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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! ercsurftech.com