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A recurring piston shaft failure problem on the billet-loading tray of an extrusion press was investigated. Two shafts fractured within a period of 10 days. The shaft was machined from normalized EN3 (AISI C1022) steel stock without further treatment. Visual, microstructural, chemical, and mechanical (hardness and tensile properties) analyses of failed shaft specimens were conducted. The examinations showed that the shafts had failed by fatigue. It was recommended that a low-alloy steel (e.g., 3% Ni-Cr) in the hardened and tempered condition and subjected to shot-peening surface-hardening treatment be used. The provision of a stop to reduce bending stresses was also recommended.

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