You are on page 1of 4

The development of high speed steel rolls

by extrusion casting
The development of wire rod rolling technology has set higher demands on the properties
of rolls. Previous investigations have indicated that the service lives of traditional rolls such as NiCr cast iron rapidly chilled rolls, bainitic ductile iron rolls and high Cr cast iron rolls are shorter than
that of hard alloy rolls.15 Hard alloy rolls have excellent wear resistance. However, the cost is
much higher. Technical developments in the field of rolling steel in recent years have been made to
improve the quality of steel products, improve productivity and reduce the manufacturing costs.
With this technical development, the need for the highly reliable roll with a high performance and
long service life has extensively grown. High speed steel (HSS) has the characteristics of high
hardness, good red hardness and fitness for manufacturing of parts working at high temperature
such as rolls, guide rollers and rolling mill guides. An HSS roll is usually manufactured by
centrifugal casting. Owing to different densities of the alloy elements, the centrifugal force
enriches the high density elements (e.g. W and Mo) in the outer layer of the roll, and enriches the
low density elements (e.g. V) in the inner layer, which causes serious segregation in the roll,
decreases the mechanical properties and reduces wear resistance. In order to resolve the
segregation problem in HSS rolls, Ichino et al.6 developed techniques by decreasing the W and Mo
contents and adding a suitable amount of Nb. However, decreased W and Mo contents were found
to reduce the red hardness and high temperature wear resistance of the HSS. Therefore, it is
necessary to develop a new process for manufacturing HSS rolls. The HSS roll manufactured by
means of extrusion casting allowance, no segregation and a simple procedure. It is an effective
method of replacing centrifugal casting for manufacturing HSS rolls.
Composition of the HSS roll
The idea of devising the composition of an HSS roll is as follows. In order to reduce the
cost scrap M2 HSS is added to the HSS roll, replacing tungsten iron and molybdenum iron.
Chromium iron, vanadium iron and graphite are used to complement Cr, V and C. Because V is an
essential element forming high hardness MC type carbide and providing the HSS roll with good
wear resistance, the V content must be over 3%. However, when the V content is over 8%, the
melting point of molten steel rises, the flowing property falls and low hardness M^sub 3^C carbide
begins to appear.7 The V content is limited to between 3.5% and 6.5%.
The HSS was melted in a 150 kg medium frequency induction furnace and deoxidised by
aluminum. The REM used in this steel was mainly mixed REM wires in which the mass fraction of
La+ Ce was larger than 98%. The discharge temperature of molten steel was 1600C.
The equipment used in HSS roll extrusion casting is a 160 t four-post hydraulic press. The
outer diameter, inside diameter and length of the roll are 300, 145 and 100 mm respectively. The
liquid metal, which is poured into the mould and exerted and kept under pressure, begins to
crystallise and solidify. Figure 1 is a sketch of the extrusion castingprocess. The heat treatment
samples with the dimension of 15 15 25 (mm) were cut from the HSS roll.

Results and discussion

The effects of pressure, pressing time and pressing speed on shrinkage cavity volume
The effects of pressure and pressing time, as well as pressing speed on the shrinkage
cavity volume were investigated. The effects are shown in Figs. 2-4. When the pressure is small,
the shrinkage cavity volume is a constant. When the pressure is over 80 MPa, the shrinkage cavity
volume sharply decreases until it reaches zero, indicating that there is a critical and compacting
pressure in extrusion casting. When the pressure is small, the pressure on the solidified shell is
smaller than the yield limit of the material. For this reason, the pressure will not perform the filling
contract. The curve remains horizontal while the pressure is smaller than the critical pressure. In
the experiment, it was found that a small pressure can enlarge the workpiece shrinkage cavity
volume. The fast thermal transmission in the pressure head quickens the solidification of the
workpiece top and the workpiece forms a molten metal become surrounded by the closed solidified
shell. Neither pressure feeding nor free feeding take place, so the shrinkage cavity volume is larger
for small pressure than for no pressure. When the critical volume of 80 MPa is reached, the
shrinkage cavity volume sharply reduces. When the pressure reaches a compacting pressure of
120 MPa, the shrinkage cavity volume reduces to zero. In the initial stage of extrussion casting,
the shrinkage cavity volume sharply reduces with increasing pressing time and then tendency
moderates. Pressing time and solidification time of the workpiece should coincide. If discharging
pressure in solidification, the volume shrinkage causd in solidification of the roll cannot sustain
feeding, and a shrinkage cavity is formed. If the pressing time is too long, a thermal crack may
arise because the shrinkage of the roll is hindered. The shrinkage cavity volume obviously reduces
as pressing speed increases. When the pressing speed is small, only a partial pressure filling
contraction can be obtained. The shrinkage cavity remains. When the pressing speed is over 14
mm/s, the shrinkage cavity volume is zero. If the pressing speed is too large, the wear of the
mould will increase and the roll may easily crack. The technological parameters of the HSS roll
extrusion casting are as follows: pouring temperature is 1400-1450C; preheating temperature of
the mould is 180-240C; the pressure is 150 MPa; the pressing time is 120-150 s; and the
pressing speed is 14-16 mm/s. The extrusion cast rolls have no segregation and the quality of
appearance is superior to rolls produced by common casting methods. The working allowance
decreases by 50% from that of the common casting and the extrusion casting can save metal and
working time.
Heat treatment of the HSS roll
The effect of quenching temperature on the HSS hardness is shown in Fig. 5. The hardness
gradually increases with a rise in the quenching temperature, peaking at 1050C. This is because
the hardness is determined by the alloy structure, the quantity of C and alloy elements in the
martensite, and the nontransformation residual austenite. When the quenching temperature is
lower, the quantity of dissolved C and alloy elements in austenite is smaller, and the quantity of C
and alloy elements in martensite after transformation is also smaller, while the hardness is lower.
When the temperature reaches 1050C and the temperature continues to increase, excessive
dissolved C and alloy elements in austenite will increase the stability of austenite. The austenite
has no time to transform to martensite during the cooling, which increases the retained austenite
and decreases the hardness. When the temperature is about 1050C, the peak value of the
hardness can be obtained because the C and elements contained in martensite and the retained
austenite all reach a suitable level.
The tempering treatment of the HSS roll was performed after oil quenching. The effect of
tempering temperature on the hardness of the HSS is shown in Fig. 6. With a rise in the tempering

temperature, the hardness first reduces gradually. It begins to rise at 475C and reaches a
maximum at 525C. When the tempering temperature is below 475C, the C in the martensite is
separated out, forming carbide. Dispersion hardening cannot occur because the carbide content is
small, which decreases both the C content in the martensite and the hardness of the HSS. When
the tempering temperature is about 525C, the martensite transforms to tempering martensite,
which is separated out into low mass alloy carbides. Residual austenite transforms to martensite
while cooling, which hardens the steel more quickly giving a greater maximum hardness. When the
temperature continues to rise, the alloy carbides begin to gather and grow, which causes the
hardness level to drop. The difference between this and conventional HSS is that the temperature
of the peak hardness reduces. In contrast with conventional HSS (with a quenching temperature
usually above 1150C, see Ref. 13), the quenching temperature is low. The dissolved C and alloy
elements in the high temperature austenite are smaller and the high temperature austenite is not
stable. The residual austenite content in the quenching structure is smaller and its stability is
lower. The residual austenite is easily transformed to martensite as the tempering temperature is
very low. Therefore, the tempering temperature at which the hardness occurs in the peak value
reduces. In addition, owing to non-stability of residual austenite, the HSS can reach the maximum
hardness after tempering twice. Conversely, the hardness descends after tempering three times.
According to the above results, the heat treatment process of the HSS roll is: 1025-1050C 2 h,
oil cooling +520-540C 6 h, and air cooling (twice). Figure 7 shows the structure of the heat
treated HSS roll. From Fig. 7, it can be seen that the structure of the HSS roll is very fine and the
carbides are homogeneously distributed. These factors facilitate the increase in the wear
resistance of the HSS.
Effects of extrusion casting on HSS properties
Application of extrusion cast HSS rolls
Service results of extrusion cast HSS rolls
The extrusion cast HSS roll used in the pre-finishing train of a 105 m/s wire rod rolling mill
and rolled metal was plain C steel, and its diameter was 6.5 mm. The results showed that the wear
of the extrusion cast HSS roll was 0.15-0.20 mm when rolling 1000 t of steel. In the use of HSS
roll, the wear of the groove was homogeneous, there was no alligator effect, wear resistance was
better, the surface of rolled metal was smoother, dimensional accuracy was higher and the service
life was five to eight times higher than that of rapidly chilled high Ni-Cr cast iron roll. The
application of extrusion cast HSS roll can elevate the operating rate of rolling mill, reduce the
production cost of rolled metal and generate economic benefit.
Precautions in application of HSS rolls
HSS rolls have properties that are different from other rolls. The cooling of the HSS roll is
stronger than for high chromium cast iron rolls and rapidly chilled high Ni-Cr cast iron rolls.
Enough cooling water should be present, 75% of which should be applied on the side of the hot
metal exit. The surface temperature of the roll should be held below 50C. Usually the surface
temperature of the roll is measured after the cooling water has stopped for 10-12 min. The
quantity of cooling water should be adjusted according to the surface temperature of the roll.
Requirements of the temperature of the roll surface for different roll materials are shown in Table
The friction coefficient between the HSS roll and the rolled metal is high. Slipping can
easily occur when the rolling load increases. The deformation of each framework must be properly

controlled so as to reduce the rolling load. After grinding, the HSS roll must be examined by eddy
current testing. The roll cannot be reused until the crack and the fatigue layer are completely
This study was carried out to develop extrusion casting techniques for HSS rolls. The
effects of the extrusion casting process on the properties of the HSS roll were investigated. The
results obtained are summarised as follows.
1. By adding vanadium iron and chromium iron to scrap M2 HSS, increasing C by the use of
graphite, and inoculating treatment by titanium and REM, a high C and high V HSS with excellent
properties can be obtained which can be used as the rolling roll.
2. The HSS roll is manufactured by means of extrusion casting. Through monitoring pressure,
pressing time and pressing speed, the obtained roll has no shrinkage cavity, no flaw, dense
structure and small working allowance. Extrusion casting HSS roll also improves strength,
toughness and wear resistance.
3. A rise in the quenching temperature can cause a rise in hardness of the HSS. When the
temperature is over 1050C, conversely, the hardness can reduce. When the tempering
temperature of the HSS reaches 525C, the hardness is at its peak value. Maximum hardness can
be obtained through tempering twice. The hardness decreases after tempering three times.
4. By using extrusion cast HSS rolls in the prefinishing train of a high speed wire rod rolling mill,
its service life is five to eight times higher than that of high Ni-Cr rapidly chilled cast iron rolls.