The Use of Heat to Strengthen Recreational Equipment


Recreational products and equipment used for summer activities undergo a great deal of stress while being used. The items used during this busy season span a gamut of activities from bikes and playground equipment to golf clubs and roller coasters. Manufacturers of these products use heat treating processes to increase their strength and durability so that by the time they reach their final location they will last for years to come.

Recreational products may be manufactured starting with a casting process that requires metal to be melted down and poured into a cast. After the casting process, there are several types of heat treating used to strengthen the material.

Common heat-treating processes used include stress relieving, tempering, aging, solution treating, and hardening. Once the product has been heat treated it needs to be cooled. In some cases, water or a liquid mixture is used as a quench while some materials respond more favorably to being air cooled. These processes change the molecular structure of the metal being used resulting in a stronger, more durable end product.

As we look back at the items you may encounter over the summer months we can see a variety of heat treating processes were used in their production.

Aluminum bicycle frames go through a solution heat treatment and aging process to increase the strength of the frame. The steel frames of playground equipment may have required a stress relieving process to release the residual stress in the steel that is created from welding joints. The iron head on your golf club started as molten metal that was poured into a cast and then cooled prior to the finishing process.  Finally, the rails on a roller coaster may go through a tempering and water quench process to achieve the required level of hardness for safety standards.

Thus, it is easy to see, even in the sunny disposition of summer, that heat treating plays a major role in our everyday life. It makes life safer by making the metals in your recreational equipment stronger.

Lindberg/MPH's heat treating furnaces and non ferrous melting equipment are no exception, and are used in a range of industries and applications. Next time you pick up your 5-iron or hop on your bike for a ride, consider the heat treating process it went through before providing you hours of entertainment.