The main aim of this study was to examine the compression-induced state of stress arising in castings of the guide grates during operation in pusher-type furnaces for heat treatment. The effect of grate compression is caused by its forced movement in the furnace. The introduction of flexible segments to the grate structure changes in a significant way the stress distribution, mainly by decreasing its value, and consequently considerably extends the lifetime of the grates. The stress distribution was examined in the grates with flexible segments arranged crosswise (normal to the direction of the grate compression) and lengthwise (following the direction of force). A regression equation was derived to describe the relationship between the stress level in a row of ribs in the grate and the number of flexible segments of a lengthwise orientation placed in this row. It was found that, regardless of the distribution of the flexible segments in a row, the stress values were similar in all the ribs included in this row, and in a given row of the ribs/flexible segments a similar state of stress prevailed, irrespective of the position of this row in the whole structure of the grate and of the number of the ribs/flexible segments introduced therein. Parts of the grate responsible for the stress transfer were indicated and also parts which play the role of an element bonding the structure.
Various examples of the design of cast elements of the equipment used in furnaces for the heat treatment of machine parts are given. Shortcomings in their performance are indicated. Reasons for required stability of equipment are briefly discussed. Elements of equipment illustrate the possibilities of using a charge-carrying pallet with dimensions of 900×600×45 mm as a basis for multi-component technological equipment. Introducing additional elements, such as metal baskets, intermediate pallets or crossbars to the main pallet, it becomes possible to create different configurations of this equipment. The technological equipment presented and discussed here is offered to different plants which heat-treat a wide variety of produced parts. It was found that the reliability and durability of new designed equipment can be checked only during practical use. For large plants dealing with the heat treatment of bulk quantities of parts homogeneous or similar in shape is recommended to use the dedicated tooling.
The lifetime of guide grates in pusher furnaces for heat treatment could be increased by raising the flexibility of their structure through, for example, the replacement of straight ribs, parallel to the direction of grate movement, with more flexible segments. The deformability of grates with flexible segments arranged in two orientations, i.e. crosswise (perpendicular to the direction of compression) and lengthwise (parallel to the direction of compression), was examined. The compression process was simulated using SolidWorks Simulation program. Relevant regression equations were also derived describing the dependence of force inducing the grate deformation by 0.25 mm ‒ modulus of grate elasticity ‒ on the number of flexible segments in established orientations. These calculations were made in Statistica and Scilab programs. It has been demonstrated that, with the same number of segments, the crosswise orientation of flexible segments increases the grate structure flexibility in a more efficient way than the lengthwise orientation. It has also been proved that a crucial effect on the grate flexibility has only the quantity and orientation of segments (crosswise / lengthwise), while the exact position of segments changes the grate flexibility by less than 1%.
The results of research on the effect of the type of cooling agent used during heat treatment and thermal-chemical treatment on the formation of temperature gradient and stress-deformation distribution in cast pallets, which are part of furnace accessories used in this treatment, are disclosed. During operation, pallets are exposed to the effect of the same conditions as the charge they are carrying. Cyclic thermal loads are the main cause of excessive deformations or cracks, which after some time of the cast pallet operation result in its withdrawal due to damage. One of the major causes of this damage are stresses formed under the effect of temperature gradient in the unevenly cooled pallet construction. Studies focused on the analysis of heat flow in a charge-loaded pallet, cooled by various cooling agents characterized by different heat transfer coefficients and temperature. Based on the obtained temperature distribution, the stress distribution and the resulting deformation were examined. The results enabled drawing relevant conclusions about the effect of cooling conditions on stresses formed in the direction of the largest temperature gradient.
By the very nature of their work, castings used in furnaces for heat treatment and thermo-chemical treatment are exposed to the effect of many unfavorable factors causing their deformation and cracking, significantly shortening the lifetime. The main source of damage are the micro- and macro-thermal stresses appearing in each cycle. As the cost of furnace instrumentation forms a significant part of the total furnace cost, in designing this type of tooling it is important to develop solutions that delay the damage formation process and thus extend the casting operation time. In this article, two structural modifications introduced to pallets castings to reduce thermal stresses arising at various stages of the cooling process are proposed. The essence of the first modification consists in making technological recesses in the wall connections, while the aim of the second one is to reduce the stiffness of the pallet by placing expanders in the external walls. Using the results of simulation analyses carried out by the finite element method, the impact of both proposed solutions on the level of thermal stresses was evaluated.
The purpose of this study was to establish a relationship between the type of wall connection used in the cast grates, which are part of the equipment operating in furnaces for heat treatment and thermal-chemical treatment, and stresses generated in these grates during the process of rapid cooling. The places where the grate walls are connected to each other are usually characterized by the thickness larger than the remaining parts of walls. Temperature variations in those places are responsible for the formation of hot spots, and in the hot spots temperature changes much more slowly. The type of wall connection shapes the temperature gradient in the joint cross-section, and hence also the value of thermal stresses generated during cooling. In this study, five different designs of the grates were compared; the difference in them was the type of the designed wall connection. The following design variants were adopted in the studies: X connections with and without holes, T connections with and without technological recesses, and R (ring) connection. Numerical analysis was performed to examine how the distribution of temperature changes in the initial phases of the cooling process. The obtained results served next as a tool in studies of the stress distribution in individual structures. The analysis were carried out by FEM in Midas NFX 2014 software. Based on the results obtained, the conclusions were drawn about the impact of different types of wall connections on the formation of thermal stresses in cast grates.
Examples of cast grates whose construction was based on previously used "old" patterns of the technological equipment for heat treatment furnaces (TEq) are presented. Manufacturers of this type of castings have at their disposal numerous earlier designs of the applied TEq. Their adaptation for the needs of a new order, i.e. the creation of a new design or modification of the already existing one, significantly reduces both cost and time of the implementation. It also allows making new grate constructions of various shapes and sizes, reducing in this way the number of patterns stored by the manufacturer of castings. The examples of cast grates shown and discussed in this study document the variety of ways that can be used when making them from the already existing patterns or castings. The presented grates were made using master patterns, entire castings or their fragments, and modular segments.
Depending on the course of the processes of heat treatment and thermo-chemical treatment, the technological equipment of heat treatment furnaces is exposed to different operating conditions, as the said processes differ among themselves in the temperature of annealing and atmosphere prevailing in the furnace chamber, in the duration of a single work cycle and in the type and temperature of the coolant. These differences affect the magnitude of stresses occurring in each cycle of the operation of furnace accessories, and thus play an important role in fatigue processes leading to the destruction of these accessories. The kinetics of temperature changes during each cooling process plays an important role in the formation of thermal stresses on the cross-section of the cooled parts. It depends on many factors, including the initial cooling temperature, the type and temperature of the cooling medium, or the dimensions and shape of the object. This article presents a numerical analysis of the effect of the initial temperature on the distribution of stresses on the cross-section of the grate ribs, generated in the first few seconds of the cooling process carried out in two cooling media, i.e. hardening oil and water. The analysis was carried out by the finite element method, based on the results of experimental testes of temperature changes in the rib during its cooling.