manufacturing techniques and emphasis on improved quality control have led to a rediscovery of induction technology, along with the development of precisely controlled, all solid state induction power supplies.
What makes this heating method so unique?
In the most common heating methods, a torch or open flame is directly applied to the metal part. But with induction heating, heat is actually "induced" within the part itself by circulating electrical currents.
Induction heating relies on the unique characteristics of radio frequency(RF) energy - that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum below infrared and microwave energy. Since heat is transferred to the product via electromagnetic waves, the part never comes into direct contact with any flame, the inductor itself does not get hot (see Figure 1), and there is no product contamination. When properly set up, the process becomes very repeatable and controllable.