Common Attributes of Tool Steels and the Essence of Machining Them

26 September 2022

Various manufacturers use metal materials to produce parts and products needed by different industries. One of the reasons why metals are used by manufacturers is they are malleable. This quality allows them to alter their shape and form factor. Durability is another reason why manufacturers use metal materials in producing a wide array of components.

Some metals, however, boast more qualities that make them recommended for specific needs. Tool steels, for instance, are carbon or alloy steels that are often processed to produce tools and tooling such as cutting tools, hand tools, knives, and dies.

Tool Steels Primary Attributes

Manufacturers use tools steels in producing a wide range of tools and tooling as they boast the following attributes and qualities.

• Wear Resistance: Some metals tend to deteriorate and wear quickly once they are used repeatedly. Tool steels, on the other hand, do not wear out easily. So, despite using these metals numerous times, users can expect them to last for a couple of years. This quality then allows industries to save some valuable resources like time and money.

• High Hardness: Another primary attribute of tool steels that makes them beneficial for industries is high hardness. Somehow connected to the previous attribute, their high hardness allows them to resist abrasion and withstand friction. These properties make products made from tool steel to be safe from surface damage.

• Withstand Heavy Loads: Tool steels can withstand heavy loads, which other metals do not possess. Some products made from tool steel have to process heavy materials regularly. Since they can withstand their weight, industries can expect them to remain intact and retain their shape for a long time.

Given the primary attributes of tool steels, manufacturers can easily process them and provide quality products to various industries. These industries include oil and gas, food processing, medical, petrochemicals, automotive, construction, agriculture, and electronics.

The Importance of Machining

But before these industries can take advantage of tool steels’ primary attributes, manufacturers must process them optimally first. Machining is the process manufacturers should conduct before tool steels can become beneficial to industries.

Tool steels cannot provide benefits to industries if they are left in the plate or bar form. Machining them can, alternatively, yield tool steel parts and products with the right shape and desired dimensions. It can also ensure that these things can boast a smooth surface and a balanced geometry, which cannot be achieved by other processes. As long as they are in the annealed or soft condition, machinists can easily process them into the required tools.

Common Grades of Tool Steel

Nowadays, industries can maximise multiple grades of tool steels. One of these grades is water-hardening tool steels. These tool steels have high carbon composition that can achieve high hardness, making them great for cutting tools, knives, and cutlery. Air hardening tool steels, alternatively, have good machinability, dependable wear resistance, and optimal toughness thanks to their increased chromium content. Some more grades of tool steels include oil hardening tool steels, shock-resisting tool steels, and hot working tool steels.

To find out more about tool steels, you can contact us at Aero Spec Engineering.

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