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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Your Guide to Industrial Steel: Tool Steel and its Uses and Grades

Tool steel is a carbon alloy steel that is useful in manufacturing the tools. These tools can range from machine dies to hand tools. The properties that make it ideal to be used for tool manufacturing is its toughness and resistance to abrasion. It is the industrial steel that is used in heated conditions. This way it gets even more tough.

Many grades of tool steel offer resistance to corrosion. It is because they have additional chemical properties such as vanadium. On the other hand, manganese content gets curbed in some of the grades. It is to avoid the chances of cracking of steel during the water quenching process. In the case of some grades, you can use oil to quench the material. You must keep following factors in mind while choosing tool steel grade.

  • Does it require sharp cutting?
  • What type of heat treatment is best?
  • Is abrasion resistance at the top in your list?
  • Does the tool have to get through impact loading (hammers and picks, etc.)?

Tool steel grades

You are aware of the uses of tool steel now and you also got the introduction of the grades of this industrial steel above. Hence, in this section, let's learn about tool steel grades in detail.

Water hardening (W-grades)

It is high carbon steel. This type of steel flat bar comes at lower cost. However, you cannot use it at the places where temperatures are high. You can make this steel highly hard, but it tends be fragile in comparison of other tool steels. Water quenching process is ideal for all W-grade steels. It can help you mold it easily. The applications of this steel ranges from manufacturing cutting tools and knives to cold heading, embossing, reamers and cutlery.

Air hardening (A-grades)

This type of steel is very versatile. You can use this steel for different purposes as it shows low distortion during the heating treatment. It is because it has increased chromium content in it. The other characteristics of this steel is that it has a good balance of wear resistance and its machinability is excellent. This type of steel sheet is tough as well.

The application areas of A-grade tool steel are; Die Bending, Blanking, Coining, Embossing, Arbors, Cold Trimming, Gages, Cams, Cold Forming, Lamination, Cold Swaging. It is also useful in manufacturing Chipper Knives, Cold Shear knives, Woodworking Knives, Lathe Center Knives.

D type (D-grades)

This grade of tool steel is high chromium and high carbon (air-hardening). The main features of this steel are air-hardening and it is also abrasion resistance. This industrial steel is commonly used for forging dies, die blocks, die casing and drawing dies.

Some other uses of this tool steel is in Burnishing Tools, File Cutting, Paper Cutters, Cold Swaging, Thread Roll, Cold Trimming. It is also used in manufacturing Paper Knives, Rotary Slitters, Cold Shear Knives and Woodworking Knives.

Oil hardening (O-grades)

Oil hardening tool steel is used for general purposes. It has all the qualities from hardness to abrasion resistance that make it useful for a wide range of applications. Drill Bushing, Gages, Collets, Die Blanking, Arbors, Bushing, Chasers (Thread Cutting), Cold Forming, Cold Trimming, Knurling Tools are some of the application areas of this steel.

Shock resistance types (S-grades)

It is the type of steel that can resist shocks at high or low temperatures. You have to make sure that the low carbon content of it reaches the required toughness. This type of industrial steel has high impact hardness. However, its abrasion resistance is low.

The uses of S-grade tool steel are in Chisel Cold Working, Chisel Hot Working, Chuck Jaws, Clutch Parts, Battering Tools, Cold Swaging, Hot Swaging, Hot Trimming, Boiler-Shop Tools, Chisel Blacksmiths, Collets, Cold Gripper, Hot Gripper, Chipper Knives, Cold Shear and Hot Shear.

Hot-Working (H-grades)

This type of tool steel is useful in cutting material at high temperatures. The characteristics of this industrial steel is that it is tough enough to deal with the high temperatures for a long period of time. This type of steel is high on additional alloys and low in carbon.

Hot Extrusion for Aluminum and Magnesium, Cold Heading Die Casings, Die Casting Dies and Cores for Zinc and Aluminum, Hot Forging, Hot Swaging, Hot Trimming, Hot Gripper, Dummy Blocks (Hot Extrusion) and Hot Shear Knives.

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