A Question of Values

20th March 2013

One of the challenges often faced by specialist heat treatment company Flame Hardeners is getting potential customers to understand the importance of ensuring quality of end result when selecting a supplier for heat treatment rather than basing their purchasing decision on price alone.

The following is a somewhat exaggerated summary of the exchange that may take place: Potential Customer (PC) asks for price to harden some sprockets; Flame Hardeners advises price PC responds: -How much?! I only want them warming up and a bucket of water chucking at them. Flame Hardeners provides an explanation regarding the use of correct tooling, heating and quenching techniques, need to temper, need to hardness test and subject to crack detection, need to maintain a recognised quality system, need to train staff and get them qualified. The correct hardening procedure adds value to the components. PC says, -I'll put an oxy acetylene torch on the items and chuck water on them. -Having added value by machining the material he has purchased the potential customer has then eliminated all value with his torch and water technique, explains Flame Hardeners' managing director, Roger Haw. Subsequently, the potential customer calls back to explain that his customer doesn't like what he's done, and asks whether the item he's 'hardened' can be corrected and can the remaining components be hardened to the satisfaction of the customer? Flame Hardeners then hardens the items correctly and the ultimate customer is satisfied. -It's all a question of values, says Mr. Haw. -And the question is, how much do you value the ultimate value of your components; and do you value the value that is added by using valued treatment? Flame Hardeners advises that when choosing a surface hardening supplier, you should look for a company that can offer both technical support and production capability. The company should employ engineers and technicians who are well versed in the production of engineering components, with a sound knowledge of materials, metallurgy and material testing techniques. Such a combination of skills will provide you with the necessary advice on your choice of treatments and materials, together with an assessment of the likely advantages and disadvantages of your intentions. When designs have been finalised those same skills will provide you with assurance that your products are satisfactory, as technicians involved with treatment will control repeatability and testing functions, such as hardness testing and NDT examinations. For further information contact: FLAME HARDENERS LTD. Shorter Works, Bailey Lane, Sheffield, S1 3BL Telephone: 0114 276 8167 Fax. 0114 273 8657 E-mail: mail@flamehardeners.co.uk www.flamehardeners.co.uk

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