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Carbide Cutting Tools

6/15/2012 4:38:56 PM | by Anonymous


Cutting tools play a very important role in the manufacturing industry as they would determine the quality of a finished product. The performance of a cutting tool directly affects a machines’ productivity if they are attached to a cutting machine. Manufacturers take into consideration several factors that concern the effectiveness of cutting tools before purchasing cutting tools for their machining systems. Some of these factors can be that the tool has to have the ability to withstand rigorous operating conditions, perform at very high speeds, resist wear and tear, and it should not deform while in operation.


As demands for better cutting tools increase, manufacturers of cutting tools continuously reinvent and develop their products to surpass the expectations of their customers. Many materials have been experimented upon to make better cutting tools in the recent years. There are two types of cutting tools widely used in the machining industry: high speed steel cutting tools and carbide cutting tools. However, carbide cutting tools are preferred over high speed steel cutting tools by many manufacturers.


Carbides are compounds of carbon and many other metals, boron, and silicon. The strength of the carbide depends upon which element is chemically joined with. Tungsten carbide, which is an alloy of tungsten and carbon that are combined usually in equal parts, is one of the most popular materials available for tool manufacturing. The combination of the two metals results in a fine grey powder which can then be used to manufacture industrial tools. Some examples of such tools include end mills, taps, drills, thread mills and reamers. Carbide has several advantages as compared to other materials that are used in the manufacture of tools such as carbide tools which are three times stiffer than those made from steel as they are denser than steel and also titanium. Other examples of carbide compounds can be calcium carbide, aluminum carbide and iron carbide.


In the industry, carbides can be used for a variety of industrial applications. These carbide that are used in industrial applications are referred to as cemented carbide products and can be classified into three grades; wear grades which are usually used in dies and tool guides, impact grades that have a higher shock resistance and can also be used for dies, specifically for stamping and forming and the last being cutting tool grades which are carbide cutting tools used for cutting purposes in the industry.


Carbide cutting tools can be classified into two groups: cast-iron carbides and steel-grade carbides with both having different applications. Cast-iron carbides are specially made to cut cast-iron materials. If regular cutting tools were to be used to cut iron, they would probably wear out faster than using carbide cutting tools. These tools are more resistant to abrasive wear which occurs during the cutting process of cast-iron due to its highly abrasive surface. Therefore, these carbides are able to protect the tool from edge wear. At high cutting speeds, long chips of steel may cause heat deformation and cratering of the cutting tool. Therefore, steel-grade carbides are specifically made to resist this. Despite the different types of carbide used to cut different metals, the main carbide material in these cutting tools is tungsten carbide with cobalt binder. Tungsten carbide has resistance to abrasive wear and is very hard. When added with cobalt, the tool’s surface will further get tough.


There are many benefits of using carbide cutting tools. Some of which are that the tools would be a lot tougher, have exceptional resistance to abrasion, resistance to wear, resistance to cratering, the tools would not succumb to thermal deformations and have great compressive strength. Carbide makes the best cutting tools known to the industry, along with high speed steel cutting tools.

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