Unconventional technology of tool steel thermomechanical treatment
A Czech university research centre has developed an innovative technology for tool steel preparation. Tool steels prepared by the classical metallurgical process contain chromium carbides which cause material toughness degradation. This technology helps increase material toughness by removing chromium carbides from the steel structure. The centre is seeking manufacturers of tool steels interested in license agreement, technical cooperation agreement or research cooperation agreement.
Partner sought: Tool steels producers The technology will be licensed to the partner. Introducing the technology into production will require technology adjustments under a technical cooperation agreement. The technology can be extended to the producer’s needs under a research cooperation agreement.
Tool steels prepared by a conventional metallurgical process contain chromium carbides that cause a common shortcoming of material toughness degradation. A Czech university research centre has developed a technology that helps to deal with this issue. By using this semi-solid state processing technology, a fine-grained microstructure without large polyhedral carbides can be obtained. The morphology of carbides is changed so that they are not uniformly dispersed, which contributes to the structure strengthening. In addition, the sub-micron carbides are 0.5 μm in size and they do not reduce the toughness of the steel. The resulting hardness of the material reaches approximately 800 HV10, compared to a conventional processing where the hardness reaches 500 HV10. The whole process is implemented with the use of conventional, thus commonly available technological equipment. Typical processing line configuration, tested on X210CR12 steels: 1. Furnace - operating temperature 1250°C - 1300°C, heating of material to semi-solid state, dissolution of primary carbides. 2. Furnace - operating temperature up to 1100°C, or cooling bath and furnace (according to the dimensions of the product) Cooling to the forming temperature. Resulting in grains of austenite surrounded by carbide mesh. 3. Forming equipment, press, forging equipment, rolling mill - hot forming, redistribution of carbides from net to volume. In subsequent heat treatment, the carbides are discharged from the supersaturated solution into submicron carbides. All devices can be used in common configurations. Therefore, it is not necessary to produce tailor-made special equipment. Technology state and known risks: - Technology tested on X210Cr12 steels, final toughness and hardness verified. - The team is not aware of similar technology being used in production; the technology was developed by coincidence in the research of semi-solid processing. - Technology principal risks are not known, adjusting would be required with respect to production volumes. Cooperation with manufacturing companies is envisaged on a licence agreement basis. This also includes setting up the implemented technology for production under a technical cooperation agreement. Subsequent cooperation during the technology expansion under a research cooperation agreement is also possible.
Advantages and innovations
The technology brings the following benefits: - removing hard polyhedral grains of Cr (chromium carbides) from high-alloyed tool steels through semi-solid processing; - no reduction of steel toughness; - increasing steel hardness up to approximately 800 HV10; - high stability of the resulting structure achieved by changing the cooling strategies; - using conventional and commonly available equipment, usually already available in the process. The technology uses different heating and cooling process with the same equipment.
Available for demonstration
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