Applications of the induction hardening process have been gradually increasing in the heat treatment industry due to its energy efficiency, process consistency, and clean environment. Compared to traditional furnace heating and liquid quenching processes, induction hardening is more flexible in terms of process control, and it can offer improved part quality. The commonly modified parameters for the process include the inductor power and frequency, heating time, spray quench delay and quench severity, etc. In this study, a single shot induction hardening process of a cylindrical component made of AISI 4340 is modeled using DANTE®. It is known that the residual stresses in a hardened steel component have a significant effect on high cycle fatigue performance, with higher magnitudes of surface residual compression leading to improved high cycle fatigue life. Induction hardening of steel components produces surface residual compression due to the martensitic transformation of the hardened surface layer, with a high magnitude of compression preferred for improved performance in general. In this paper, a preheat concept is proposed with the induction hardening process for enhanced surface residual compression in the hardened case. Preheating can be implemented using either furnace or low power induction heating, and both processes are modeled using DANTE to demonstrate its effectiveness. With the help of computer modeling, the reasons for the development of residual stresses in an induction hardened part are described, and how the preheat can be used to improve the magnitude of surface residual compression is explained.

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