In today’s competitive market, hydraulic component manufacturers are constantly faced with the task of making parts better, faster and cheaper. Converting from carbon steel to continuous cast ductile iron can help accomplish this goal. Axiom Hydraulics can assist through the supply of continuous cast iron bar from world leader, Dura-Bar. This offers superior performance and significant cost savings.
Dura-Bar’s continuous cast ductile iron bar is a cost-saving alternative to low-medium carbon steels. It has similar strengths but with superior machinability and without the defects associated with sand castings or steel bar stock. Parts can be machined much faster than with free machining steels. Hydraulic part manufacturers can increase machine capacity dramatically − lowering machining costs and improving profitability. Those who have made the switch typically profit by:
• Reducing total part cost by up to 40%.
• Increasing machine capacity between 10% and 40%.
• Extending tool life up to two to three times that of steel and other iron products.
Using continuous cast ductile iron bar stock in lieu of free machining steels typically reduces cycle times by 25-50% while extending tool life. Dura-Bar’s advantage over steel is particularly significant where sophisticated CNC equipment is used for parts requiring multiple operations.
Dura-Bar’s enhanced noise and vibration damping, thermal conductivity and wear resistance are due to the graphite in the material, which cushions vibrations as they are transmitted through the part. This provides the same benefits as lead, without creating the machining and waste disposal problems. Graphite contained in the ferrous metal matrix acts as a chip-breaker, dissipating heat and reducing tool-wearing friction between the work piece and the insert. Therefore, gears and other components made from Dura-Bar ductile iron will be quieter than those made from steel, while maintaining the required dimensional tolerances and surface finishes.
Virtually every gear or other metal component in moving machinery makes some degree of noise. The vibration damping characteristics of Dura-Bar can be a real benefit in any application that involves moving parts. One customer used Dura-Bar for a balance shaft gear and achieved not only quieter operation, but also a lower cost to produce the gear. Other prime applications which take advantage of Dura-Bar’s vibration damping include noisy equipment such as machine tools, printing presses and textile machinery.
Another hydraulic manufacturer that has benefited from using continuous cast ductile iron bar stock is Hydro/Power, located in Birmingham, Alabama. “The machinability is a real plus for us,” says John Robertson, vice president of manufacturing. “We’ve been able to get our speeds and feeds up to a point where we’re getting some dramatic improvements in cycle times. One of the glands that we manufacture requires a lot of profiling, grooving and threading. By using continuous cast ductile iron bar stock we’ve managed to reduce the cycle time for one part from 15 down to six minutes. This has resulted in some significant cost savings for both us and our customer.”
Using continuous cast ductile iron bar stock has also helped eliminate the need for additional operations. “Because Dura-Bar wears so well, we can use it on pistons and glands without having to undercut and add wear rings or brass inserts,“ Robertson adds. “In essence, we’re leaving out a machining step and that saves us even more money.” In addition to superior machinability, another key advantage for Hydro/Power is the reliability of the product. “We’ve been using it for 20 years and we’ve never run into a single piece that was bad,” Robertson adds. “Our scrap factor has been absolutely zero.”
The ability to run continuous cast ductile iron bar stock materials at higher speeds is also confirmed by Sandvik Coromant, a leading manufacturer of machine tooling. “Where these materials replace steel components the advantage is increased speeds and feeds due to greatly improved machinability,” says grade development specialist, Roger Grey. “We tell our customers to automatically increase the machining speeds specified in our catalogue by 20% when they’re running continuous cast ductile iron bar stock compared to other irons.”
He adds that even higher speeds can easily be achieved due to the excellent structural consistency of the material. “Also, Dura-Bar’s excellent surface finish and lack of porosity make it especially well suited for hydraulic applications. The structural integrity is just so good that the normal data associated with machining comparative irons made by other casting processes just doesn’t apply,” he concludes.
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