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How to Choose the Right Tool Coating for Your Machining Application

8th July 2013
How to Choose the Right Tool Coating for Your Machining Application
How to Choose the Right Tool Coating for Your Machining Application
Choosing the correct tool coating is one of the more certain ways of increasing the overall life and reducing the cycle time of the machine application tools.  However, choosing the right tool coating for high production or machining application can unfortunately turn out to be a confusing task, at the best of times. 
An incorrect coating choice can perhaps lead to reduced tool life and may sometimes lead to more problems rather than enhanced solutions.  There is a wide range of tool coating treatments that are available in the market.  Each one of them has its own attributes, like hardness, water resistance, surface lubrication, anti-seizure and oxidation temperature, that play an equally important role in enhancing the productivity of the tools.
Tool coatings for tapping, drilling and hard milling vary from each other in various aspects and are all application-specific.
1. Titanium Nitride (TiN): this general PVD coating helps in increasing the hardness of the tools and is known for its high-oxidation temperature.  It is perfect when used on HSS tools.
2. Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN): the inclusion of carbon helps in adding more hardness and enhanced surface lubrication to the tools.  This is ideal for usage on cutting tools.
3. Titanium Aluminium Nitride (AlTiN or TiAlN): the addition of an aluminium oxide layer provides better high-heat applicability to the tools.  AlTiN generally provides more hardness as against the TiAlN and has a different percentage composition of titanium and aluminium.
4. Chromium Nitride (CrN): this coating makes it a perfect option for BUE situations, where the anti-seizure properties come into play.  This close-to invisible coating can be found on various carbide or HSS cutting tools.
5. Diamond: this CVD coating provides maximum performance when compared to most of the other coating options available in the market.  It is ideal for cutting MMC, graphite, high silicon and other similar materials.  However, diamond coating should not be used for cutting steel, as it generates high heat and, due to chemical reaction, can break the bonds that hold the coating to the surface.
These are some common coating applications that can be seen in various hard milling, tapping, drilling and other machining applications.  Depending upon the usage, identifying the ideal surface coating variety is well worth investing some quality time in.
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