An Improved Procedure for the Quality Control of Sintered Carbide Tips for Mining Applications, Based on Quantitative Image Analysis of the Microstructure
Conical picks are tools that treat surfaces used in mining. Due to a wide variety of such tools, they need to characterise in diversified geometrical and material parameters, as well as durability. For the mining sector, evaluation of the conical picks is performed in order to verify their agreement with the manufacturer's declaration, as well as with the requirements of the user. One of the whole research procedure elements is a qualitative and quantitative analysis of a pick tip made of
... ed carbide (tungsten carbide–cobalt; WC-Co). It is currently carried out when the recipient is accepting such picks or when a complaint is made. In this case, it is important to propose such a research and control procedure that will make it possible to determine the quality of the applied material for pick tips in a straightforward, repeatable, and objective way. This article presents the results of investigations made on tips coming from four different types of conical picks. The tips' hardness and density were measured, as well as WC grains which were characterised using two kinds of measurements (automated linear-intercept method and semi-automated planimetric methods). The measurements of the WC grains were conducted on microstructure images recorded using a light microscope. The performed investigations made it possible to compare tips and refer the results to those of other scientists' studies. The final effect is a proposal of a specialised procedure examining picks, especially their tips, made of sintered carbides. This is important for the evaluation of the tips' quality in light of the requirements of the relevant norms and the needs of the users from the mining and extractive sectors.