Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data

Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1987/004957
Kind Code:
A hard facing of preferably a high speed tool steel or a stellite along the edge of a substrate is produced by mechanical deposition by means of rotary friction surfacing. The combination of high temperatures below the melting points of coating material and substrate and high rates of strain gives rise to a very fine coating microstructure resulting in an edge or valve facing or seat of unexpectedly good mechanical properties and service life.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
August 27, 1987
Filing Date:
February 13, 1987
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
International Classes:
B23P15/28; B23K20/12; B23K35/30; B23K35/32; C23C26/00; (IPC1-7): B23K20/12; B23K35/30; B23P15/28
Foreign References:
Download PDF:
1. A method for applying a hard facing along an edge of a substrate which comprises mechanically depositing by means of rotatory friction surfacing a layer of relatively hard material along the substrate edge and forming a sharp edge in the layer and substrate or grinding said layer to form a wearresistant surface or seat.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the substrate edge is formed with a recess and the relatively hard material is deposited in the recess.
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the relatively hard material provides metal carbides in a matrix based on a metal selected from the group consisting of iron cobalt and nickel.
4. A method according to claim 3, wherein the relatively hard material is high speed transformable tool steel that is applied without melting at an austenitising temperature at high rates of strain, the resulting fine microstructure transforming to carbides of size about two microns or below uniformly distributed in a very fine martensitic matrix, the applied hard facing being tempered to achieve secondary hardening.
5. A method according to claim 4, "wherein after the hard facing has been applied the substrate is maintained at a cryogenic temperature for a period and subsequently tempered.
6. A method according to claim 3, wherein the substrate is a stainless steel and the relatively hard material is a cobalt/chromium/tungsten/carbon alloy.
7. A method according to claim 1, wherein the article has first and second edges disposed backtoback and a hard facing is deposited along each said edge.
8. A method according to claim 1, wherein the edge to be treated is a closed loop.
9. A cutting blade, punch, die, valve or valve seat having a hard facing applied by a method as claimed in claim 1.
METHOD OF FORMING HARD FACINGS ON MATERIALS This invention relates to the formation of hard facings along edges on materials by friction surfacing.

British Patent Specification No.572789 (Hans Klopstock) describes a method for joining or welding metals in which a rotating rod or bar of weld metal is fed into contact with the metal part or parts to be treated with such continuity of pressure and is moved relatively thereto at such speed that the frictional heat generated causes the end of the rod or bar and the metal to attain welding temperature. The result is that the metal of the rod or bar becomes deposited on the metal under treatment to form a local enlargement or joins two juxtaposed metal parts together or fills in blow-holes or the like. Hitherto, edge tools such as blades, knives and guillotines have been made by three routes, one involving carburising and heat-treating the surface of the tool, the second involving brazing or roll-bonding to the tool an insert of high speed tool steel, and a third using solid high speed steel or other typical cutting alloys.

This invention provides a method for applying a hard facing along an edge of a substrate which comprises mechanically depositing by means of rotatory friction surfacing a layer of relatively hard material along the substrate edge and forming a sharp edge in the layer and substrate or grinding said layer to form a wear resistant surface or seat.

Very preferably the relatively hard material provides metal carbides in a matrix based on a metal selected from the group consisting of iron cobalt and nickel. The process of the invention which operates at high rates of strain and at high temperatures below the melting points of the relatively hard material and the substrate gives rise to very finely divided carbides uniformly distributed in a matrix of very fine icrostructure, resulting in unexpectedly good mechanical properties and service life, even when deposited on a mild steel or stainless steel substrate. The method provides for effective use of the relatively hard material because mixing at the interface with the substrate occurs to a minimal extent, and a very good union at the interface is achieved. The coating may be applied to substrates of thickness as low as 3 mm without damage or unacceptable distortion, depending upon the particular hard material and substrate, suitable substrate materials being mild steel and stainless steel.

The articles that may be made by the method of this invention include cutting blades which have shown unexpectedly long service lives and ease of re-grinding, skates, valves and valve seats. Further, a wear resistant face can be formed on the flight edges of extruder screws (used extensively in food and plastics industries both as an original equipment process and as a reclamation process) . In a further modification the invention may be employed for forming edge tool surfaces on hand tools such as screw drivers and chisels that may benefit from hard


An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a diagrammatic profile of a mild steel workpiece along an edge of which a high speed steel coating is to be formed during the manufacture of an edge according to the process of the invention;

Figure 2 is an isometric sketch of a friction surfacing machine according to the invention;

Figures 3A and 3B are plans of a workpiece according to the invention showing alternative methods of dealing with the workpiece having regard to the extent of the acceptable coating region; Figure 4 indicates the way that all relevant parameters are measured and displayed during the coating of the workpiece of Figures 3A or 3B, notably pressure and rotational speed of the "mechtrode".

Figures 5 and 6 are electron micrographs of Tl tool steel coatings on mild steel;

Figure 7 is a graph showing hardness against depth from the surface of the coating of a Tl tool steel layer deposited on mild steel;

Figures 8 and 9 are micrographs of Stellite on a stainless steel substrate;

Figures 10 and 11 are side and end views of a skate provided with a tool steel coating according to the invention;

Figures 12 and 13A to 130 are diagrammatic sections of a poppet valve and fragmentary edge sections of the valve showing stages in the formation thereon of a coating according to the invention.

The formation of surface coatings on substrates by friction coating is known. The material from which the coating is formed on existing machines using a round- section bar or rod is between 3 and 25 mm diameter depending upon the application and it is believed that

this can be increased to over 40 mm required with an appropriately powerful machine. The bar is rotated at a typical peripheral speed of from 1-2 metres per second under pressure, to form a hot plasticised layer in the bar where it interfaces with the substrate. By moving the substrate which may be a plate or rod across the face of the rotating bar, termed a "mechtrode", there is deposited on the substrate a plasticised layer of thickness from 0.2 mm upwards. Because no melting has taken place, the layer does not suffer from the defects commonly associated with fusion welded and sprayed coatings.

This invention is based on the discovery that hard facings of carbide-containing, iron-based, cobalt-based or less commonly nickel-based alloys can usefully be deposited along a milled edge channel of a workpiece. In Figure 1, a mild steel workpiece 10 is cut to length, and a recess 12 is formed along an edge 13 thereof. The recess 12 is generally of angular profile with its back face inclined at an angle typically from 35 degrees to 55 degrees to the cut face, preferably about 45 degrees and joined to the cut face 14 by a radiused region 15. The angle of the back face of the workpiece takes the natural geometry of the hot plasticised mechtrode material as it progresses along the recess, and the radiused region 15 maintains intimate contact for heat generation continuously across the profile of the groove avoiding development in the finished workpiece of a linear region of poorly bonded coating. The depth and width of the channel 12 will depend on the nature of the workpiece 10 and of the type of blade which it is intended to provide.

The blade 10 is clamped by clamping means (not shown) firmly onto a bed 20 of a coating machine 22 having a mechtrode 24 firmly fixed in a rotary chuck 26. Figure

2 shows the general machine format with the blade 10 in place for coating. The coating machine will normally be provided with sensors providing inputs to a feedback control loop so that a defined mechtrode pressure is

N/mm 2 , a defined rate of rotation and a defined rate of feed of the mechtrode 24 relative to the workpiece 10 is maintained. The initial or "touchdown" phase of the coating process in which friction heating of the mechtrode 24 up to its equilibrium condition takes place is important, as is the phase in which the mechtrode 24 is lifted from contact with the blade 10 at the end of the run. In a typical run using a 5 mm thick mild steel blade 10 and a high speed tool steel bar 24 of 10 mm diameter, the touchdown phase will occupy five seconds and the coating phase will occupy 200 seconds, the spindle speed being about 1250 rpm and the workpiece 10 feed rate 4 mm per second the force on the mechtrode 24 being about 12 kN. The result is to produce a coating about 0.7 mm thick or more and of length typically 800 mm.

The thickness of the layer produced depends on the material of the mechtrode 24, the diameter of the mechtrode and to a lesser extent the material and thickness of the substrate 10. Thus a 10 mm mechtrode may typically produce a coating in the range 0.2 to 1 mm thick whereas a 25 mm diameter mechtrode may produce a coating in the range 0.5 to 2 mm thick. Any desired thickness may be built up by means of repeated coating. The width of the layer produced will be similar to the diameter of the mechtrode employed. Mechtrodes of diameter up to 50 mm can be employed, wider coatings if required being produced by parallel tracks, eg. in the production of large industrial guillotine blades for the paper and plastics industries. Referring to Figures 3A, 3B and 4, it is seen that the blade 10 has lines A and B defining completion of touchdown and initiation of liftoff respectively. The touchdown period occupies five seconds and the liftoff period is less than 1 second. During the interval between touchdown and liftoff (ie. in the interval between points A and B) a coating having consistent properties is produced. In the variant of Figure 3A, touchdown and

liftoff occur on a start plate 7 and an end plate 8, substantially the whole of the workpiece 10 having an effective coating. In the variant of Figure 3B, touchdown and liftoff occur at the ends 9 of the workpiece which are subsequently removed.

After the coating has been deposited on the blade 10, a heat treatment step is required in the case of high speed tool steels in order to temper the coating back from its as deposited high hardness. Typically tempering is carried out for two periods of one hour at a temperature of 560°C when secondary hardening occurs.

After completion of the coating formation and heat treatment steps the blade 10 is ground along its edge to clean and sharpen the coating. Because the present process does not involve melting, the degree of distortion of the workpiece 10 is much less than in conventional brazing or welding processes.

A significant feature of the process is that it copes with the two different types of hardfacing alloys. Thus when high speed tool steels are used, allotropic transformation takes place to relatively soft austenite at high temperatures which is quenched to hard martensite as a result of the process. In contrast, Stellite type alloys undergo no allotropic change and simply experience high temperature softening to enable coating to take place. A feature of the friction coating process is that the coating parameters are selected to generate the intended heat flow characteristics. Parameters are optimised to generate sufficient heat to enable the friction interface to rise from a position in contact with the substrate 10 to a position along the mechtrode 24 spaced a small distance from the substrate 10.

A significant metallurgical advantage is that the alloy is hot worked during coating so that the fine structure resulting has attendant good properties. The resulting microstructure is a very fine array of angular

complex carbide particles in a matrix of, in the case of a high speed transformable tool steel, very fine martensite which on subsequent tempering is enhanced by secondary hardening. The size of the carbides in the matrix is such that there are relatively few carbides of size above two microns with a very uniform distribution of the carbides through the matrix, the fineness of the microstructure giving the observed better edge retention properties. Normally high speed tool steels have a much coarser microstructure with large carbide particles in a banded form and a coarse artensitic matrix. Because the austenite which is present at the equilibrium condition of the mechtrode during coating is hot worked at very high strain rates, it has a very fine microstructure which on the immediately following rapid cooling transforms to an equally fine martensitic structure. In the cobalt based alloys the resulting microstructure is uniform with a very uniform array of angular complex carbides in a solid solution matrix of cobalt/chromium. The invention will now be described with reference to the following Examples.

EXAMPLE 1 A mild steel blade for a knife of a wood planing machine was coated with a 12 mm edge coating of Tl high speed tool steel (18:4:1 type). The coated blade was sectioned, ground, polished and examined in a scanning electron microscope fitted with a back-scatter detector that gives atomic number contrast to the micrographs dark contrast from low atomic number (2) and light areas from high Z regions. In Figure 5 which is a scanning electron micrograph there may be seen an upper plain region of mild steel connected by a well-defined interface to a high speed tool steel layer which has finely divided uniformly distributed carbides. Figure 6 is an enlarged interface area of Figure 5 in back-scatter imaging mode, showing that any interface void (black area) is about one micron in size, such voids being of infrequent occurrence. The

homogeneity of matrix is also evident from its uniform appearance. The hardness of the Tl coating normal to the tool surface and a scan across the interface on the polished section were carried out using a Vickers bench 5 microhardness tester. The hardness of the coating and mild steel substrate, measured at 1000 gms, were 860+30 and 173+9 respectively. The scan of hardness, measured at 50 gms load, across the interface is plotted in Figure 7. There is a very sharp drop in hardness at the boundary

10 between the Tl and mild steel indicating that no significant dilution of the coating material at the interface has occurred. The differences in the measured hardnesses at 1000 gms and at 50 gms load are believed to be due to the thickness of the coating.

15 Four 230 mm long blades of this type were fitted into a block of a wood planing machine and after 28,000 metres of softwood had been planed were still in a useable condition. A solid Tl blade has a life of typically 4,000 metres of softwood.


Blades were manufactured as in Example 1 except that immediately after coating, the blade was immersed in liquid nitrogen for 24 hours followed by two one-hour treatments at 560°C. The resulting blades when fitted to

25 the same machine as in Example 1 were in useable condition after 50,000 metres of softwood had been planed, after which the blades were removed.

EXAMPLE 3 A blade according to Example 1 was re-sharpened by

30 grinding to remove 0.4 mm of material. A conventional Tl blade typically loses 1-2 mm during re-grinding.

EXAMPLE 4 A blade of stainless steel (austenitic 316 type) was edge coated with an 8 mm wide coating of Stellite 6

35 (Stellite 6 is cobalt/chromium/tungsten/carbon alloy containing 0=1, W=5, Cr=26, Co=balance available from Stoody Deloro Stellite of Swindon, UK). The Vickers

hardness of Stellite 6 as cast was 410 whereas the deposited coating had a surface Vickers hardness using a 30 Kg load of 665 and a section hardness of 640, the increase in hardness being attributable to the fine carbide distribution and the very fine matrix structure. In Figure 8 the upper layer is Stellite and the lower layer is the stainless steel substrate; in Figure 9 the detail of the Stellite 6 coating is seen at high magnification showing a fine uniform distribution of carbides, whereas Stellite 6 deposited by a conventional oxy-acetylene process gives a coarse dendritic structure in which it is difficult to achieve a uniform cutting edge.

EXAMPLE 5 A skater's blade 30 (Figures 10, 11) of mild steel is formed along both lower sides with recesses in which BT1 high speed tool steel is deposited to form hard facings 32 as described in Figure 1, followed by grinding and finishing. EXAMPLE 6

A poppet valve 34 for an engine exhaust is formed with a peripheral recess 36 into which is deposited a layer 38 of Stellite 6. It is envisaged that other hard facing alloys such as those in the Tristelle range (iron based alloys available from Stoody Deloro Stellite) may be used in place of Stellite 6.