Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research

DIE MATERIALS & TECHNOLOGIES

2009

NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION

the cycle time feasible with the re-designed cooling system was measured in production runs.5”x1. The cast parts are chunky and have a larger weight to volume ratio than typical die castings. Case Western Reserve University Project Objectives: High productivity is the ultimate driver for most process improvements. According to these thumb rules. A detailed flow and solidification computer simulation was conducted to determine the effect of the changes in the cooling line configuration. the industry has adopted thumb rules relative to the depth of the cooling lines that provide a safeguard from catastrophic cracking of the die. Approach: Traditional design of the cooling lines is an iterative process that targets a balance between the heat input from the molten metal and the heat extracted by the coolant. This procedure is also effective in preventing shrinkage porosity associated with undesirable hot spots in the casting.5”x2. A set of inserts was fabricated out of a tool steel with superior toughness of over 20 ft-lbs. Schwam. However. The heat input is determined mainly by the weight and the total surface of the casting. the cycle time depends on the ability of the cooling system to extract the heat from the dies. A superior tool steel with higher toughness of over 20 ft-lbs. catastrophic cracking due to excessive thermal stresses.15” weighing 1. The length of the cooling line is determined based on heat transfer calculations.5” in the case of oil lines. These thumb rules suggest a minimum distance of 0. The H13 core pins were substituted with Anviloy to further enhance heat extraction during solidification. The higher toughness minimizes the risk of gross cracking due to increased thermal gradients when cooling lines are closer to the surface. In such cases. Another advantage of this die set is the existing base-line of operating conditions and performance from a previous study. it will indicate any hot spots in the die or areas where the molten metal becomes too cold to fill the mold. At the end of this process.75” between the water cooling lines and the surface of the cavity. The simulation predicted a cycle time shorter by 20% relative to the original cooling line design. The die was re-designed by bringing the cooling lines closer to the surface. In turn. this function is performed by optimized design of the internal cooling lines and use of high thermal conductivity die materials for rapid heat extraction from the casting. the cooling line design is modified and the simulation is repeated until a satisfactory temperature distribution is obtained. In die casting. Clair Die Casting.HIGH PRODUCTION RATE TOOLING D. i. The distance of the cooling lines from the surface of the die has been reduced from 0. compared to 10-12 ftlbs typical in Premium Grade H13. However. In general. drilling cooling lines closer to the surface increases the risk of gross cracking. Consequently.87” to 0. and the alloy cast. St.1 pounds each. The main reason to experiment with more efficient internal cooling is the potential for shorter cycle time. This distance can be reduced to 0. the cycle time. This project was designed as an in-plant experimental program to determine the potential for cycle time reduction by aggressive placement of cooling lines and use of high thermal conductivity cores. especially when the die develops hot spots that result in soldering and downtime. anecdotal evidence suggests that cooling lines can be placed closer to the surface. A long term goal is to determine potential changes in die life. The cycle for die casting the tank thread heat sinks could be shortened by 13% by improved heat extraction into water cooling lines drilled closer to the surface. An identical die has been in use for the last four years. Results: The project was conducted in collaboration with St. MO. was built for this study.e.. The end result of shorter cycle time is a more productive die casting operation. A high temperature flow meter was installed to measure the flow of the cooling medium in the inserts. This means a relatively large amount of heat needs to be extracted after each shot in order to bring the die back to the required temperature before the next shot can be made. The financial liability associated with cracking a die is significant. and calculate the heat balance individually for each segment. The first step in the project was to re-design the size and location of the cooling lines. Subsequently it was operated with progressively shorter cycle times while monitoring the die temperature. Embedding thermocouples in the inserts and attaching them to a data acquisition system was used to monitor the temperature. compared to 10-12 ft-lbs typical in Premium Grade H13 was used. Ideally. the designer will have a schematic of the die with the required water or oil line sizes and routing. A four cavity die making aluminum heat sinks. about 4. Claire. Considering modern advances in steel quality and heat treat specifications. It is common practice to divide the casting into segments.5”. The potential for faster extraction of the heat by improved cooling line design is high. This heat must be extracted by locating appropriate cooling lines in proximity to the cavity. To confirm the results of the simulation. this option should be explored. cooling lines located closer to the surface of the cavity are more effective in removing heat. designers have been taking a conservative approach by following these guidelines. The simulation is used to verify the design of the gating and cooling system in regard to the cooling line size and location. increasing productivity is to a large extent determined by the cycle time. The higher toughness minimizes the risk of gross cracking due to increased Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .

0002 – fax www. Consult with the researcher and die material suppliers to obtain guidance for placing cooling lines at a safe distance from the cavity surface.org/research research@diecasting. Watervliet. Measured reduction was 13% when oil was used in the lines.org www.279. Picatinny.Figure 1. Further reductions in cycle time are anticipated by replacing the oil with water-cooling. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. ■ Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Committee Sponsored by: DoD-ARDEC. NY and NADCA For further information. Water (V05) comparison when moving lines closer to the cavity surface. Oil (V04) vs. Wheeling. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.org NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION 241 Holbrook Dr.diecasting.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . The die caster should consider using new materials and placing cooling lines closer to the cavity surface. thermal gradients when cooling lines are closer to the surface. Computer simulation predicted a 20-40% cycle time reduction. Implementation Strategy: Die steels with superior toughness as compared to Premium Grade H13 are now available.diecasting. These die materials offer the die caster with an opportunity to move cooling lines closer to the cavity surface for faster heat removal and lower cycle times. NJ and Benet Laboratories.0001 – phone 847.279. Production runs with the improved dies have demonstrated a reduction of 13% in cycle time.

When the tool does need to be replaced. especially for replacement tooling. • Reduces tooling cost. very little is sacrificed by using the RSP process and there is strong evidence that this rapid tooling approach may increase tool life compared to conventional tooling made from the same alloy. This resulted in two things: a new patent in 1997. Another benefit is that the time while the prototype is being tested can be used to develop the die cast process. which refine the actual process to produce tooling. Work on the process resulted in another patent in 1995 which introduced the use of the pressurized injection of liquid into a Ventura tube. Results: Although the RSP™ Tooling process can manufacture tooling for any forming process from virtually any tooling material. Folkestad. An early application of the process was the production of low-carbon steel strip. RSP Tooling. In normal practice. and reduce energy consumption. Furthermore. the high quality production process can be developed during the prototype period without the pressure of meeting production delivery times. J. This reduces the ongoing high cost of die maintenance and replacement tooling. This benefits the customer by receiving a prototype made from the production process instead of an alternative process providing different properties. • Increased tool life. the industry’s highest volume commodity. RSP™ Tooling is a spray forming technology tailored for producing molds and dies. heat checking and soldering than the standard heattreated steel insert. which results in microstructure and material property improvements in the deposited metal. Additional patent applications have been submitted. An additional benefit was the ability to control and increase the cooling rate of the droplets. The initial patent for the process was written in 1990 and had as its basis the invention or discovery that a liquid could be broken down into small droplets by use of the shearing effect of a flowing gas. Approach: The Rapid Solidification Process (RSP™) was developed at INEEL under grants from the DOE. K. further reducing the need for large tooling inventories. but the most significant to DOE was a significant reduction in energy use. There are many advantages to producing strip using RSP. This means that the prototypes can be made from the actual production process and the time normally needed to produce the production tooling disappears. • Can be artificially aged and does not need to be heat treated. This is true because of the added benefits that develop when spray forming H-13 and because of the nature and expense of die cast tooling. Since the grain structure of the spray deposited metal was good. Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory Project Objectives: The objective of this project is to develop and utilize RSP Tooling within the die casting industry by introducing a new tooling technology that will reduce lead times. Colorado State University. and the terminology of RSP™ Tooling. Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . the prototype testing period is idle time to the die caster. McHugh. extend die life. Knirsch. the idea of using the process to manufacture tools was developed. There are a large number of possible applications of this invention. The benefits of the RSP™ Tooling process can be summarized as: • Reduces tooling lead time. thereby improving the operational flexibility of the device while producing a more uniform droplet size distribution. • The process can use standard H-13 in place of premium grade H-13 and can probably use recycled materials. LLC. The speed of the process allows the die caster to compete with standard prototype sources for producing prototypes in the required timing. The process allows the die caster to build production tooling in the time it usually takes Figure 1.INTEGRATION OF RSP TOOLING WITH RP FOR DIE CASTING APPLICATIONS J. • The process can replicate details smaller than what can normally be machined. With this tooling. There is strong evidence developed from actual production testing that the RSP tool is more resistant to wear. Process Sketch to make prototype tooling. the amount of time needed to build the replacement component is cut substantially. as was the ability of the spray deposited metal to replicate complex surface shapes. The benefits to the die caster don’t stop at die build. • The process eliminates the need to build prototype tooling. it is of significant benefit to die casting.

org/research research@diecasting.0002 – fax www. Figure 2.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . Wheeling. ■ Figure 3.0001 – phone 847.Implementation Strategy: Die casters should evaluate the potential of RSP™ Tooling to reduce the cost of die cast tooling. while potentially providing longer lasting tooling as well. tooling lead time. LLC. Especially die casters who utilize small dies may be able to substantially reduce the cost and lead time for dies. including die casting. use and sell machines that manufacture tooling using this process.279. Die inserts are being produced for various processes. Rapid Solidification in Action For further information. Machine Process Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Committee Sponsored by: U. A production machine is in operation which can produce a 50-pound steel insert (6”x6”x4”) every two hours. Department of Energy and NADCA This research is featured in more detail in the following transactions: T02-051 and T05-053 RSP™ Tooling. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.diecasting. build.org NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION 241 Holbrook Dr.diecasting. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.org www.S.279. was formed in January 2002 to design. The RSP technology has the potential to eliminate a substantial bottleneck for die casters.

Complex rapid tooling can often be cast in a more cost effective way and with shorter lead times. The evaluation of the potential materials and fabrication processes included dimensional accuracy. The study evaluated and compared the following methods of rapid tooling fabrication: 1. When die casting inserts were investment cast from H-13 tool steel. A more severe crack pattern indicates a lower thermal fatigue resistance of the tested material. The casting method of choice is dictated by the dimensional accuracy.000 pieces before serious thermal fatigue or other cracking occurred in the tooling. especially the lead time. rapid tooling is needed when a product is under development or when relatively few parts are required to replace components in legacy weapon systems. This method utilized Numerical Control (NC) machining from 3D CAD computer models of the tooling for rough and finish machining. most metal molds are fabricated from ferrous alloys. This test has become a preferred and widely accepted method of screening die and mold materials. 2. low-cost means of producing dies suitable for a limited number of die castings such as 5. Investment casting rapid tooling in H-13 die steel from prototype wax patterns produced from a 3D CAD model. the lead time was still relatively short. the accuracy and surface finish of cast rapid tooling is not as good as machined rapid tooling. mechanical properties and surface finish required of the parts. surface condition and performance of the tooling. Approach: With few exceptions. The dimensional characteristics and durability of the resulting tooling were also addressed. Direct Metal Deposition Process very short runs.000 immersion cycles. more economical. steels such as 4140. In the military. as well as some lower alloy. It would strengthen and speed the supply chain to develop rapid.000 total cycles. Schwam.RAPID TOOLING FOR LOW VOLUME DIE CASTING J. A key issue in selecting the material for rapid tooling is to ensure it will last long enough to make the required number of parts yet last no longer than necessary. the Thermal Fatigue Immersion test at CWRU was used to simulate the casting environment. the flatness and dimensional accuracy were not acceptable. Tool steels in general and hot tool steels in particular are the most frequently used die materials for production die casting and squeeze casting inserts. cast rapid tooling is normally limited to smaller sizes. Permanent molds are often cast in gray or ductile iron. or high strength gray and ductile iron. The standard procedure is to operate the test for 5. for Figure 1. While machining of the cast inserts is an option. However. In all of these cases. measure the cracking pattern and follow this method for 10. While machined rapid tooling can be made in very large sizes. it would offset some of the advantages of net shape casting. While some machining was required to bring the critical dimensions of the cavity into the specified tolerance window. and. The types of steels of interest in this study were H-13. directly from a CAD model provides the best combination Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . or modified H-11. Results: Rapid tooling for permanent mold casting was made by casting ductile iron in no-bake molds with satisfactory results. Wallace and D. 3. Machining rapid tooling from a forged block that had been tempered to a lower hardness of 40-42 HRC. squeeze casting and permanent mold casting. Case Western Reserve University Project Objectives: Rapid prototyping casting methods are often employed when a small number of cast parts are needed. a metal mold needs to be fabricated first. P20. Sometimes the desirable casting method for rapid prototyping is a metal mold technique such as die casting. Casting ductile iron rapid tooling in no-bake sand molds from oversized patterns produced from 3D CAD programs. Fabrication of rapid tooling of tool steels by NC machining. To test the performance of candidate materials. H-11. 1040. squeeze casting or permanent mold casting. The objective of this project was to evaluate methods and materials that can potentially shorten the lead time and/or reduce the cost of rapid tooling used in die casting. The results of this test have correlated closely with the behavior of dies in industry.000 and 15.

■ Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: U. Department of Defense and NADCA This research is featured in more detail in the following transaction: T07-061 of lead time. further savings in cost can be achieved by utilizing lower alloy. Furthermore.S.org www. Careful selection and heat treating of the insert material is essential.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . if only a small number of castings are required. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. the size and configuration of the part and the die design have to be carefully considered to avoid premature failure of the tooling.Figure 2. Electro-Discharge Machining (EDM) can be performed on rapid tooling inserts of any hardness. to utilize modified H-11 steels in a pre-hardened condition.279. or permanent mold tooling. softer steels.diecasting. For further information. In every case.org NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION 241 Holbrook Dr.0002 – fax www. It is possible. to fabricate rapid tooling that can last long enough to be used for production of large numbers of die castings.279. These techniques open new opportunities for casting producers to enter new markets. Wheeling. squeeze casting. At the same time.org/research research@diecasting. These developments narrow the gap between rapid and production tooling.diecasting. these techniques offer the potential to reduce the lead time and cost of even conventional die casting. Recent advances in cutting tool technology allow high speed machining of quenched and tempered steels up to 4243 HRC hardness. where the long lead times required for conventional tooling prohibited their participation. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.0001 – phone 847. well beyond short runs. performance and cost. P20 inserts produced in less than three weeks from a CAD model by Rapid Machining Implementation Strategy: This project demonstrated that there are techniques which can be used to quickly provide tooling for prototype castings or even small production runs. In addition. as demonstrated by this study.

Schwam. Die designs with cooling lines close to the die surface can reduce this damage significantly. Results: Higher die temperatures induce faster and deeper softening of the steel leading to more thermal fatigue damage. to determine the effect of die temperature on thermal fatigue cracking of H13 dies. At the same time. The effect of cooling line location versus the surface temperature and the resulting cracking pattern were determined for various immersion times and different sizes of cooling lines. A key issue in this respect is the size and location of cooling lines relative to the surface of the die. The surface of the specimen has irregularities in the form of corrosion pits or surface scratches. since plastic strain gradually increases during the test as a result of the lower yield strength of the material. It has been experimentally demonstrated that if the strength properties of the material are reclaimed before the cracks are initiated.500 cycles and then re-heat treating it to the original hardness value. Consequently. die design has to address efficient cooling methods. The maximum and minimum temperatures reached at the corner of the specimen and the temperature distribution inside the specimen (toward the cooling line) varied as a function of the time spent in the molten metal bath. elevated temperature at the surface will induce a deeper softening. these results should have good applicability in die casting operations. The cyclic heat treatment reclaimed the strength of the material and its resistance against cracking. Since the thermal fatigue test at CWRU has previously provided a remarkably accurate prediction of the relative thermal fatigue cracking. Case Western Reserve University Project Objectives: The thermal fatigue of steel die casting dies becomes more severe at higher operating service temperatures. Under these conditions.500 cycles exhibits better resistance against heat checking. The experiments involved testing three specimens for which the immersion time in the molten metal was the only variable. For a configuration without severe stress concentrators. Plastic deformation can therefore occur at stresses well below the yield strength of the parent material (it must be noted that the strength of the material drops at high temperature) and initiate fatigue cracks. as well as the propagation of the existent cracks. The Effect of Cooling Line Diameter on Average Maximum Crack Length Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . reducing die life significantly. the surface strain is within the elastic capabilities of the die steel. to extend die life. Less thermal fatigue damage has been observed when the conditions promoted lower temperature at the surface. It appears that a condition for the extension of the thermal fatigue cracking damage is the decrease in strength ahead of the crack front. which preserved the hardness and hence the strength. it is therefore necessary for the material to drop below a certain strength level characterized by a lower hardness value in order for the crack to initiate. the highest maximum temperature will occur in the thin sections where Figure 1. In addition to the stress concentrations caused by surface imperfections. A cumulative fatigue process occurs in the material. the softening of the steel is the most important factor for the crack initiation.EFFECT OF DIE DESIGN ON THERMAL FATIGUE CRACKING OF DIES J. the more thermal fatigue damage will occur. Initially. This experiment consisted of cycling an H13 steel specimen for 2. impeding crack initiation. the thermal fatigue behavior can be markedly improved. A high value of yield strength means higher material resistance to plastic deformation. The following three conclusions were drawn from the project: 1. The results demonstrate that the higher the temperature. The compressive stress will eventually exceed the elastic limit of the steel and plastic deformation will take place after the initial elastic strain has occurred. In die casting applications. The thermal fatigue behavior of the three specimens was compared with the reference specimen which had 9 seconds of immersion time. It is clearly shown that re-heat treating the specimen to 51 HRC after every 2. Approach: This investigation correlates the thermal fatigue cracking of die steel in an immersion test specimen with the die temperature attained near the surface and the corresponding softening of the steel. There is a clear trend for the thermal fatigue cracking parameters to increase with immersion time. tempering weakens the surface material. These sites serve as stress concentrations. 2. Wallace & D. This subject was studied in detail.

when the die is subjected to elevated temperature for longer periods of time. chromium-rich carbide is the most susceptible to growth.org NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION 241 Holbrook Dr.diecasting. 3. but the presence of molybdenum and vanadium inhibits it to a certain extent. Figure 2. and at the same time.279. high temperature – long resident time conditions are important. Where possible.org www.the material’s capacity to absorb and transfer the heat from the surface is very different. molybdenum. A cooling line closer to the surface will shift the maximum temperature towards lower values. S. die casters can minimize heat checking of dies by managing the maximum die temperature.diecasting.279. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. the experimental data indicates the existence of a temperature threshold. Both the use of larger cooling lines and moving the cooling line closer to the die surface are effective in reducing the maximum die surface temperature. because of the similarity with die casting of large components. Department of Energy and NADCA This research is featured in more detail in the following transaction: T07-053 For further information. Among the three elements. these elements form fine carbides that are thermodynamically more stable than cementite. Moreover. The presence of strong carbide-former elements like chromium. decreasing the maximum temperature at the surface by placing the cooling lines too close to the surface may be limited by the high level of hoop stresses that could be created at the cooling line.org/research research@diecasting. and vanadium will reduce the softening by preserving a fine distribution of carbides. the presence of molybdenum and vanadium in the die steel allow cooling lines to be closer to the die surface. Total Crack Area vs.0001 – phone 847.0002 – fax www. Wheeling. From another point of view. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. below which the thermal fatigue damage is minimal. However. Maximum Temperature at the Corner of 2x2x7 H13 Specimen for Different Immersion Times Implementation Strategy: This project showed that softening of the steel by excessive die steel temperature is the most important factor for the initiation of cracks in the die surface. These elements inhibit the coarsening of cementite in the range of 400-700°C. ■ Monitoring Task Force: Die Material Task Force Sponsored by: U. In addition. The experimental results have shown an important decrease of the cracking when the cooling line is positioned closer to the surface.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . At the same time. keep the stresses at a relative constant value.

This alone saved about 4 to 6 weeks versus conventional production die procedures. Tooling models were developed for CAM programming. Good design guidelines for die cast products and an experienced product designer with excellent CAD skills are a must for setting up a successful rapid tooling project. coordination of the following areas must be controlled by a cross-functional team: product design/analysis. A fully filleted 3D part solid model is needed. Final stress relief was not incorporated. Filleting has long been a major time element in the design. Regular production holder blocks are built to be robust while being economical so they tend to be specific for each part. Results: To achieve “fast” die cast prototypes. Many projects have been stalled or stopped with a poorly designed casting. Approach: “Fast to Market” is a major initiative for the Automotive Industry. Comparable timing for prototype sand castings was benchmarked at 12 weeks. The material was purchased. Early involvement of all parties allows part design consideration to be incorporated that will have a positive effect on project timing and casting quality for both prototype development as well as production. Standard timing for a production die of this size is 46 to 52 weeks from release of data base to parts. Each of these areas is discussed in more detail below. Ouimet. The design of the die was based around an existing generic holder block. The part was fully defined using Unigraphics parametric solids. This allowed rapid definition of die inserts. This reduced the design time by 75% over standard design time. and a capable die casting manufacturer. inserts were designed to produce the mid-size transmission case. inserts were fit as operations were finished. tool design/analysis/build. screw locations and ejector pin locations.RAPID TOOLING FOR FUNCTIONAL PROTOTYPING OF METAL MOLD PROCESSES L. minimizing last minute problems. This particular generic holder block was converted from a 3-slide to a 4-slide die configuration. and casting critical areas were all considered in the initial casting orientation along with whatever die set limitations there are. Three thousand parts were made in six days with only minor process modifications. Only the casting areas of the inserts were benched where necessary for part removal. Some EDM areas were not polished to eliminate the “white layer” which is inherent in the EDM process. and immediately heat treated to 36-38 Rc. Three thousand castings was the criteria. Ward. process design/analysis. GM Project Objectives: The goal of this project was to build. Tool Build. Assembly prints were produced. Poor designs can cause high scrap rates and major process startup/debug problems. A USCAR project “Rapid Tooling for Prototyping Metal Mold Processes” took on the problem of long die cast tooling lead time. This saved approximately 2 weeks. The lead tool maker was allowed flexibility in the tool build. water line locations. Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . The product must be designed for both tool build and die casting. Dissecting the problem further. the die casting die for the transmission case castings was one of the key drivers of lead time. The project investigated many technologies for generating the insert steel quickly and developed a generic holder block for large sized die castings. tooling lead time was cut by more than 50%. Product Design. The normal procedure would be to rough machine. gating position. The product design time was not included in the project timing but it is the key enabler to fast lead-times. New CAD software revisions have eliminated many of these problems and have cut at least 4 weeks off the design process. assuring proper sizing. This would normally take 3-4 days. G. Programming was done as the die design was completed. The die was built in 15 weeks from release of part data utilizing a generic holder block and rapid processed and machined pre-hardened tool steel inserts. A fully filleted 3D solid model was completed by a very experienced designer. heat treat. run and validate a mid-size transmission case die to prove out the Rapid Tooling-Rapid Machining technology and provide a new benchmark (16 weeks from design release) for prototyping medium to large die castings. Tool Design. Poor CAD model construction can cause delays in tool programming. With this generic holder block as a base. rather than individual detail drawings. Since the holder block was available from the start. The holder block is termed “generic” because it is designed with flexibility in mind. Utilizing a generic holder block reduces tooling lead time by 16-20 weeks over a conventional die build. Normally the entire insert surface is polished. and then finish machine. Utilizing rapid machining of prehardened H-13 steel technology and generic holder blocks. Locator positions. The part design was completed using Unigraphics version 11. The generic holder block is a common frame in which the part specific inserts are located and secured. Process simulation software was used to design the cooling system and metal injection system for the die. to speed up the total design time frame. with the major criteria being die functioning rather than long run capability or replaceability as would be required in full production tooling. GM Powertrain’s Transmission Engineering developed a master timing plan and determined that the transmission case castings were among the critical long lead time items which drove the current product lead time.

This initial development work took less than 2 full days. cooling systems. vents were added.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . The die caster sets the die up in a die cast machine with locking force and parameter capabilities based on past experience. This activity was done concurrently with initial tool design so no additional project time was taken.org NORTH AMERICAN DIE CASTING ASSOCIATION 241 Holbrook Dr.0002 – fax www.Process Design. From that point the die ran consistently without interruption for the entire 3000 piece run. Clearance was added and the slide re-assembled. Even with all of the preparation for this project. Once the radii were added the die began to run well. Generally the die builder designs the die registration system. the castings looked better and the decision was made to accept and continue to run.279. This added step in the project stands out as being the most different from a standard die build. Capable Manufacturing. Some radii were increased in non-functional areas to strengthen the part. For this reason.org www. When restarted the casting stuck in the die.0001 – phone 847.diecasting.279. After these changes. Wheeling. The thrust of this project was to design the process based on knowledge of the functional requirements using process analysis software and NADCA process design equations. but with little or no knowledge of the parts functional requirements.org/research research@diecasting. Based on direction from the analysis. attention to every manufacturing detail had to be met. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. T99-121 For further information. and metal injection system with help from the die caster. The parts looked good except for one area of poor fill. This added step saved 2 to 6 weeks in process set-up and debug. an experienced transmission case die caster was selected to make the parts. and water was turned off.diecasting. The die was set and initial samples were made. gates were opened. ■ Monitoring Task Force: NADCA Staff and Eppich Technologies Sponsored by: USAMP This research is featured in more detail in the following transaction. The analysis work was reviewed and confirmed this area to be the last to fill. On one of the initial shots the bottom slide stuck.

75 inches was quenched from about 1. The die life can be extended by keeping the die surface as hard as possible in service. These test bars were then cycled repeatedly into molten aluminum and then sprayed with die lubricant. compared to die casting dies. Project Objectives: The primary objective was to determine how the heat-treating of H13 die steel can optimize its useful life. although it may be 1. Effect of Cooling Rate on Total Crack Area (Premium Grade H13 heat treated to 46-47 HRC). Then. Total Crack Area ck 10 (’pm5 ) Figure 1. oil 5000 10000 15000 Thermal Cycles This quenching temperature for H13 is 1. Interrupted Quench (Die 14. some of the advantages of the rapid cool from the austenitizing temperature can be obtained with dies by using an interrupted oil quenching treatment on the die. a die insert of 14.9”x 7. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides the die caster with information on extending die life and reducing thermal fatigue cracking. This die was not cracked.900ºF. The influence of the high rate of cooling on the die life is shown in Figure 1. The use of such a treatment is shown in Figure 2. This is fast enough to provide high resistance to thermal fatigue cracking. The thermal fatigue cracking 0 is sharply reduced by using an austenitizing 0 temperature that will place the maximum amount of carbide forming alloys in solution in the austenite without reducing the toughness significantly.6”x 7.030 inches. the effect of the cooling rate from the austenitizing temperature on the total area of thermal fatigue cracks obtained for the immersion thermal fatigue test is shown. The cooling rate for the critical temperature required was 177ºF/min.EXTENDING H13 DIE LIFE THROUGH HEAT TREAT OPTIMIZATION John Wallace and David Schwam.6 by 7.Interrupted Oil Quench @ EHT Temperature ( oF) Core out in Surface Time (min) Cooling Rate Measured by the Surface (1/8”) Thermocouple at the Center of the Largest Face between 1750o F to 615o F is 177o F/min Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .875ºF for other die steels.900ºF in oil for 9 minutes. Approach: Thermal fatigue test bars were cooled at various rates from the austenitizing temperature. Heat Treatment on Die Life The Effect of Cooling Rate on Total Crack Area ( H13 — 46-47 HRC) 300 280 260 240 220 200 180 160 140 2”x2”x7” . Although the thermal fatigue test is small and simple in design.9 by 7.75”) -. In this figure. the die casting die should be cooled as rapidly as possible from the austenitizing temperature to help retain as many of these alloying elements in solution as feasible to reduce their tempering or softening tendency at the die surface. it had a maximum amount of distortion of 0. WC7 Insulated/14F/min 1 bar/100 F/min 10 bar/200 F/min Oil/7250 F/min 1 bar insulated 10 bar 120 Results: The extensive studies conducted 100 on the heat treating behavior of premium 80 grade H13 steel have shown that the heat 60 treating process is at least as important as 40 the selection of the proper die steel in deter20 mining die life. pulled out into air to allow it to equalize in temperature and then reinserted in oil for cooling to 200ºF. Figure 2. In this case.

279.S.279. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. the results of this project have been incorporated in the NADCA Recommended Procedure for H13 Tool Steel.diecasting. Department of Energy and NADCA Additional resources: NADCA Transaction T99-102. Item #229.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . Publication Item #501.0001 – phone 847. For further information. minimum quench rate.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling. as well as material and heat treatment acceptance criteria.Implementation Strategy: The implementation plan should be to follow the NADCA Recommended Procedure for H13 Tool Steel.0002 – facsimile www. Publication Item #229 and the NADCA Care and Maintenance of Die Casting Dies Manual & Checklist.diecasting. This document specifies the heat treatment cycle including austenitizing temperature.org www. and tempering temperatures. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Committee Sponsored by: U.org/research research@diecasting. Also.

The residual stress on the surface of the die is usually compressive and additive to the applied thermal stress. The work conducted with applied known residual compressive and tensile stresses at the surface show somewhat reduced thermal fatigue cracking with residual tensile stress.RESIDUAL STRESS AND SOFTENING EFFECTS ON DIE LIFE John Wallace and David Schwam. When cracking occurs. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.diecasting. Project Objectives: The primary objective was to determine what can be done to minimize the effects of high compression stresses that occur at the heated die surface in die casting. The decrease in hardness is much greater for the slowly cooled specimen at 50ºF/minute in a one bar nitrogen quench. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides the die caster with information on the benefits of rapid quenching to improve hardness on the die surface.000 Cycles Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Committee Sponsored by: U.diecasting.S.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling. The studies conducted on this project have shown how a rapid quench from the austenitizing temperature and tempering to a high hardness can reduce the softening that occurs. This high temperature can produce a softening of the die surface from both the temperature and the high compressive stresses. I Oil Quench 1875o F/49Rc Cooling Rate 340o F/min 5 Bar Nitrogen 1875o F/44Rc Cooling Rate 160o F/min 1 Bar Nitrogen 1875o F/49Rc Cooling Rate 50o F/min Softening of H13 Thermal Fatigue Samples After 15. Department of Energy and NADCA For further information.org/research research@diecasting.279. The plot of the decrease in hardness at the corners of the thermal fatigue immersion test conducted by this project shows how the decrease in hardness is substantially less for the test pieces cooled from the austenitizing temperature at 340ºF/minute in oil compared to the slower cool at 160ºF/min for the 5 bar nitrogen quench.org www. the residual stress is relieved. These results show why the rapid cooling from the austenitizing temperature increases the die life.279.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . Approach: Thermal fatigue immersion tests were conducted to determine how the austenitizing temperature and the cooling rate from that temperature contribute to die steel life.0001 – phone 847.0002 – facsimile www. Results: The thermal fatigue cracking of the die surface has been shown to be caused by upsetting of the die produced by the high compression stresses that occur at the heated die surface.

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it did not significantly improve the ability of the test to separate high-toughness and low-toughness steels. Criteria for the steel to be included in the study was that the parent block be between 10 inches and 14 inches in thickness by at least 16 inches in width to provide material representative of the larger cross-sections utilized in the die cast tool building industry. However. Inc. eliminating the need for more costly testing. Commercial vacuum heat-treating members of the NADCA Die Materials Committee provided heat treatment processing as "in-kind" contributions to the project. Several conclusions can be drawn from the results of the project: 1. The coupons were randomly tack-welded to the master block such that there were 10 coupons attached to each of the four 12 inch by 24 inch sides. the coupons were triple-tempered to produce a final hardness of 44/46 HRC and were submitted for Charpy v-notch impact testing. heat treatment quench rate and Charpy v-notch impact test temperature on the microstructure and toughness of premium quality H13 tool steel. Bodycote Taussig. 80ºF/minute and 120ºF/minute. To investigate the possibility of increasing the ability of the test method to separate high toughness from low toughness material. using different heat treaters to produce heat-treated coupons representing the four targeted cooling rates. There were more than 600 individual CVN specimens tested and 250 microstructure photos produced. room temperature. 350ºF and 500ºF. The test procedure consisted of tack welding four coupons of each steel quality capability level onto a master block measuring approximately 12 inches by 12 inches by 24 inches. Project Objectives: The primary objective was to establish third-party industry specifications for the acceptance of premium quality H13 heat treated tool steel. Five quench rates were evaluated to examine the effects of heat treatment variables and the resulting heat-treated steel was subjected to Charpy v-notch impact testing at four different temperatures. A Charpy test methodology based upon testing five individual specimens and reporting the average results of three specimens after dropping the high and low values was found Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . Results: The scope of this project resulted in a significant amount of data in the form of CVN impact toughness values and microstructures as a function of steel quality and heat treatment quench rate. Each master block/coupon set was heat treated per the requirements of the current NADCA 207 recommended procedure with the exception of the cooling rate. 200ºF. the CVN testing of each combination of steel and heat treatment cooling rate was done at four test temperatures. The coupons were cut from the center portion of the parent steel blocks where the 2-3/16 inch dimension of each coupon represented the short-transverse orientation. The project was based upon an experimental matrix consisting of four steel quality levels with three heats of steel for each quality level. Representative samples from each steel quality/heat treatment quench rate combination were subjected to microstructural evaluation. Several individual die casting companies have established their own internal specifications for heat treatment acceptance. Thermocouples were imbedded into the master block at various locations to measure the actual cooling rate during the vacuum quenching process. The selected rates consisted of a slow air cool (<15ºF/minute). Following the controlled quenching process. a vacuum heat treatment procedures and proper welding procedures. The vacuum heat treatment furnaces were operated to produce the four targeted cooling rates. The NADCA Recommended Procedures for H13 Tool Steel (NADCA Publication #207) has improved the quality of die cast tooling by providing the die casting industry with premium quality H13 steel acceptance criteria. The additional variables and costs associated with the elevated temperature impact test were determined to be undesirable as a standard NADCA test protocol. This entire procedure was conducted four separate times. Twenty coupons measuring approximately 1/2 inch by 2-3/16 inches by 4 inches were prepared from each block of steel.IMPACT ROUND ROBIN TESTING FOR H13 DIE STEEL G. Conducting the CVN impact toughness tests at elevated temperatures did increase the measured toughness values. Brada. 50ºF/minute. a total of 40 coupons were attached to the master block prior to commercial heat treatment. Business Benefit: This project confirms the value of following the NADCA Recommended Procedures for H13 Tool Steel. Approach: This ambitious project was initiated to examine the effects of steel quality. The elevated temperature impact testing did not help to differentiate between heat treatment quench rates. The document only provides specific acceptance criteria for the starting. annealed H13 premium steel. 2. The die steel was supplied to the project as "in-kind" contributions from steel company members of the NADCA Die Materials Committee. Thus. The acceptance criteria for vacuum heat treatment have not been established for this procedure. but it has been the goal of the NADCA Die Materials Committee to establish a third party industry specification for the acceptance of premium quality H13 heat treatment.

3. Implementation Strategy: The results of this project confirm the value of following the NADCA Recommended Procedures for H13 Tool Steel. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. based upon the limited data resulting from this investigation.to significantly reduce the average standard deviation of CVN data.279. The CVN impact toughness of premium quality H13 was found to increase with increasing quench rates. there is no clear justification for altering the current NADCA minimum recommended quench rate of 50ºF/minute.org www. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.diecasting.org/research research@diecasting. including the Charpy v-notch testing of H13 steel used for die casting dies and inserts. However. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: NADCA For further information.diecasting. Even more costly testing of die steel samples was only marginally able to discriminate better than the current NADCA procedure.279.0002 – facsimile www. The degree of intergranular carbide precipitation did not correlate with the impact toughness of commercially heattreated steel in the range of 50ºF/minute to 120ºF/minute quench rates.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . All die casters should adopt the NADCA procedure and monitor revisions to the procedure as they are published.0001 – phone 847. 4.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling.

these alloys can be subject to damage on the corners of the specimen. The cracks in the H13 specimen cut through the corners of the specimen. These included: new types of H13 and H11 die steels. The H13 and H11 samples were tested by immersion in molten aluminum at 1350ºF to determine the total crack area and the average maximum thermal fatigue crack length. some of the more recently developed steels showed considerable improvement in thermal fatigue cracking and have changed the cracking mode from "corner cracks" to a "surface crack" behavior. which show mostly surface cracks. Steels with lower carbide content resist thermal fatigue cracking better. Some of the high thermal conductivity materials. • Computing the total corner crack area and the maximum crack length utilizing the MSQ Image Analysis System. While many of the copper and nickel alloys exhibit better thermal fatigue behavior than H13. The purpose of this project was to study whether other types of die materials. whereas. when the average maximum crack length is considered. The testing showed that all of these materials are more resistant to thermal cracking than H13. Schwam and Q. The results of these tests showed that carbides are not as common in as-quenched Dievar. The rate of cooling of the biscuit in this shotblock is substantially faster for this copper material than for conventional steels. and non-ferrous materials. Examples of this are QRO 90 and Dievar. and metal matrix composite materials. the cracks in the Dievar and QRO-90 tests were very shallow and were only on one side of the corners with considerable improvement in thermal fatigue resistance.DIE MATERIALS FOR CRITICAL APPLICATIONS AND INCREASED PRODUCTION RATES J. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides the die caster with information on the use of die steels with improved thermal fatigue resistance. This damage occurs because of the high solubility of copper and nickel in the molten aluminum and can cause difficulty in their use as die materials. can be subject to an occasional long crack forming from the corners. • Determining the softening at the thermal fatigue sample corner by microhardness testing after 5. Through these efforts. High thermal conductivity materials including the refractory metals can be considered for the shotblock or other inserts in the die where faster cooling is desirable. nickel-rich and copper-rich materials. These procedures included: • Determining the carbide count in the as-oil quenched condition with the MSQ Image Analysis System. significant improvement has been made in the functional life of die casting dies. even when that steel is produced to premium grade specifications. The refractory metals from tungsten or molybdenum are not subject to thermal fatigue cracking and offer the possibility of being inserted into the die at hot spot Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .000 cycles. might provide increased resistance to failure by thermal fatigue cracking. which would permit them to be used in demanding applications or which would allow faster cycle rates than permitted by conventional H13 die steel. including metal matrix composite and high-thermal conductivity alloys. D. Results: The results of this project indicate that some of the more recently developed steels exhibit better thermal fatigue resistance than H13. A metal matrix composite made from Ti-6Al-4V with titanium carbide particles was tested as a die material. Zhou.000. It should be noted that none of the refractory metals which were produced from tungsten or molybdenum show any tendency to thermal fatigue crack. such as the Nybril compositions. additional experimental procedures were conducted. In an effort to determine the reasons for the improved behavior of these steels. such as nickel-based alloys and refractory metals. Steels that exhibit the best tempering resistance also exhibit the best resistance to cracking. The copper and nickel alloys are also more resistant to thermal fatigue cracking but are subject to solution of the sharp corners into the molten aluminum alloy. such as Brush Alloy 3. some of these materials. Approach: Tests were conducted on two types of candidate die materials. The surface cracking has very limited depth and does not appear to produce thermal fatigue cracking that subjects the metal to significant thermal fatigue damage. The results showed that some of the materials behaved somewhat better than the control premium grade H13 processed by a fast quench and double temper. Testing of non-ferrous candidate materials included some refractory metals. have been used in shot blocks. It is considered as a good shot sleeve material for aluminum because of its good resistance to soldering and its low thermal conductivity. Wallace. QRO-90 and TQ1 steels. However. In addition. This metal was inferior to H13 in thermal fatigue resistance. and 15.000. 10. Project Objectives: A significant amount of testing has been conducted to determine the best composition and processing techniques for H13 steel used for die casting dies. such as Dievar and QRO-90 that could improve cycle rates compared with H13 die steel.

such as Dievar and QRO-90.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . Refractory metals do not undergo any visible type of thermal fatigue cracking or other problems. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: U.S. Department of Energy and NADCA For further information.org/research research@diecasting. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.279. High conductivity materials such as Brush Alloy 3 facilitate rapid solidification of the surrounding metal and should be used to increase the production rate of die castings.areas. Implementation Strategy: Die casters should consider the use of die steels with improved thermal fatigue resistance.279.0002 – facsimile www. The use of high thermal conductivity die materials at critical locations is an excellent way to avoid difficulty at these locations.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling.diecasting.diecasting. Refractory base molybdenum and tungsten alloys have excellent thermal fatigue resistance and should be considered for use in areas with high thermal stress.0001 – phone 847. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.org www. except for their high cost and susceptibility to cracking under the wrong circumstances.

lb.75 ft. respectively). the rapid cooling rate from oil quenching provided the best properties. the cooling rate from the austenitizing temperature has an important effect on the cracking resistance of the die steels. These are the main properties that control the resistance to elastic and plastic strain. The ability of die steels to resist thermal fatigue cracking depends upon both their resistance to temperature and their ability to deform without cracking. Schwam and S. The temperature range of 1. at 100ºF/min. 200ºF/min. 18 ft. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides the die caster with information on how to optimize the material properties of die steel by specifying more rapid cooling rates from the austenitizing temperature. 3.880ºF is a very important factor in providing the structure and properties needed to attain dies with an excellent resistance to thermal fatigue cracking. While consideration must be given to cracking and distortion during faster cooling of larger pieces of steel.lb. For this reason. for the rapidly quenched specimen.250ºF/min for the rapidly oil quenched material. In this instance. The microstructure that is obtained during austenitization and quenching of the die steel is the primary feature that determines the behavior and the cracking of the steel.75 ft. Wallace.THE EFFECT OF COOLING RATE ON THERMAL FATIGUE CRACKING AND IMPACT RESISTANCE OF PG H13 DIE MATERIAL J. The metallographic tests clearly showed the effects of the rates of cooling on the transformation structures of the thermal fatigue specimens. average) were obtained for the slowest cooling rate. In this investigation. The microstructure of these materials reflects the rate of cooling. TABLE 1.] 23. A test specimen with thermocouples embedded at 3 inches from the top and 0. The objective of this project was to quantify the effect of the cooling rate from the austenitizing temperature on the thermal fatigue cracking. Charpy-V notch Results – Average of 4 Bars Specimen Oil 10 bar 1 bar Insulated Cooling Rate [ºF/min] 7250 200 100 14 Charpy-V notch Energy [ft. The final operation on these specimens consisted of metallographic measurements of the steels at the critical edges of the specimens. the most rapid cooling rate provided the highest values (23.75 18 12. Project Objectives: The main mechanism of die failure is thermal fatigue cracking. at the slowest rate.lb. The most rapid cooling presented the best results followed by the rates of cooling at 200. all specimens of H13 have greater resistance to failure during service with the use of more rapid cooling rates. the crack propensity of the material was determined. D. 2. 12. It has been shown in previous investigations that the thermal fatigue behavior depends on the initial mechanical properties of the material and their behavior with temperature. The lowest impact results (6 ft.880 to 1. The rate of cooling from the austenitizing temperature of 1. The impact bars were fractured at room temperature.lb. Results: The cracking susceptibility of this material was well related to the rate of cooling. At the slowest cooling rate. Approach: A block of Premium Grade H13 was cut into eight thermal fatigue test specimens and 16 Charpy V-notch pieces. average).lb.lb. The size of these carbides increases somewhat with the cooling rates of 200 – 100ºF/min. 100 and 14ºF/min.05 inches from the corner was used to control the cooling rates. and 7.75 6 Implementation Strategy: The die casting industry should optimize the material properties of die steel by specifying more rapid cooling rates from the austenitizing temperature. average. with the final structure illustrating the advantages of rapid cooling from the austenitizing temperature.75 ft. The impact results varied from an average of 6 ft. The results can be summarized as follows: 1. Excessively slow cooling resulted in the lowest resistance to thermal fatigue cracking. followed by the cooling rates of 200ºF/min and 100º F/min. 100ºF/min. a large number of carbides were present. These specimens were then quenched at controlled cooling rates: about 14ºF/min. Intermediate impact results were obtained with cooling rates of 200 and 100ºF/min (18 and 12. for the 200ºF/min and 23. The structure from the rapid cooling resulted in a fine distribution of alloy carbides in the steel.lb. particularly at the grain boundaries. for Premium Grade H13.000ºF was used for the controlling cooling rates.lb. The results of the Charpy V-notch tests are related to the gross cracking behavior of the die steels. as shown in Table 1. Birceanu. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: NADCA R&D Funds Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . microstructure and impact resistance of premium grade H13 die steel. After testing for the thermal fatigue behavior in the regular immersion thermal fatigue test.75 ft.

org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling.org www.0002 – facsimile www.279.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .diecasting.diecasting.0001 – phone 847.For further information. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.279.org/research research@diecasting.

the flatness and dimensional accuracy were not acceptable. The results of this test have correlated closely with the behavior of dies in industry. Investment casting rapid tooling in H-13 die steel from prototype wax patterns produced from a 3D CAD model. the study evaluated some lower alloy. Electro-Discharge Machining (EDM) can be performed on rapid tooling inserts of any hardness. 2. It would strengthen and speed the supply chain to develop rapid. Wallace and D. The types of steels of interest in this study were H-13. directly from a CAD model provides the best combination of lead time. This method utilized Numerical Control (NC) machining from 3D CAD computer models of the tooling for rough and finish machining. P20. Recent advances in cutting tool technology allow high speed machining of quenched and tempered steels up to 42-43 HRC hardness. While some machining was required to bring the critical dimensions of the cavity into the specified tolerance window. Schwam. A key issue in selecting the material for rapid tooling is ensuring it will last long enough to make the required number of parts. Tool steels in general and hot tool steels in particular are the most frequently used die materials for production die casting and squeeze casting inserts. Approach: With few exceptions. squeeze casting and permanent mold casting. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides designers and die casters with information to effectively use rapid tooling methods to generate new business opportunities for parts that might not otherwise be suitable for die casting due to short production runs or long lead times. cast rapid tooling is normally limited to smaller sizes. This test has become a preferred and widely accepted method of screening die and mold materials. or modified H-11. mechanical properties and surface finish required of the parts. to utilize modified H-11 steels in a pre-hardened condition. While machining of the cast inserts is an option. as demonstrated by this study. In addition. low-cost means of producing dies suitable for a limited number of die castings such as 5. Results: Rapid tooling for permanent mold casting was made by casting ductile iron in no-bake molds with satisfactory results. a metal mold needs to be fabricated first. rapid tooling is needed when a product is under development or when relatively few parts are required to replace components in legacy weapon systems. The casting method of choice is dictated by the dimensional accuracy. H-11. Furthermore. Casting ductile iron rapid tooling in no-bake sand molds from oversized patterns produced from 3D CAD programs. most metal molds are fabricated from ferrous alloys. However. These developments narrow the gap between rapid and production tooling. 1040. The standard procedure is to operate the test for 5. yet last no longer than necessary. The dimensional characteristics and durability of the resulting tooling were also addressed. When die casting inserts were investment cast from H-13 tool steel. The evaluation of the potential materials and fabrication processes included dimensional accuracy. it would offset some of the advantages of net shape casting. In all of these cases. the accuracy and surface finish of cast rapid tooling is not as good as machined rapid tooling. In the military. performance and cost. the Thermal Fatigue Immersion test at CWRU was used to simulate the casting environment.000 immersion cycles. more economical steels such as 4140.000 pieces before serious thermal fatigue or other cracking occurred in the tooling. The objective of this project was to evaluate methods and materials that can potentially shorten the lead time and/or reduce the cost of rapid tooling used in die casting. measure the cracking pattern and follow this method for 10. squeeze casting or permanent mold casting. Fabrication of rapid tooling of tool steels by NC machining. Careful selection and heat treating of the insert material is essential. It is possible. Machining rapid tooling from a forged block that had been tempered to a lower hardness of 40-42 HRC. A more severe crack pattern indicates a lower thermal fatigue resistance of the tested material. Permanent molds are often cast in gray or ductile iron.000 total cycles. 3. At Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . surface condition and performance of the tooling. The study evaluated and compared the following methods of rapid tooling fabrication: 1. While machined rapid tooling can be made in very large sizes. especially the lead time. Complex rapid tooling can often be cast in a more cost effective way and with shorter lead times.000 and 15. for very short runs. to fabricate rapid tooling that can last long enough to be used for production of large numbers of die castings. Sometimes the desirable casting method for rapid prototyping is a metal mold technique such as die casting. the lead time was still relatively short. and. or high strength gray and ductile iron. To test the performance of candidate materials. well beyond short runs.RAPID TOOLING FOR LOW VOLUME DIE CASTING J. Project Objectives: Rapid prototyping casting methods are often employed when a small number of cast parts are needed.

if only a small number of castings are required. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: U.diecasting.279. further savings in cost can be achieved by utilizing lower alloy. Implementation Strategy: This project demonstrated that there are techniques which can be used to quickly provide tooling for prototype castings or even small production runs.S. where the long lead times required for conventional tooling prohibited their participation. In addition.the same time. Department of Defense and NADCA For further information. In every case.0001 – phone 847.diecasting. squeeze casting. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.279.0002 – facsimile www. These techniques open new opportunities for casting producers to enter new markets. softer steels. or permanent mold tooling. the size and configuration of the part and the die design have to be carefully considered to avoid premature failure of the tooling. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. these techniques offer the potential to reduce the lead time and cost of even conventional die casting.org/research research@diecasting.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling.org www.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .

D. Further testing was conducted using other shot sleeves with an increased sleeve thickness of 0. The damage that occurred to the original 0.5%.2% Fe. Implementation Strategy: Based upon the results of this project. or a molybdenum coating applied throughout the sleeve. and finally wore off in sections as the bond started to fail. which moves a plunger rod and plunger tip in a shot sleeve.01 inches. with 36 seconds required for each cycle. Co 60%. a method was developed that offered the opportunity of solving the problem for better life in shot sleeves. The reason for the use of a Be-Cu plunger tip is that the molybdenum coating is softer than nitrided H13 and a softer plunger tip is designed to avoid additional damage. The thickness of the shot sleeve was first held to 0. Project Objectives: The use of shot sleeves has been a considerable problem in die casting operations. the automatic ladle picks up the A356 molten aluminum alloy at a temperature of 1. Birceanu. This material was excellent until it wore through the 10 micron thickness. The objective of this project was to study the build up and erosion of shot sleeves in an attempt to end the problem as it exists in the industry today. The molten metal was applied at a rate of about 7 pounds per ladle. The plunger tip employed initially was water-cooled nitrided H13.500 psi maximum pressure hydraulic cylinder. The aluminum alloy used in this project was A356 with regular composition of: 7% Si. This sectioning showed the adherence of aluminum on the nitrided shot sleeve after it had worn through the nitrided layer.5%. The plunger tip pushes the molten metal out of the shot sleeve at a rate of 6 inches per second.5 inch thick nitrided H13 sleeve indicated that soldered aluminum alloy had adhered to the original steel interface. The plunger tip used for this experiment was made from Be-Cu alloy instead of nitrided H13 and was cooled by water.17 inches. The depth of the damage to the coating was 0. • The molybdenum coating was applied over the entire surface of the shot sleeve. These problems can require the replacement of the shot sleeve entirely too frequently. less downtime and reduced energy consumption. The automated ladle takes aluminum alloy from the furnace and pours it through a funnel into the shot sleeve. This procedure is repeated numerous times. an addition of Stellite #6 because of its known wear resistance. These improvements could result in potential cost savings of up to 20% through improved quality. This method of testing the shot sleeve and its operation consists of a 1.250-1. the material behavior was similar to the nitrided H13. C 1%.350 ºF and pours it into the shot sleeve through the funnel. The molybdenum held up longer than any other material. During the operation of this equipment. Approach: After a long period of time and considerable effort. • The Stellite #6 alloy was tested as a welded insert. After 2500 cycles. which was near the pour hole.3% Mg and 0. The components are mounted on two U-beams assembled on a 300 gallon hydraulic fluid tank by means of shock absorbers. Si 1%. actuated by a 30HP electric motor. With more experience. the following conclusions and recommendations are made: • The molybdenum coating was the very best material for avoiding damage to the shot sleeve steel. it is evident that molybdenum coatings could be a very good addition. the shot sleeve experiences a serious problem involving the build up of sintered material and rapid erosion of the material under the pour hole. Other shot sleeves with H13 base material were also tested which had either a TiAlN PVD coating. Wallace. the original nitrided H13 sleeve was replaced and sectioned longitudinally. to a depth of 250 microns or 0. 0. Some difficulty developed welding directly on the surface of the sleeve and that forced the use of a separate plug on the surface. The metal is directed back to the furnace by means of an insulated launder. This material held up the best of any material. This item has a history of warping and bending in the operation of the process.5 inches to accelerate the failure of the shot sleeve. It performed very poorly because of the solubility of the cobalt in the liquid aluminum.75 inches. In addition. After that. W 4. Case Western Reserve University Business Benefit: This project provides the die caster with information on the use of coatings and other techniques to improve the operation of shot sleeves. The welded insert was placed into a hole that was cut into the bottom of the shot sleeve directly below the pour hole.IMPROVED DESIGN. by a commercial coating supplier. Ni 2%. Results: The results of the various tests conducted during this project can be summarized as follows: • It is evident that penetration of the sleeve material involved washout by dissolution of aluminum intermetallic material at the aluminum and steel interface and the diffusion of aluminum and iron across the interface. Fe 2%. OPERATION AND DURABILITY OF SHOT SLEEVES J. • The PVD coating of TiAlN on the inside surface of a nitrided H13 sleeve had a thickness of about 10 microns and was placed directly on the surface that was damaged. Schwam and S. The composition of the Stellite #6 was: Cr 28. With an improved Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . The initial testing was performed with a nitrided H13 shot sleeve.

Additional experience with the application and use of molybdenum coatings in shot sleeves could provide significant improvement in shot sleeve performance.bond.diecasting. The improved operation of shot sleeves will save a lot of energy and reduce downtime in the die casting operation. • The hard coating (TiAlN PVD) performed in an excellent manner as long as the coating was maintained. This wear is the result of the solubility of cobalt in the molten aluminum and shot sleeves are not an appropriate application for this material.org/research research@diecasting.S. It is estimated that the improvement in shot sleeve design and operation could reduce the energy required for die casting by 20%. • The Stellite #6 material showed considerable wear under the action of the molten aluminum alloy with cracking occurring in Location of Cut-Out Under Pour Hole Where the Stellite Insert was Welded the weldment.279.279. By reducing the lost energy and producing better die castings. I Monitoring Task Force: Die Materials Task Force Sponsored by: U. However.0002 – facsimile www.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research . the cost and energy consumed during die casting will be greatly reduced.diecasting. the behavior was similar to that of the nitrided H13. its thickness was limited to about 10 microns. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting. Department of Energy and NADCA For further information.0001 – phone 847. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847. After this coating wore off. • The nitrided coating of the H13 sleeve material provided some assistance to withstanding the wearing and soldering effect.org www.org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling. the molybdenum coating would have lasted for a longer period of time.

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diecasting.279.0001 – phone 847.org/research Turn Research into Action Business Solutions Based on NADCA Research .org North American Die Casting Association 241 Holbrook Drive Wheeling. contact: North American Die Casting Association 847.diecasting. IL 60090 Email: research@diecasting.org/research research@diecasting.For further information.org www.0002 – facsimile www.279.