Since 1924, Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. has been supplying precision metal products and helping customers to solve complex problems. Nowadays, it is well-known that Ulbrich manufactures metal alloys of the utmost quality within extremely tight tolerances. More importantly, Ulbrich has become an industry leader in producing this alloy with a track record of dependability and expertise. One alloy in particular deserves significant attention because of its versatility and usefulness in solving complex problems.
This alloy of significance is 17-7PH® stainless steel (S17700, DIN 1.4568, ASTM A693). The “PH” denotes precipitation hardening, also called age hardening, a heat treatment technique intended to increase strength. 17-7PH behaves similarly to type 301 in its semi-austenitic state upon forming, but it is capable of being heat treated from its annealed condition. Once heat treated, 17-7PH offers exceptional properties: high strength and hardness, good fatigue properties and corrosion resistance.
Ulbrich has supplied 17-7PH in coiled strip and wire forms since the 1980’s. A total commitment to quality has driven Ulbrich to continuously improve processes and techniques and has had particular success with 17-7PH stainless steel. Because of its Aluminum content, 17-7PH can present challenges. Aluminum serves as the hardening mechanism and has a strong affinity for Oxygen. Aluminum oxide is extremely abrasive and will wear down tooling if it is present in excessive amounts on the surface 17-7PH. Over the years, capabilities have expanded and machine upgrades have enabled Ulbrich to deliver a high degree of precision. Two value-added methods have minimized the adverse effects of Aluminum oxide:
- Mechanical Abrasion
Ulbrich’s annealing furnaces are operated with close attention to detail, assuring that exact specifications are met. A continuous bright annealing process is used with rigid atmosphere controls. Ensuring adequate atmosphere and minimal amount of trace oxide in the furnace minimizes the tendency for the material to form Aluminum oxide. Measurements of temperature, anneal speed, dewpoint, trace Oxygen, and quench rate are carefully monitored in real-time and examined for effectiveness. Ulbrich’s annealing techniques result in a 17-7PH product well-fit for use due it its consistent mechanical properties and a bright annealed finish.
Ulbrich is also able to provide numerous finishes using special methods and proprietary technology developed for the aircraft and spring industries. These special methods and technology impart a brushed, recoverable, and uniform surface finish without changing the thickness of the 17-7PH material. A comprehensive study has shown that Ulbrich’s approach to cleaning/brushing 17-7PH also greatly diminishes its surface oxide content. A 17-7PH surface finish with less Aluminum oxide translates into more tooling life for Ulbrich’s customers.
Ulbrich continues to develop capabilities and solutions for high-performance specialty alloys for various applications. 17-7PH stainless steel is suitable for aerospace applications or for uses requiring high strength, formability, and corrosion resistance. These applications may include springs, washers, and strain gauges at temperatures up to 600◦F (316◦C). Ulbrich excels at rolling, heat treating and finishing 17-7PH at various widths, thicknesses, edges and custom shapes. As a capabilities-driven company, Ulbrich’s accomplishments with this stainless steel alloy are well-documented and continuously improving.
For more information click here to view Ulbrich’s 17-7PH datasheet.