Effect of Al-6063 Billet Quality on the Service Life of Hot Extrusion Die: Metallurgical and Statistical Investigation
The current paper presents results about the effect of Al-6063 billet quality on the service life of AISI-H13 hot extrusion dies based on microstructural and statistical investigation. In the first half of the paper, secondary (remelt) billet cast in-house at local extrusion plant is compared with two sources of primary (smelter) billet by applying different material characterization techniques including optical microscopy, hardness measurement, x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The second half of the paper evaluates the performance of primary and secondary billet types based on statistical analysis of data collected on 53 hollow-profile dies from a local commercial extrusion setup. It was observed that the secondary billet has a comparatively coarse grain structure, nonhomogeneous distribution of secondary phases, and high hardness that can be associated with poor casting and homogenization practice. Statistical analysis covers overall analysis of collected data followed by detailed study of percentagewise use of billet quality in terms of die profile complexity/extrusion ratio. Analysis has shown that dies extruding a high percentage of secondary billets are more susceptible to early die failure on overall basis. For more complex dies with high extrusion ratio, average die life further reduces with increased percentage of secondary billet usage. Regression models are also proposed for prediction of die life in terms of secondary billet usage and extrusion ratio. Considering results of present microstructural and statistical analysis, some suggestions during in-house billet preparation of secondary billets have been formulated to prevent early die failure.
KeywordsBillet quality Extrusion die-life Statistical study Microscopic study
The authors acknowledge the support of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for the funded project, Project No. SB070023 and ALUPCO, Saudi Arabia for this work.
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