The near surface area of forging dies is exposed to high mechanical loads. Additionally thermal and chemical stresses appear during the hot forging process. Depending on the number of forged parts, several kinds of stresses occur in the near surface area, which lead to the initial failures of forging dies. Wear is the main reason for production downtimes with a ratio of 70%. Furthermore, thermal and mechanical cracks are typical causes for failures causes as well as plastic deformation. In order to reduce wear, the abrasion resistance of the forging die surface has to be increased. Hence, different methods like plasma nitriding and optional additional thin hard coatings (TiN, TiCN, TiC, TiBN and TiB2) were successfully examined. Recently developed Ti–B–N coatings in specific multilayer designs are thermally stable, wear-resistant and anti-adhesive regarding the sticking of work piece material. This paper presents the wear reduction possibilities of boron-containing multilayer coating systems applied to forging dies by using the plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition treatment. A basic mechanical and analytical characterization of different coating systems is realized in the first stage of the project. Best qualified multilayer coating variants were applied to forging dies for experimental investigations. As a result of the tests, wear can be reduced significantly by using thermally stable boron multilayer coatings. To receive realistic wear values under production conditions, an automated forging process was used for testing. After 3,000 forged parts, the coatings were examined by tactile measurement, SEM and EDX analyses to characterize the occurring wear.
PACVD Coating design Multilayer Hot forging Wear resistance Cracks