Sintered Carbide Strips

Overview of Sintered Carbide Strips

Sintered carbide strips refer to rectangular precision strip metals made from cemented carbides utilizing powder metallurgy methods involving compacting and sintering carbide powders into high performance wear parts. Key attributes include extreme hardness, strength, and corrosion resistance for cutting tools, forming dies,machine part coatings exposed to demanding conditions.

Table 1: Overview of Sintered Carbide Strips

Key AttributesDetails
Typical CompositionWC-Co with grain growth inhibitors
Hardness RangeUp to 1900 HV (64 HRC)
Key PropertiesWear resistance, high strength, hardness at temperature
Manufacturing MethodPressing and sintering carbide powders
Main ApplicationsCutting inserts, punching dies, micro drills, nozzles

With tailored cobalt binder systems concentrating ultrahard carbide grains forged together under heat and pressure, sintered carbide strips offer an unrivaled balance of hardness, fracture toughness, and manufacturability vital for modern machining, metalworking, and industrial wear applications.

Understanding attributes around composition, properties, and fabrication processes assists engineers in specifying the optimal grade matching service conditions and production methods.

sintered carbide strips

Composition and Microstructure of Sintered Carbide Strips

Sintered carbide strip products utilize powder metallurgy techniques to fuse fine carbide particles with cobalt binder systems under heat and pressure to achieve unique physical properties unrealizable through other manufacturing processes.

Table 2: Typical Compositions of Carbide Strips

ConstituentRoleWeight % Range
Tungsten carbide (WC) with grain growth inhibitorsPrimary hard phase82-97%
Cobalt (Co) binderBinder matrix3-12%
Tantalum carbide (TaC)Inhibits grain growth0.4-8%
Titanium carbide (TiC)Mixed carbides0-5%
Niobium carbide (NbC)Grain refinement0-2%

The exceptional hardness stems from extensively fine, interlocked tungsten carbide grains dispersed uniformly through the cobalt matrix. Meanwhile, additions of TaC, TiC, NbC serve to pin grain boundaries preventing uncontrolled grain growth which negatively impacts strength. These compositions are tailored to balance hardness, fracture resistance, and manufacturability for cutting, punching, coining operations.

Understanding microstructure evolution during liquid phase sintering assists engineers in optimizing custom alloys for customer needs regarding wear performance in specific sliding, rolling, or impact service conditions. Carbide grain size, shape, and volume fractions represent key tuning levers.

Properties of Sintered Carbide Strips

Thanks to an optimized balance between hard carbide phases resisting wear coupled with tougher cobalt matrix that limits crack propagation, sintered carbide strips offer a unique combination of properties otherwise unattainable.

Table 3: Overview of Sintered Carbide Strip Properties

PropertyContributing FactorsTypical Values
HardnessUltrafine WC grains, inhibitorsUp to 1900 HV (64 HRC)
Transverse rupture strengthCobalt content, porosity levels500-2000 MPa
Fracture toughnessCobalt mean free path, grain size8-30 MPa-m^1/2
Young’s modulusRelative density, phase composition500-700 GPa
Corrosion resistanceCobalt/carbide ratio, porosityResists most inorganic acids, bases, and salts
Max service temperaturePhase changes, oxidation resistance500-800°C in air

These attributes satisfy demanding production conditions encompassing high machining forces and temperatures seen in cutting tools plus the repetitive impact stresses when punching or stamping intricate geometries in hardened steels up to 62 HRC.

By tailoring powder composition and pressing parameters before sintering, carbide strips can be customized towards an optimal balance of hardness, strength, and fracture resistance required by the operating environment. These capabilities facilitate substantial performance gains and longer service life over conventional tooling materials.

Production Process for Carbide Strips

Sintered carbide strips leverage powder metallurgy compaction followed by liquid phase sintering to deliver exceptional hardness and strength over competing metal cutting, punching, and wear solutions.

Table 4: Overview of Carbide Strip Production Methods

StageDetailsParameters
Powder mixingCarbides + cobalt powdersChemistry, powder size distribution
CompactionUniaxially pressed in diesPressure of 1-4 tons/in2
DewaxingThermally remove bindersTime, temperature, atmosphere
SinteringHeat to fuse powder particlesTemperature, time, atmosphere control
Post-processingGrinding, hone edgesSize and surface tolerance

By tailoring the powder chemistry, pressing behavior, dewax approach, sintering cycle, and post-processing steps, the microstructure of sintered carbide components evolve dramatically impacting resultant hardness, wear performance and service life in cutting, punching, coining applications.

For example, higher compacting pressures increase densification rates during sintering by facilitating easier binder escape while improved powder flow characteristics help completely fill dies for maximum green density. Understanding connections between processing routes, microscopic structure evolution, and macroscopic properties empowers proper alloy and sinter recipe selections delivering optimal customer results.

Grades and Classifications of Carbide Strips

With different compositions tailored towards distinct machining, metal forming, and wear environments, numerous carbide grade options have emerged classified by properties like hardness, toughness, grain size, or cobalt binder ratio. Common systems include:

Table 5: Classifications of Sintered Carbide Strips

Grade ClassCompositionsKey FeaturesTypical Uses
C1–C4Mixed carbides with low CoExceptional wear performance for interrupted cutsCast alloys turning/milling
P10-P50WC-Co up to 10% CoHigher fracture resistance and edge toughnessIntricate punching/forming operations
M10-M50WC-Co up to 2% CoUltrafine grain for superior hardness and polishPrecision boring, gear cutting

The C-type grades using mixed carbides resist cyclic load variations seen in rough casting/mold machining, while tougher P class formulations accomodate blanking and punching shock stresses.

Meanwhile, finishing applications utilize super-fine grain M class products where maximizing hardness and attaining mirror surface finish are vital. By mapping customer needs and operating parameters appropriately against available compositions in the marketplace via testing, optimal grade selection delivers dramatically extended operational lifetimes translating into substantial per-part cost savings.

Specifications for Sintered Carbide Strips

Thanks to wide adoption across machining and metalworking industries, various national and international specifications exist guiding consistent manufacturing, testing methods, and quality standards for sintered carbide strip products.

Table 6: Standard Specifications for Carbide Strips

StandardDescriptionRequired PropertiesTest Methods
ISO 513Carbide classifications by composition and grain sizeBinder content, metallographic grain sizeHardness, bending strength, microstructure
ASTM B831North American specification for sintered carbide platesCarbide composition rangesChemistry, apparent porosity, volume change
JIS C 4080Japanese industrial standardGrade compositions, tolerancesTransverse rupture strength, corrosion, microhardness

These standards aim to facilitate customers performing consistent comparisons evaluating factors like:

  • Hardness ranges based on common Rockwell C and Vickers scales
  • Transverse rupture strength correlating with in-service impact stresses
  • Toughness according to various metrologies from Palmqvist crack lengths to fracture mechanics
  • Corrosion resistance against organic chemicals or inorganic bases/acids
  • Metallographic grain sizes, porosity levels, binder pool formation

With Carbide strip products utilized globally across critical production components, standard methods and quality conformance drive improved consistency, performance benchmarking, and ultimately end-user value creation.

Uses and Applications of Carbide Strips

Thanks to an exceptional balance of hardness, fracture toughness, and corrosion resistance all attainable in geometrically complex shapes using powder metallurgy techniques, sintered carbide strip solutions empower radical performance gains across cutting, punching, and high speed machining arenas.

Table 7: Common Applications for Carbide Strips

CategoryUsesBenefits
Cutting toolsSaws, drills, lathe toolingIncreased productivity in alloys
Metalforming diesProgressive, fineblankingLonger life for complex geometries
Wear partsNozzles, drawing diesSuperior abrasion/erosion resistance
Micro toolsEndmills, routersScale intricacy and precision

While various industries leverage sintered carbides, some notable niche use cases where carbide strips generate tremendous value encompass:

  • Enabling miniaturized medical components like stents, valves, actuators in biocompatible grades
  • Unlocking up to 20X productivity gains machining exotic alloys for aerospace engines and airframes
  • Supporting high capacity automotive panel stamping operations through rapid die changes
  • Improving reliability of oil drilling equipment via enhanced downhole sensor packages
  • Achieving mirror surface finishes across rolling and slide bearings used in high-end automobile powertrains and performance transmissions

In each situation, exploiting the extreme hardness and tailored cobalt toughening strike the ideal economic balance between operational life and requisite quality or complexity demands currently unattainable with traditional cutting materials.

sintered carbide strips

Suppliers of Sintered Carbide Strips

With applications for cemented carbide strip products spanning industries from semiconductors to automobiles to oil exploration, numerous specialized producers offer wide-ranging capabilities globally. Aside from industry leaders, smaller regional experts offer extensive customization services across carbide grade selection, geometry, post-processing, and coating services.

Table 8: Major Sintered Carbide Strip Companies

SupplierProduct SectorsProduction Capabilities
SandvikInsert grades, round toolsAdvanced nano-structured grades, custom geometries
CeratizitIndexable inserts, cutting toolsComplex 6-sided geometries, quick turn tooling concepts
Tunco ManufacturingPunching/forming, stampingRapid prototyping, short run production
Precision CarbideCNC cutting inserts, router bitsAdvanced cermet and whisker reinforced compositions
Mid-America CarbideOil/mining components, wear surfacesLarge custom rectangular geometries

These leading producers offer extensive strip dimension ranges spanning fractions of a millimeter for micro drills and miniature components up to over 500 mm lengths for large indexable inserts servicing heavy roughing cuts. Rectangular widths from under 1 mm to beyond 300 mm also accommodate tiny electrical discharge machining components up to substantial press and form punching elements. With vertical markets constantly evolving metalcutting requirements and innovations around tool geometries, coatings, and custom holder solutions, continued partnerships between customers, carbide producers, equipment OEMs proves vital for advancing performance.

Cost Analysis

Thanks to engineered compositions and tight tolerances, sintered carbide strips sell for many multiples over standard tool steel or stainless steel used for conventional cutting and punching applications. However costs per fabricated part remain highly competitive given significantly longer operational lifetimes in production environments.

Table 9: Price Considerations for Sintered Carbide Strips

ParameterPriceCommentary
Carbide strip blanks$40-200 per kgScaling with grade, hardness, cobalt content
Insert blanks$2-10 per in2Geometry and size considerations
Final machined inserts$4-30 per insertTighter tolerances command premium
Relative lifetime advantageUp to 20x over tool steelReduces cost per hole drilled or parts stamped

For example:

  • Custom rectangular grades for aerospace customers in small batches present costs nearing $150-200/kg.
  • Meanwhile larger batches of standard insert geometries in well-established C2-C5 grades range $50-80/kg.
  • However, inserts lasting for for example 1000 holes versus 50 holes with tool steel inserts support 8-10x productivity upside per cutting edge, rapidly offsetting higher initial carbide material prices.

By actively mapping detailed cost drivers against value opportunities on parameters like per hole drilled/ stamped part costs compared to current solutions, sintered carbide strips readily justify investments thanks to order of magnitude gains in longevity and associated productivity. Ongoing improvements across powder quality and tool design also continue driving economic advancements over incumbent options across manufacturing sectors.

Future Outlook for Carbide Strip Adoption Trends

Ongoing advances developing tailored powder compositions around manipulated carbide grain sizes and cobalt ratio tuning coupled with innovations in geometries/coatings for custom toolholder solutions points toward an upswing in adoption rates across durable goods manufacturing sectors over the next 5-7 years.

In particular, market analysts predict carbide strip volumes expanding over 7% CAGR globally through 2025 with above average uptake anticipated across aerospace, medical devices, automotive, and energy industries. This uptrend coincides with higher complex, exotic metal usage plus demand for improved productivity and precision in metal cutting/forming operations.

However, price instability around constituent cobalt in formulas paired with energy and transportation cost spikes may momentarily slow growth rates for commoditized lower tier carbide inserts segments catering to general engineering users.

Leading experts encourage domestic raw material production including rare earth mineral refining and independent cobalt sources to hedge against supply chain uncertainties. Cooperatives between manufacturers, government labs, and universities also seek to lower end-user adoption barriers around design, prototyping, testing, and qualification efforts vital for specialized strips displacing conventional tooling.

FAQ

Q: What coating options exist for carbide strips and what benefits do they offer?

A: Common coatings add wear protection, higher lubricity, or heat resistance. Top options include titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN), titanium nitride (TiN), and diamond-like carbon (DLC) applied via PVD or CVD methods.

Q: What causes cracks in carbide strips and how can they be prevented?

A: Fractures stem from tensile stresses exceeding material strength. Triggers involve mechanical or thermal impacts, fatigue, or corrosive environments. Modulating cobalt content, grain sizes, geometry, and operating conditions preserves toughness.

Q: How weldable are carbide strips using common methods?

A: Carbide cannot be fusion welded. Brazing offers an alternate joining approach for carbide strips using high silver content alloys. Fit-up, joint cleanliness, and process atmosphere control are vital.

Q: What are recommended best practices for machining carbide strips?

A: Rigid setups with sharp tooling and abundant cooling minimizes edge chipping. Slower speeds with positive rake tools and stepped roughing approaches also yield better finish and accuracy over brittle grades.

Q: What industries show the greatest growth potential for carbide strip adoption?

A: Aerospace, medical devices, die mold sectors demonstrate tremendous expansion prospects thanks to expanding usage of difficult exotic alloys combined with rising quality and precision demands unattainable with conventional tooling.

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