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Thermal treatment – procedure
Aluminium castings are treated thermally to achieve better mechanical properties. For this purpose parameters of the thermal treatment process and stable operation of the furnace are of great importance.
After thermal treatment test tubes are manufactured to measure mechanical properties in accordance with the control procedure for individual pieces. Test samples are labelled in accordance with the stadard operation procedure (SOP) – sampling, sample labelling and result entering after thermal treatment.
Most frequently thermal treatment T6 is performed to achieve the best mechanical properties of individual alloys. Considering customers' requirements thermal treatment according to procedure T4, T5 could also be performed.
Thermal treatment of aluminium castings T6 is a three-step procedure:
Step 1: solution treatment at high temperature in the furnace Otto Junker at a prescribed temperature profile (temperature and time) for individual types of castings; during heat treatment crystal grains are reduced, chemical homogenisation of castings occurs and consequently the microstructure of the casting is improved.
Step 2: immersion into water (quenching, annealing) immediately after the process of heat treating, which is conducted automatically in the furnace Otto Junker; at quenching the casting is cooled rapidly, whereby desired microstructure resulting from heating is obtained.
Step 3: aging, conducted in the furnace Končar according to the prescribed temperature profile (temperature and time) for individual types of castings; the purpose of aging is to eliminate residual stress in the casting.