Heat Treating: Atmosphere vs. Vacuum

Which furnace option is best for you?
Sponsored by SECO/VACUUM and Control Instruments Corp.
Presented by Don Marteeny, P.E., Andrea Love, and Alan Swiglo, FASM
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Webinar On-Demand
1 PDH; 1 RETA PDH; 0.1 IACET CEU*; This course may qualify for continuing education through the NYSED; This course may qualify for continuing education through the FBPE.; 1 PDH*

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain how heat treating creates the desired material properties through hardening, quenching and tempering.
  2. Describe the general differences between vacuum and atmosphere hardening.
  3. Identify vacuum furnace quenching choices.
  4. Explore the available vacuum-system options.

This course is part of the Vacuum Heat Treat Academy

This course is part of the Vacuum Heat Treat Academy

Atmosphere hardening requires parts to be heated in a controlled atmosphere (neutral to the metal composition), quenched appropriately and tempered to reduce brittleness while maintaining the desired physical properties. In vacuum hardening, air (oxygen) is removed from the furnace, and parts are heated – with or without a partial pressure of inert gas – to protect the surface during hardening. Quenching options are selected based on the materials being hardened and their final-property requirements (i.e., microstructure, hardness, strength, etc.). This webinar will discuss the differences between atmosphere and vacuum heat treating, including the quenching options available for vacuum furnaces. It will also provide insight into the advantages of vacuum, solutions to vacuum leaks and the types of vacuum furnaces available. The presentation will be followed by a moderated discussion.

Furnace Control

Photo courtesy of SECO/Vacuum


Don Marteeny is Vice President of Engineering at SECO/VACUUM and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Pennsylvania. As VP of Engineering, he oversees engineering, project management, aftermarket activities, and other essential business activities. Prior to assuming this role, Don served in both project management and project engineering roles within the SECO/WARWICK Group. His experience includes furnace analysis, design, and component specification. Also, he has managed various strategic engineering and business projects such as the implementation of the 3D modeling tool SolidWorks within the organization. In addition, Don spent three years as a member of an energy engineering consulting company. During his tenure, he performed analyses of building heating systems to determine the feasibility of using alternative energy sources and related activities. Don holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


Andrea Love, Sr. Metallurgical Engineer. With a bachelors in Materials Science and Engineering, Andrea’s industry experience includes both vacuum and atmospheric heat treatment of a range of ferrous alloys in both the automotive and aerospace industries.


Alan Swiglo, FASM whose firm, Swiglo Metallurgical Consulting consults in the disciplines of gear metallurgy, heat treatment, manufacturing, and inspection—draws on a lifelong career in the metallurgical aspects of precision part manufacturing. He formerly conducted manufacturing research at Northern Illinois University, and earned his BS and MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology.

SECO/VACUUM SECO/VACUUM, backed by the resources and reputation of SECO/WARWICK, is a leading vacuum furnace manufacturer in the North American heat treating market. SECO/WARWICK is one of the largest and most advanced furnace companies in the world and leads in advancing technologies. SECO/VACUUM offers unmatched vacuum furnace innovation and performance backed by a commitment to provide our customers with the best support in the industry and the lowest cost of ownership.