The aim of this study is to develop a die forging process for producing aircraft components made of magnesium alloy AZ61A using a screw press.
The proposed forging technique has been developed based on the results of a numerical and experimental research. The required forging temperature has been determined by upsetting cylindrical specimens on a screw press to examine both plasticity of the alloy and the quality of its microstructure. The next stage involved performing numerical simulations of the designed forging processes for producing forgings of a door handle and a bracket, both made of magnesium alloy AZ61A. The finite element method based on simulation programme, Deform 3D has been used for numerical modelling. The numerical results revealed that the forgings are free from material overheating and shape defects. In addition to this, the results have also helped determine the regions that are the most prone to cracking. The final stage of the research involved performing forging tests on a screw press under industrial conditions. The forgings of door handles and brackets were made, and then these were tested for their mechanical and structural properties. The results served as a basis for assessing both the viability of the designed technique and the quality of the produced parts.
The experimental results demonstrate that aircraft components made of magnesium alloy AZ61A can be produced by die forging on screw presses. The results have been used to determine the fundamental parameters of the process such as the optimum forging temperature, the method of tool heating, the way of cooling parts after the forging process, and the method of thermal treatment. The results of the mechanical and structural tests confirm that the products meet the required quality standards.
The developed forging technique for alloy AZ61A has been implemented by the forging plant ZOP Co. Ltd in Swidnik (Poland), which specializes in the manufacturing of aircraft components made of non-ferrous metal alloys.
Currently, the global tendency is to forge magnesium alloys (including alloy AZ61A) on free hydraulic presses using expensive die-heating systems. For this reason, the production efficiency of such forging processes is low, while the manufacturing costs are high. The proposed forging technique for alloy AZ61A is an innovative method for producing forgings using relatively fast and efficient machines (screw presses). The proposed forging method can be implemented by forging plants equipped with standard stocks of tools, which increases the range of potential manufacturers of magnesium alloy products. In addition, this technology is highly efficient and ensures reduced manufacturing costs.
Financial support of Structural Funds in the Operational Programme – Innovative Economy (IE OP) financed from the European Regional Development Fund – Project “Modern material technologies in aerospace industry”, No. POIG.01.01.02-00-015/08-00 is gratefully acknowledged.
Gontarz, A., Drozdowski, K., Dziubinska, A. and Winiarski, G. (2018), "A study of a new screw press forging process for producing aircraft drop forgings made of magnesium alloy AZ61A", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 90 No. 3, pp. 559-565. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-11-2016-0238Download as .RIS
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