Blog - SurfTech
Our Story  |  Your Story  |  Contact Us
Request a Quote

Blog

American Cutting Edge Achieves a Million Cuts with SurfTech

American Cutting Edge of Centerville, Ohio is a leading industrial razor blade and knife supplier for various manufacturing needs. They specialize in industrial machine knife manufacturing and supply both custom and stock blades.

“In my world, a blade coating offers life extension, and that offers a whole new level of customer service for my customers,” says Erin Belangia-Sanchez, product manager for Food Processing, Packaging, and Flooring Divisions at American Cutting Edge. “SurfTech is an arrow in my quiver of solutions.”

Belangia-Sanchez prefers to coat the industrial knives and blades she sells with SurfTech coatings.

“SurfTech even went and developed a food-safe coating for us. If we are going to get a coating in the door at a food processor, it has to be FDA approved. The guys at SurfTech jumped through many hoops to get an FDA approved coating.”

Sharp Blades, Quality Coating

 SurfTech’s coatings can be applied in such a way that the original blade’s sharpness is not compromised.

Not only can SurfTech apply coatings at temperatures below all known annealing temperatures (below 200°F), but they can also do so without biasing the part to be coated.

Most traditional physical vapor disposition (PVD) systems will bias the part to be coated. Bias is when the part is electrified to attract the molecules of the coating. The bias creates a rounded, teardrop effect on the cutting edge, affecting product quality. Most PVD coating houses have to fan the sharp edge, overcoat it, and then regrind it back to sharpness. This re-sharpening increases the chances that blade’s original geometry will be affected.

SurfTech’s process avoids all that because their coatings are applied without bias or high heat. The blade doesn’t ball at the sharpened edge, so there’s no post processing or edge prep needed. You get back what you gave them.

Increasing Cuts from 200K to Almost a Million

An American Cutting Edge customer had a problem that many production lines have probably experienced. Marketing decided to change the coloring of the labels being cut on this particular production line. Unbeknownst to the marketing department, the addition of WHITE ink would cut the life of their packaging knives by less than half. White ink applied to a PET film contains large amounts of titanium to achieve the brilliance of the color. Titanium is a very abrasive material. Immediately, when knife life decreases, your cost per cut increases!

The $50 a knife used to cut the white-inked PET film suddenly had to be replaced five times as often.

This customer was receiving only 200,000 cuts on the knife, which was made with a D2 metal. D2 is a common material that works well in a multitude of applications. At the advice of American Cutting Edge, the client agreed to a material upgrade of M2 metal. M2’s chemical composition offers better wear capabilities in some applications than D2.

The upgrade to the material of the knife offered the customer 500,000 cuts. The increase in material strength gave them about two times the life.

In addition, Erin offered the customer a coating compliment to the upgraded material: SurfTech 4253. SurfTech 4253 is a multilayer coating which fuses together the ultra-hard coating boron carbide with lubricious moly disulfide.

The upgraded material in combination with the new coating increased the cuts to just under one million cuts. With the expertise of both American Cutting Edge and Surftech, this customer saw a life extension of about 5x their old knives. With that type of customer service and expertise, the sky is the limit!

More Than Just Coatings

Belangia-Sanchez recalls a recent challenge that was solved by SurfTech. “I was working on a project for a food manufacturer/bottler. I needed this customer’s knives to be cut down, glued, welded, or bonded together, and then I needed them coated. I have Asian manufacturers in my supply chain. I was going to have to explain to someone in Asia this entire process, which can be daunting with the translation and trial and error that would have needed to take place”

With the attention to detail and face-to-face communications, SurfTech understood exactly what Erin and her client were trying to accomplish. Today, American Cutting Edge simply sends SurfTech the blanks and SurfTech cuts the knives down to proper size, offsets the teeth to the desired pattern, and then bonds and coats them.

“They care about the details and what is important to our customer,” said Belangia-Sanchez. “That kind of customer service is why I keep using them. Why I keep introducing them to other product managers with other knives and other coatings.”

 

Company:

American Cutting Edge

Business:

Manufactures and sells industrial knives

SurfTech Coatings:

SurfTech 4253 (boron carbide/moly disulfide)

SurfTech 3012 (FDA approved for food contact)

Benefits:

Coated below all known annealing temperatures (below 200°F)

No biasing

No regrinding needed

Results:

Doubled life of industrial knife from 500,000 cuts to just under a million

Part of a solution that extended the life of food processing knife by fives times.

Eliminate Unnecessary Change Outs Caused by Sticky Non-Ferrous Materials

Cutting tools stay sharp with SurfTech non-biased coatings

Saying that machining non-ferrous materials is challenging is an understatement. Materials such as aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, and titanium can wreck carbide inserts and round tools.

But you don’t have to put up with that.

SurfTech, an Austinburg, Ohio company, is helping cutting tool users save money and hassle with its unique, low-temperature PVD coatings.

The Destruction of Non-Ferrous Material Machining

Each time you machine a non-ferrous material a bit of the material sticks to your cutting tool. Eventually, the material fills in the flutes of your cutting tool breaking it or the built-up edge prevents the tool from cutting and chips out.

Some think it’s the price you pay for doing business with these metals. But it’s not. Machine shops can extend the life of cutting tools—saving money on tool replacements and lost production from change outs.

Take these examples:

  • At one aerospace manufacturer, an insert would only last through machining one piece. After being coated by SurfTech the insert now lasts twice that time, saving on downtime and tooling costs.
  • Another manufacturer was able to increase the use of its aluminum-cutting round tool to a full 100 hours using the SurfTech 4253 coating, a boron carbide and molly disulfide combination.
  • The SurfTech 4253 coating was added to an M2 industrial knife. The new coating nearly doubled the number of cuts for a single blade from 500,000 to just under one million cuts.
  • Switching the lid of an energy drink can to a new metal and coating the lid with SurfTech’s 3012 FDA-approved coating helped one food manufacturer extend the life of its industrial knives by five times.
  • One cutting tool manufacturer put SurfTech 4253 on its product and increased speeds and feeds by 30 percent.

Why Doesn’t It Stick? The Technology Behind SurfTech Coatings

One of most beneficial features of SurfTech coatings is they prevent non-ferrous materials from sticking to flutes in the first place. SurfTech uses a unique physical vapor disposition (PVD) process that can coat cutting tools at temperatures below 200°F.

Most cutting tools can withstand traditional PVD coating at higher temperatures. However, coating at lower temperatures allows SurfTech to decrease a coating’s coefficient of friction. The lower the coefficient of friction the less force is needed to slide the separate materials across each other. If you use a coating with a higher coefficient of friction it requires more force. At times, the forces in chip removal are not high enough to overcome this friction. When this happens the non-ferrous material sticks to the tool and begins to build up and fill up the flutes.

For example, SurfTech’s most popular coating, SurfTech 4253, a multi-layered boron carbide and molly disulfide combination, has a coefficient of friction of less than 0.1. 

Cutting Tools Stay Sharper Longer, Too

SurfTech’s process is also non-biased. Many coating houses will electrify the cutting tool to attract the molecules of the coating. However, when that happens it rounds out the cutting edge, affecting its ability to cut.  

With SurfTech, the cutting edge maintains its sharpness and original geometry. There’s no post processing or edge prep needed.

Here is a close-up at 500x of a cross section of a razor blade with SurfTech coating at a thickness of 1.5 µm. Notice the excellent uniformity and edge retention.

With SurfTech coatings, you can keep non-ferrous materials from wrecking your cutting tools and reducing those troublesome change outs.

Three-Day Turnaround Promise

SurfTech strives to coat cutting tools within three business days. Give us a call at (440) 275-3356 to request a free trial. We will coat a sample of your cutting tool with the SurfTech coating of your choice at no cost to you!

www.ercsurftech.com

Don’t Change That Blade Every Hour

Ohio company has found a way to make industrial blades last all day

It’s amazing how something that can be as small as a fingernail can cause such havoc on a production line. Industrial blades—from a quarter inch square to up to 24 inches long—are used in modern manufacturing to cut food, rubber, aluminum foils, plastics, Kevlar, and a host of other fibrous and abrasive materials.

You all know that blades are only good when they are sharp. A tiny dull blade is all it takes to cause an unplanned line shutdown so your staff can clear the line, change the blade, and start over.

The irony is that the very abrasive materials they are required to cut can wear down blades so fast that it’s common for manufacturers to purposely SHUT DOWN PRODUCTION LINES EVERY HOUR to change blades—EVERY HOUR!

The downtime alone can cost manufacturers thousands of dollars a year.

Imagine the cost and hassle that could be saved if only blades could stay sharp longer.

Well, one company in Austinburg, Ohio has figured out a way to coat industrial blades so they can last up to 50 times longer.

Using nanotechnology and advanced chemical engineering, ERC SurfTech has developed proprietary coatings that are not only stronger than traditional physical vapor disposition (PVD) coatings but are applied in such a way that the original blade’s sharpness is not compromised.

The secret is combining two patented, cutting-edge technologies: The use of Ion Activation Devices (IAD), and Nanostructured Material Synthesis (NMS)

The ERC SurfTech IAD processing involves proprietary and patented plasma-based devices.

The NMS technology is based on coatings developed over the past 20 years to make state-of-the-art x-ray mirrors and space-qualified patented solid film lubricating films.

IAD and NMS together enable hard, lubricious, smooth, pour-free vacuum deposited coatings at temperatures below all known annealing temperatures (below 200°F).

Most coating houses don’t use elements that are as hard or as lubricious as ERC SurfTech’s.

Titanium is the industry standard for most coatings that are applied to blades. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’ll give it an additional durability of around three.

Most of ERC SurfTech’s coatings, however, are based on the harder boron carbide. On the same scale, it’ll be around a nine, giving, even more, durability and longevity of the blade.

SurfTech is able to use boron carbide because its coatings are built with individual atomic layers at a time. SurfTech uses plasma beams to precisely conform the nanostructures to the surface topography without changing the fine sharp cutting edges on tools.

No regrinding means sharper blade edges—just the way you designed them.

Most traditional PVD systems will bias the part to be coated. Bias is when the part is electrified to attract the molecules of the coating. The bias creates a rounded, teardrop effect on the cutting edge, affecting product quality. Most PVD coating houses have to fan the sharp edge, overcoat it, and then regrind it back to sharpness. This re-sharpening increases the chances that blade’s original geometry will be affected.

SurfTech’s process avoids all that because their coatings are applied without bias or high heat. The blade doesn’t ball at the sharpened edge, so there’s no post processing or edge prep needed. You get back what you gave them.  

Less downtime means more money toward your bottom line.

What difference do ERC SurfTech-coated blades make?

One ERC SurfTech customer now uses PVD-coated industrial razor blades to cut potato chip bags. The original uncoated blades required the line to be shut down every hour so the blades could be changed—that’s eight to ten shutdowns in a single shift. The same blades—now coated with low-heat PVD—only need to be changed at the end of every shift—that’s 10 times longer life.

The bottom line is that not every coating is the same. With the right ERC SurfTech coating, you can keep those machines running and eliminate the hassle of blade changes.

ELIMINATE THE HASSLE OF BLADE CHANGES—TRY A FREE TRIAL WITH SURFTECH!

Call us at (440) 275-3356 to request a free trial. We’ll coat a sample of your blades with the ERC SurfTech coating of your choice at no cost to you!

State-of-the-Art PVD Coating Engineering


State-of-the-Art PVD Coating Engineering

The next generation of engineered material PVD coating treatments is now available from SurfTech. Our physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings are available on all types of electrically conducting materials and surfaces including all traditional tool and wear component substrates.

Plus, for the first time!

All electrically non-conducting materials can be PVD coated including:

· composites,
· cermet,
· silicon nitride,
· black ceramic,
· silicon carbide,
· pure alumina,
· PCD and
· CBN.

SurfTech’s surface coatings are nano-structured, multi-material, high-density films and they are deposited well below 200°F/93.3°C.

Nanotechnology: The Secret to Low-Temperature PVD Coatings

These achievements are routine to us. They are made possible by combining two patented cutting-edge technologies:

1. Ion Activation Devices (IAD), and

2. Nanostructured Material Synthesis (NMS)

The SurfTech IAD processing involves proprietary and patented plasma-based devices.

The NMS technology is based on coatings developed over the past 20 years to make state-of-the-art x-ray mirrors and aerospace quality, space-qualified patented solid film lubricating films.

Together, IAD and NMS enable hard, lubricious, smooth, pour-free vacuum deposited coatings at temperatures below all known annealing temperatures. There is no change of material hardness or toughness—no matter whether the substrate is bearing steel, PCD, CBN, previously coated tools, brazed carbide, carbides, ceramics or high strength composites.

Coatings are deposited with mean thicknesses from less than 40 micro-inches to greater than 100 micro-inches (1 -3 microns) with +/-5% tolerance which allows us to perfectly replicate the surfaces of components being coated. Corners remain sharp and surface finish is maintained with no distortion.

All these features are obtained without using any heating of the components or any form of electrical bias before, during or after the treatment process.

Reap the Benefits of Low-Temperature PVD Coatings

· Increased Production (Less Changeouts)

· Increased Component Life

· Decreased Cost per Part

· Decreased Downtime

· Decreased Friction

· Decreased Galling

drill bits pvd coating
Substrates Stay in Tact with SurfTech PVD Coating Process

Because SurfTech controls the plasma beam particle energies and number independently, we can put the necessary thermal and chemical energy into the surface treatment process, not into heating the chamber and the bulk mass of the components. SurfTech uses less energy to get this job done and can perform this work on large, small, flat, or round components—in the same batch—without exceeding 180°F. This makes SurfTech processing a significant cost advantage for you.

This unprecedented degree of control results in:

· No annealing of the substrate
· No softening of the substrate
· No warping,
· No bending
· No twisting

Nothing happens in our PVD coating process to affect the dimensions of your component.

Since the nanostructured treatment is built with individual atomic layers at a time, SurfTech has a higher degree of control over treatment thickness resulting in tighter tolerance. SurfTech treatments perfectly conform to the component’s surface because of the controlled use of plasma beams to precisely conform the nanostructures to the surface topography without changing the fine sharp cutting edges on tools or other intricate details designed into the components surfaces. SurfTech treatments keep mirror-like finishes mirror smooth. Our surface treatments preserve our your designs and reflect our respect for your engineering skills by enhancing, not changing.

Surface Treatment with Boron Carbide-based Nanostructures

We, at SurfTech, have been working with boron carbide surface treatments for more than 20 years. Our family of nanostructures based on this material includes two and three species designs. The assisting materials include titanium, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, carbon, molybdenum disulfide, titanium diboride, zirconium and graphitic or tetrahedral carbon.

Range of Treatment Properties:

Type of Process: IAD/ALD

Coating Structure: Mono or Multilayer coating

Coloration of Coatings: Silver, Gold, Gray Black

Thickness of Coating: 1-3 microns

Hardness of Coating: 2800 – 4500 Vickers

Maximum Operation Temp. (C): 800 – 1,200

Coefficient of Friction: 0.1 – 0.4

PVD Coatings for Cutting Applications

This family of surface treatments allows SurfTech to design tool coatings for cutting applications including

· AlSi
· Cast iron
· Steel
· Tool steel
· Bearing alloys
· Stainless steels
· Titanium alloys
· High-temperature nickel alloys

SurfTech’s surface treatments have proven to be effective for

· turning,
· milling,
· tapping,
· precision reaming, and
· drilling.

Gain the benefits of low-temperature, multi-layer PVD coating, contact SurfTech at (440) 275-3356.