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Service life of moulds refers to amounts of qualified products made by a mould before it is discarded due to abrasion or other failures. In order to prolong the service life of moulds, or we say die life, we could make efforts on several aspects.
This is the most important step when endeavor to prolong die life. Many factors should be taken into account, including selection of mould materials, availability and security of mould structure, machinability of mould parts and convenience of mould maintenance. The selection of mould materials should meet needs of customers, with a view to cost and strength of materials. Besides, elements such as type of moulds, operating manner, processing speed, main failure mode, etc.
Compact structure and easy operation is required, as well as powerful strength and stiffness. At the same time, we should also consider how to reduce the influence of abrasion of slide assemblies and rams caused in the long-term use. During the process, efforts should be made to limit the dismantling scope of parts for maintenance, especially when there’s need to change wearing parts.
Fatigue rupture arises from work day by day. To do stress-relief tempering for punch-die after a spell is beneficial to prevent fatigue crack and prolong die life. This should also be done before storage.
Surface treatment of moulds can not only upgrade abrasive resistance, but also improve the fatigue strength. The reason is that there is residual compressive stress on the surface after treatment.
For the present, we mainly take the following methods to do treatment.
1) Low temperature nitridation. This method is not confined to certain steel. Moulds with this surface treatment could gain a layer of protection which is tough, yet flexible to some extent.
2) Boronisation. This could produce a layer of high-hardness metal boride to obviously improve abrasive resistance of moulds.
3) Vapor deposition. With Tic or Tic compound covering on the surface, surface hardness will be improved significantly while the friction coefficient will be greatly decreased.
4) Boundary lubrication. The lubrication effect of it is obvious.
5) Continuously improving Billets processing. In order to obtain good results, this is always required to do.
There might be ways to prolong die life. Keeping to the objective laws of cold extruding, service life of moulds could be finally stable and greatly improved with the upgrade of productivity and technological level.