Things to Consider When Choosing a Tool Steel Grade

October 21, 2020

Manufacturing industries that are involved in making different types of cutting tools, hand tools, machine dies, and others typically maximise the properties of tool steels. Tool steels are carbon alloy steels that are known for their hardness, abrasion resistance, and ability to retain shape at high temperatures. Most of these materials are produced through different heat treatment processes.

Not all tool steels are created equal. Tool steels can be classified into various grades, with some of them boasting increased resistance to corrosion and damages due to the presence of certain elements. Some common elements that are present in tool steels are tungsten, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum.

If you are choosing a suitable tool steel grade for your specific application, the following are some important things that you must thoroughly consider.

Shock and Impact

Some types of tool steels tend to be hard and brittle, which makes them susceptible to fractures once they encounter large impacts. Fortunately, shock-resisting tool steels have a commendable degree of toughness that allows them to withstand shock and impact. One drawback of this type of tool steels, however, is that their overall hardness and wear resistance are slightly diminished. And so, shock-resisting tool steels must only be used for tools that are expected to face large, sudden impacts on their daily applications. Chisels, shears, and hammers can be produced out of shock-resisting tool steels.

High Temperatures

Another thing to consider in choosing the appropriate tool steel grade is the exposure of the tool to high temperatures. You see, most tool steels undergo heat-treatment processes. If ever tool steels are reheated again, then their hardness and wear resistance may deteriorate as it counters the previous heat-treatment process. For high-temperature applications, you must choose hot-work tool steels as they do not lose core valuable properties even if they are exposed to elevated temperatures. Hot-work tool steels are suitable for making casting dies and hot shear knives.

Low Temperatures

Low-temperature applications can also affect the overall properties of a tool. And so, your tool must be made from cold-work tool steels so that they can effectively withstand the damaging effects of low temperatures. This tool steel grade has an increased amount of chromium, manganese, and molybdenum, which saves it from undergoing a rapid quenching process. While the presence of these alloying elements makes cold-work tool steels more expensive than others, they still help these tool steels to achieve good mechanical properties. Cold-work steels are great for punches, dies, and gages.

High-Speed Levels

There are several tools that will be utilised under fast movement and operation. And with the wrong tool steel grade, you can expect your tool to gain decreased hardness and wear resistance. Additionally, your tool would wear quickly as soon as it is used in high-speed applications. To prevent these situations from happening to your tools, you must fabricate them with high-speed tool steels since they possess high wear resistance and resistance to high temperatures. High-speed tool steels can be used in making drill bits, pump components, and cutting blades.

Choosing a tool steel grade for your set of tools must be generally based on these elements. If you need help with fabricating tools, feel free to contact us at Gunna Engineering.


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