Frequently asked questions
… and our answers

In this section, we answer questions that our experts for surface treatment are particularly asked. Your question is not included? No problem, just write us a message or give us a call – we know the answer!

What exactly is plasma?

The term plasma describes an electrically conductive gas, also known as the fourth state of matter.

How can plasma be used?

The electrical energy of the plasma replaces some of the thermal energy during the heat treatment. The workpieces are heated less than during other methods. This makes it possible to achieve a higher dimensional accuracy of the workpieces. At best, a downstream hard machining can be completely eliminated.

What is the difference between nitriding, nitrocarburizing, plasma nitriding and plasma nitrocarburizing?

In plasma nitriding, nitrogen is embedded in the edge layer of the workpiece. If carbon is additionally incorporated, this is called plasma nitrocarburizing. The different components influence the coating properties of the heat-treated workpiece. In general usage, no distinction is often made between the two processes, as they do not differ in principle except for the treatment gases.

Which materials can be plasma nitrided?

The process is primarily used for steel and titanium. An overview of the treatment results for common materials can be found here. My material is not listed in the overview. What now? Every steel can be nitrided. Based on our experience, we would be pleased to give you a treatment recommendation, advice and estimates of the hardness and nitriding depths that can be achieved.

Can every type of steel be treated?

Yes! Every type of steel can be hardened with plasma nitriding. The achievable result is strongly dependend on the basic alloy and its composition.

What hardness can be achieved by the processes?

The achievable hardness depends largely on the composition of the starting material. Materials with a high content of chromium, manganese, vanadium and other nitride-forming alloying elements therefore achieve higher hardness than low-alloy steels. Nitriding steels bear their name because they contain a correspondingly high proportion of nitride formers. Why is the tolerance of the attainable hardness so high? Every standardized material has a defined composition with defined tolerances of the components. The proportion of nitride formers in the starting material also fluctuates within this tolerance and has a direct effect on the attainable hardness.

Can stainless steel be plasma nitrided?

Yes, stainless steel, i.e. high chrome, rust and acid resistant steels can be plasma nitrided. The treatment is carried out within the framework of adapted processes. However, depending on the desired results and the process parameters, the treatment of stainless steel may result in a decrease in corrosion resistance.

Can aluminium be plasma nitrided?

Treatment of aluminium is possible in principle, but not practical. During the nitriding process aluminum nitride is formed on the surface of the workpiece. This layer is electrically non-conductive and hinders the process from a certain point on. A satisfactory process safety is therefore not given.