Niko replaces traditional hardening process with laser hardening

Hardening is an essential but onerous step in the manufacture of precision components for switches. The traditional process takes a long time and entails precision risks. Laser hardening eliminates both of these problems. Niko is introducing it in its production process.

Based in Sint-Niklaas, but renowned worldwide, Niko is the Belgian market leader in the manufacture of switches and sockets.

Hardened precision components are normally produced in three phases: pre-processing in unhardened condition, hardening and then post-processing in hardened condition. For the hardening, the pieces are taken to an external hardening facility, which means they have to be removed from their clamp. However, because they still have to undergo post-processing after being hardened, they need to be realigned and reclamped. Consequently, the traditional hardening process is not only logistically challenging but can also sometimes cause precision problems.

Laser hardening on the machine

By mounting a laser head on the machine used for pre- and post-processing, the components can be hardened in their original clamp.

Would you like to continue reading? Niko's full story can be found in the References section of our website.

You can find this success story and many others in the Sirris Annual Report 2015.