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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 DOI 10.1002/mawe.

200900529 5

Modern materials for forming and cutting tools – overview


Moderne Werkstoffe fr Umform- und Schneidwerkzeuge – berblick

C. Berger, H. Scheerer, J. Ellermeier

Materials are an ever-changing field of science with high innovation potential. The knowledge
in this subject is fundamental for manufacturing industry. Future products play a decisive role
in choosing materials. With new production and processing technologies the quality of materi-
als was improved significantly. Modern heat treatments and high specialized coatings create
properties, which lead for example to high speed machining with an excellent productivity.
Under these conditions, it is necessary, to develop customized products. This paper presents an
overview of the state of the art of modern materials for forming and cutting tools and depicts
the investigation on tool steels, cemented carbides, ceramics and materials with very high hard-
ness and describes some selected fields of innovation in these fields.
Keywords: Forming and cutting tools / tool steels / cemented carbide / ceramic / coatings / polycrystalline
diamonds / cubic boron nitride /

Werkstoffe sind ein sich stndig verndernder wissenschaftlicher Themenbereich mit hohem In-
novationspotenzial. Fr die verarbeitende Industrie ist die Wissenserweiterung in diesem The-
menbereich von fundamentaler Bedeutung. Die Werkstoffauswahl spielt dabei fr zuknftige
Produkte eine entscheidende Rolle. Mit neuen Produkten und Prozesstechniken wurde die Quali-
tt von Werkstoffen wesentlich verbessert. Moderne Wrmebehandlungen und hoch speziali-
sierte Beschichtungen fhren zu neuen Eigenschaften, die z.B. eine exzellente Produktivitt
durch Hochgeschwindigkeitsspanen ermglichen. Unter diesen Bedingungen ist es notwendig
anwendungsorientierte Produkte zu entwickeln. Dieser Beitrag prsentiert einen berblick ber
den Stand der Technik bei modernen Werkstoffen fr Umform- und Schneidwerkwerkzeuge und
stellt die Entwicklungen im Bereich von Werkzeugsthlen, Hartmetallen, Keramiken, und Werk-
stoffen mit sehr hoher Hrte vor und beschreibt einige ausgewhlte innovative Bereiche.
Schlsselwrter: Umform- und Schneidwerkzeuge / Werkzeugsthle / Sintermetalle / Keramik / Be-
schichtungen / PKD / CBN /

1 Introduction application of high strength steels and of austenitic steels


because of the necessity of light weight construction in depend-
Forming or cutting tools influence the production costs signifi- ence of ecological needs (reduction of fuel consumption, usage
cantly in dependence of their properties as hardness, strength, of bio fuels (can lead to corrosion problems)) [5]. This high
ductility, wear resistance and reliability. The important factors to strength steels influence strongly the sheet metal forming proc-
influence these properties are the material and the surface ess and lead to an increasing wear (abrasion and adhesion) of the
design of the tools. The trend is to develop specialized materials forming and cutting tools. It is necessary to develop tools without
and surfaces with customized properties for each application and with coatings to shield them against the higher wear load.
under the consideration of ecological and economical aspects [1, For the successful development of modern tool materials and
2, 3] and to realize a life tool management [4]. This is one area coatings the detailed analysis of the loads and the causes of the
which is responsible for research and development. failures are very important. In dependence of the analysis it is
Another area is the challenge of forming and cutting tools and possible to improve properties like tool life and cutting speed of
the materials for forming and cutting tools depending mainly the tools, to reduce the wear through defined research activities
from the developments of end products. Significant develop- to reach the technology advantages
ments e.q. in the automobile industry lead to the increasing * high hardness of the surface,
* increased toughness,
* high compressive strength,
Zentrum fr Konstruktionswerkstoffe, Technische Universitt Darm-
stadt, Grafenstraße 2, 64283 Darmstadt, Germany * increased tool life,
* increased wear resistance and
Correspondence author: Dr.-Ing. J. Ellermeier, Zentrum fr Konstruk- * adapted composition and structure of coatings
tionswerkstoffe, Technische Universitt Darmstadt, Grafenstraße 2, and to fulfill the main aims: high process velocity and econo-
64283 Darmstadt, Germany mic efficiency.
E-mail: ellermeier@mpa-ifw.tu-darmstadt.de

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6 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

Table 1. Chemical compositions of typical high speed alloy steel, plastic form steel, cold work steel and hot work steel [6]
Tabelle 1. Chemische Zusammensetzung von typischen Hochgeschwindigkeitssthlen, Kunststoffformensthle, Kaltarbeitsthlen und
Warmarbeitsthlen [6]

Chemical Elements [wt.-%] C Cr Mo Ni V W Co Addition

cold work steel 0.5 – 2.0 1.0 – 12.0 0.5 – 1.5 – 0.1 – 15.0 0.5 – 3.0 – –
X38CrMo16 (e.q. forming tools) 0.33 – 0.43 15.0 – 17.0 1.00 – 1.30 – – – – –
X38CrMo16 + N 0.25 – 0.30 14.3 – 14.6 0.90 – 1.00 – – – – +N
hot work steel 0.3 – 0.5 1.0 – 12.0 a5.0 – a2.0 a9.0 a4.5 –
X50CrMoV5-1 (e.q. paper knifes, 0.50 5.00 1.40 – 1.00 – – –
stamps)
plastic form steel 0.3 – 0.6 1,0 – 16.0 a1.0 a4.0 – – – –
X36CrMo17 (e.q. plastic forming) 0.33 – 0.43 15.0 – 17.0 1.00 – 1.30 f 1.00 – – – –
40CrMnNiMo8-6-2 (e.q. plastic 0.40 1.90 0.20 – – – – 1.5 Mn
forming)
high speed alloy steel 0.55 – 2.5 4.0 – 4.5 2.0 – 5.0 – 3.0 – 5.0 5.0 – 11.0 5.0 – 9.0 –
S6-5-2 (e.q. cold forming or milling) 0.85 – 5.00 – 2.0 6.5 – –

Figure 2. Developments of cutting tool materials in dependence of


Figure 1. Figure 1. Tool materials, historical development [7]. the cutting speed (vc60 = middle cutting speed for cutting a steel with
600 MPa strength) [8].
Bild 1. Werkzeugwerkstoffe, historische Entwicklung [7].
Bild 2. Entwicklungen fr Schneidwerkzeugwerkstoffe in Abhngig-
keit der Schneidgeschwindigkeit (vc60 = mittlere Schneidgeschwindig-
keit fr die spanende Bearbeitung von Stahl mit 600 MPa Zugfestig-
This paper gives an overview about forming and cutting mate- keit [8].
rials and presents some innovative research of the last years in
the fields of:
* tool steels, tools it is necessary to have a certain amount of tungsten to reach
* cemented carbides, a sufficient life time of the cutting tools.
* ceramics, In the dependence of the application as cutting, metal form-
* materials with very high hardness and ing, plastic forming or forging the tools need properties like
* coatings of forming and cutting tools (e.q. dry drilling). hardness, wear resistance, ductility, load capacity at different
temperatures. And on the other hand the production engineer-
ing requires higher productivity through e.q. high speed cutting
2 Tool steels or higher deformation degrees, Figure 1. These are the reasons,
that partly only with diamond, c-BN or ceramic tools or with coat-
Tool steels are according to DIN EN ISO 4957 high quality steels ings on tool steels it is possible to fulfill the today asked demands
which can be divided in dependence of their chemical composi- of a high cutting speed together with economic efficiency, Fig-
tion and properties for different applications into cold work steel, ure 2.
hot work steel, plastic form steel and high speed alloy steel,
Table 1. For shielding against wear in general cold work steels are
2.1 Cold work steels
used. The cold work steels are limited up to 200 8C. Hot work
steels are applied for wear resistance and temperatures up to Cold work tool steels are employed for the manufacture of tools
600 8C and need a high temperature resistance. By plastic form- for applications involving surface temperatures of not more than
ing steel the resistance against corrosive loading is most impor- 200 8C. The cold work steels are structured in unalloyed and
tant and the high speed alloy steel is used for cutting and forming alloyed cold work steels. The alloyed cold work steels have in
applications. These tool steels (from cold work steels to HSS- comparison to the unalloyed steels the advantage an increased
steels) are usable for forming and cutting tools, but for cutting hardness with jominy hardenability. Cold work steel is exposed

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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 Modern Materials for Forming and Cutting Tools – Overview 7

Figure 3. Injection mold for fittings made with the N-alloyed prehar-
dened stainless [12].
Figure 4. Uniform microstructure of the N-alloyed prehardened stain-
Bild 3. Spritzgießmatrizen fr Fittinge aus vorvergtetem, Stickstoff
less steel [12].
legiertem, rostfreiem Stahl [12].
Bild 4. Homogenes Mikrogefge eines vorvergteten, Stickstoff legi-
erten, rostfreien Stahls [12].
to high stresses and requires great resistance against wear,
impact and bending. The development of new steel grades is
mainly guided by analyzing damage suffered by tools in various in the absence of strong nitride formers, such as Ti, V and Nb,
processes. In each area of use, properties are sought which will prone to the rapid precipitation of Cr2N within a broad tempera-
extend the working life of the tool. Different types of wear ture regime. Precipitation kinetics is primarily controlled by Cr
demand different types of steel. Product development is moving diffusion, which is slow at lower temperatures, thus retarding
towards producing more robust steel with higher resistance to nitride precipitation below 500 8C. Nitrogen is most effective as a
wear and greater durability, such as powder metal steel grades strengthening agent, when retained in solid solution, since the
[9]. The critical wear property for stamping stainless steels and precipitation of nitrides has a detrimental effect on tensile ductil-
high strength steels is resistance to chipping, which is related to ity and impact toughness. Nitrogen additions clearly have a bene-
the tool steels impact energy. Traditional tool-steel grades have ficial effect on pitting and crevice corrosion resistance and gener-
several limitations that can prove difficult to overcome with con- ally do not have a detrimental effect in non-pitting environments.
ventional steelmaking techniques. When trying to improve wear The N-alloyed prehardened stainless steel (X38CrMo16 + N) has
resistance of the steels by increasing alloying content, problems an improved thermal conductivity. This improvement primarily
can occur during manufacturing at the mill and when trying to results from the chemical analysis and the very homogeneous
use the alloyed steels in applications where the poor cracking microstructure [12], Figure 4, Table 1.
resistance of the alloys limits their effectiveness. These limita-
tions led to the development of the powder-metallurgy (PM) tech-
2.2 Hot work steels
nique for producing high-alloyed tool steels [10].
High-strength austenitic stainless steels can be produced by Hot work tool steel are typically used in engineering application
replacing carbon with nitrogen. Nitrogen has greater solid-solu- like die casting, extrusion, forging and hot pressing as well as for
bility than carbon, is a strong austenite stabilizer, potent intersti- light alloy processing. To fulfill the requirements for their appli-
tial solid-solution strengthener and improves pitting corrosion cation fields, hot-work tool steels have to possess excellent
resistance. Although the solubility of nitrogen in liquid iron is mechanical and thermo-physical properties like high strength,
very low, 0.045 wt.-% at 1,600 8C and atmospheric pressure, high toughness, good tempering resistance, resistance against
nitrogen levels above 1 wt.-% can be obtained through alloying high thermal stresses, stability in hardening and through hard-
and specialized high-pressure melting techniques. An austenitic ening properties [13], which can be reached through homogene-
stainless steel should be considered “high-nitrogen” if it contains ity and a high degree of purity.
more nitrogen than can be retained in the material by processing New process techniques enable to produce very big tool com-
at atmospheric pressure; for most alloys, this limit is approxi- ponents. In this context hot work tool steels with big dimensions
mately 0.4 wt.-% [11]. are required. Ensuring good tool steel quality and the right
Nitrogen is a very powerful solid-solution strengthening ele- mechanical material parameters, dependent on the heat treat-
ment, and high-nitrogen austenitic stainless steels can have yield ment is a big challenge for tool steel producers and heat treat-
strengths exceeding those of the standard, carbon based, auste- ment providers [14].
nitic grade steels by 200 – 350 %. Yield strengths can be increased Martensitic microstructures including nanometer sized secon-
to additional 300 % through cold work process, Figure 3. How- dary hardening carbides are used to reach high strength today.
ever, high-nitrogen stainless steels are thermally metastable and The microstructure itself is governed by the chemical composi-

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8 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

depend on the overall working temperature, i. e. on the metal


being extruded and on the location of the tool part in question.
The component subjected to the most severe thermal influence
and highest stress is, of course, the die. Other parts which experi-
ence high temperatures are the liner, dummy block and, in the
cases where one is used, the mandrel.

Forging
Forging of steel, aluminum alloys and other non-ferrous metals,
mostly in the hot or warm condition, can be done on various
types of hammers and presses, with open or closed dies depend-
ing on the size, weight, shape and quantity of the final part.
Figure 5. Cogwheels manufactured with pressure die casting [16].
Bild 5. Im Druckgussverfahren hergestellte Zahnrder [16]. 2.3 High speed alloy steels (HSS)
The HSS steels are divided depending of the production technol-
Table 2. Classification of HSS steels according to DIN ISO 11054 ogy and depending of the alloying elements in four main groups:
(E= increased Co and V content) conventional HSS and powder metallurgical (PM) HSS with
Tabelle 2. Klassifizierung von HSS-Stahl in Anlehnung an DIN different Co and V content, Table 2. In dependence of the applica-
ISO 11054 (E=erhhte Co und V Gehalte) tion the tools have different chemical composition, e.q. 6 % W +
5 % Mo (S6-5-2, e.q. driller, milling cutter); 2% W + 10% Mo (S2-
type Code chemical composition
10-1-8, e.q. end milling cutter); 12 % W (S12-1-4-5, e.q. cutting
conventional HSS HSS a 4.5% Co, a 2.6 V chisel), 18 % W (S18-1-2-5 (18 % W, 1 % Mo, 2 % V, 5 % Co, e.q.
HSS-E F 4.5% Co, F 2.6 V cutting chisel, milling cutter)), Table 3.
cemented carbide HSS-PM a 4.5% Co, a 2.6 V The worst case of failures of tools is the crack of the tool [10].
HSS-E-PM F 4.5% Co, F 2.6 V There exist three reasons which cause cracks: abrasive wear,
adhesive wear and surface fatigue. Powder metallurgical pro-
tion and a complex heat treatment consisting of hardening and duced steels offer an increased hardness with a better abrasive
subsequent multiple tempering [15]. wear. For the better wear resistance small and homogeneously,
uniformly distributed carbides are responsible, Table 3, e.q.
Die Casting HS10-2-5-8. The reasons for adhesive wear are localized micro
Pressure die casting offers an economical way of producing large welding points between tool and work material surface. Because
quantities of complex, high-tolerance parts in aluminum, mag- of the moving the welding points are broken and small particles
nesium, zinc, and copper alloys, Figure 5. Demands placed on are disconnected from the surfaces. A low friction coefficient,
high-pressure die casting tool steels are increasing as the result high ductility, high yield strength and hard carbides improve the
of faster cycle times, high alloyed melts and more complicated adhesive wear resistance. The smaller size and uniform distribu-
product features. The ability to withstand thermal shocks and tion of the carbides of powder metallurgical produced steels are
fatigue are the main properties the steel must display. Resistance responsible for the higher ductility. From damage investigations
to wear and corrosion are also important. it is well known that the main reasons for fatigue of HSS-steels
are carbide cluster and non-metallic inclusions. The quality
Extrusion (homogeneity, purity) of the HSS-steels depends for this reason
Hot extrusion of aluminum alloys, other non-ferrous metals and directly from the produced powder and from the production
steel involves the pressing of a hot billet through an aperture of a process of the powder. There are different important steps which
die to produce the required profile. The demands on the tool steel can influence the powder. The gas shielding against oxidation, a

Table 3. Examples of chemical compositions of HSS materials [8]


Tabelle 3. Beispiele fr chemische Zusammensetzungen von HSS Werkstoffen [8]

Elements [wt.-%] C Cr W Mo V Co Si Mn S O Fe

S6-5-2 0.85 – 6.5 5.0 2.0 – – – – – rest


S2-10-1-8 1.1 – 2.1 10.0 1.2 7.9 – – – – rest
S12-1-4-5 1.45 – 12 0.8 3.75 4.75 – – – – rest
S18-1-2-5 0.80 – 18 0.8 1.5 4.75 – – – – rest
HS10-2-5-8 1.63 4.66 10.5 2.00 4.70 7.83 0.30 0.24 0.0023 0.0094 rest
HS10-2-5-8 1.64 4.71 10.2 1.92 4.78 7.81 0.59 0.31 0.0014 0.0066 rest
(optimized powder
production)

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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 Modern Materials for Forming and Cutting Tools – Overview 9

Table 5. Exemplary chemical composition of cemented carbides


and cermets [wt. – %] [8]
Tabelle 5. Exemplarische chemische Zusammensetzung von
Hartmetallen und Cermets [Gew.-%] [8]

Cemented carbides – Carbon Carbides Co/Ni –


Cermets nitrides matrix

P01 (cemented carbide) – 92 8


P10 (cermet) 85.7 0.8 16.7
P20 (cermet) 82.3 1.0 16.7

be used. In the temperature range between 20 8C and 500 8C the


special Nalloyed prehard stainless steel (cold work steel) shows
Figure 6. Thermal conductivity of N-alloyed prehardened stainless an improved thermal conductivity, Figure 6. This improvement
steel and X36CrMo17 (1.2316) [18]. primarily results from the chemical analysis and the very homo-
Bild 6. Thermische Leitfhigkeit von Stickstoff legiertem, rostfreiem geneous microstructure [18], Table 4.
Stahl und X36CrMo17 (1.2316) [18].

constant temperature during the atomization of the powder and 3 Cemented carbides
optimized atomization parameters lead to a reduced grain frac-
tion with lower impurities and increased homogeneity. Espe- These materials are specially developed for cutting tools. The
cially the content of the elements sulfur and oxygen can be cemented carbides are divided in hard metals, which contain
reduced, Table 3. This improved powder is the base for powder only carbides (WC, TiC, TaC, NbC) in a Co or Ni matrix and cer-
metallurgical steel with very low impurities and a very homoge- mets which contain in addition nitrides in a Co or Ni matrix,
neous microstructure and a small grain size. The hardness of Table 5. In comparison with WC cemented carbides the cermets
these materials was 805 HV100 till 834 HV100. have a higher chemical resistance at high temperature and
Through the improvement of the powder production it was higher cutting speed. There exist according to DIN ISO 513 six
possible to reduce the size of inclusions from L 55 lm to groups (P, K, M, N, S, H). These groups indicate the cutting con-
L 25 lm and the amount of inclusions / area from ditions and the application possibilities: P = long chip (steel and
15.56103 Vol.-%/mm2 to 28.56104 Vol.-%/mm2. This improve- cast steel), K = short chip (cast iron), M = mixture (stainless steel,
ment leads to a significantly improvement of the fatigue behav- austenitic steel, duplex steel), N (non iron metals), S (special
iour of HSS-steels about 200 MPa for 2 million cycles. In depend- alloys, e.q. titan), H (hard materials, e.q. hardened steel). The
ence of the reduction of the size of the inclusions the ductility number after the letter describes the wear resistance and the
and the fracture safety increase significantly [17]. toughness. A higher number means lower wear resistance and
better toughness.

2.4 Plastic form steel


3.1 WC-Co – Hard metals (HM)
For plastic form steel mainly cold work steels and hot work steels
are used. Typical plastic form steel is supplied in the hardened The benefits of the powder metallurgical production of the
and tempered condition at approximately 290 HB to 330 HB, cor- cemented carbides are improved cracking and fatigue resistance
responding to about 32 HRC. In this way, a good combination of because of the creation of a refined carbide structure, when com-
machinability, hardness and wear resistance are given by the pared with conventionally produced high-alloy grades or HSS
homogeneous microstructure, causing improved corrosion steels, Table 6. More uniform microstructure leads to a signifi-
resistance too. cant improvement in ductility, Figure 7. This improves cracking
Improvements in productivity lead to a reduction in cycle time and fatigue resistance while at the same time maintains or
during plastics processing. As a consequence, plastic mold steels improves wear resistance. The powder metallurgical process also
with a higher thermal conductivity are required. In dependence allows the steelmaker more freedom in choosing the alloy con-
of the temperature of the application cold or hot work steels can tent of the steel so it can increase and also select carbide forming

Table 4. Chemical composition [wt.-%] [18]


Tabelle 4. Chemische Zusammensetzung [Gew.-%] [18]

Steel C Si Mn P S Cr Mo Ni N

X36CrMo17 0.33 – 0.43 f 1.00 f 1.00 f 0.03 f 0.03 15.0 – 17.0 1.00 – 1.30 f 1.00 –
X36CrMo17 0.27 0.25 0.65 f 0.03 f 0.005 14.5 1.00 0.85 +
(N-alloyed steel)

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10 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

Table 6. Types of cemented carbides [19]


Tabelle 6. Varianten von Hartmetallen [19]

type and properties WC TiC TaC Co

crystal system hexagonal cubic cubic area centered cubic area centered cubic hexagonal
density [g/cm3] 15.7 4.93 14.48 8.9
hardness [HV 0.05] 1,300 – 2,000 3,000 1,800 1,043
E-modul [N/mm2] 696,000 451,000 285,000 209,000
coefficient for thermal expansion [K – 1] 5.2 – 7.3 N 10 – 6 7.74 N 10 – 6 6.29 N 10 – 6 12.3 N 10 – 6
thermal conductivity [J/cm N s N K] 1.21 0.21 0.22 0.165

elements other than chromium, such as vanadium and to realize


a of several carbide types with different size, Figure 8. By doing
so, steelmakers can increase wear resistance while maintaining a
similar or even better cracking resistance and better dimensional
stability during heat treatment, Figure 9. The more uniform
microstructure of power metallurgical produced cemented car-
bides, without the carbide bands in the rolling direction, will
minimize any dimensional changes during heat treatment. A
small and uniform carbide structure that makes cemented car-
Figure 7. Microstructure of a WC-Co cemented carbide [19]. bides easier to grind and yields ground surfaces with smoother
Bild 7. Gefge von Hartmetallen mit WC in Co-Matrix [19]. edges. The potential increase in tool life. Powder metallurgical
produced cemented carbides will reduce maintenance and down-
time costs.
One important development is the use of very fine grains from
nano size. Through the fine grains less than 1.5 lm the hardness
can be improved and with the hardness the bending strength
and the wear resistance increases to the disadvantages of lower
toughness, Figure 10. If a certain toughness is necessary (inter-
mittent cutting), it is possible to improve the hardness and
toughness by a mixture of fine and coarser grains, Figure 9.
Another possibility can be reached by a gradient structure [55].
The sintering process can be controlled in a way that the direct
surface contains a higher Co content. With the higher Co content
the toughness increases only direct under the surface and cutting
process stability and safety (fracture safety) increases signifi-
cantly.
A further increase of the wear resistance can be reached by
additional coatings of cemented carbides, Figure 11. Coatings
like TiN, TiAlN, CrN are state of the art and now e.q. DLC, (Cr,
Figure 8. Microstructure of a mixed cemented carbide [19]. Al, Y)N and ZrC coatings are in the development.
Bild 8. Gefge von gemischten Hartmetallen [19].

Figure 9. Micro structural combination of hardness and toughness through mixture of different carbide types (WC, TiC, TaC) [19].
Bild 9. Kombination von Hrte und Zhigkeit durch die Mischung verschiedener Karbidvarianten (WC, TiC, TaC) [19].

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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 Modern Materials for Forming and Cutting Tools – Overview 11

Figure 10. Physical properties of cemented carbides (WC-Co) [19].


Bild 10. Physikalische Eigenschaften von Hartmetallen (WC-Co) [19].

Table 7. Properties of different cermets [8]


Tabelle 7. Eigenschaften verschiedener Cermets [8]

materials density hardness bending strength compressive strength fracture toughness


[g/cm3] [HV 30] [MPa] [MPa] [KIC/MPa N m1/2]

cemented carbide (WC) (P10) 10.6 1,560 1,700 4,500 8.1


cemented carbide (WC) (P25) 12.5 1,450 2,200 4,600 10.0
cermet (P01-P10) 6.1 1,700 2,000 5,000 6.5
cermet (P10-P25) 7.0 1,500 250 4,600 9.0

3.2 Cermets (ceramic – metal) 4 Ceramics


Cermets are in the structure more complex than cemented car-
The main application field of ceramics is the rough machining
bides but with comparable properties as a mixture form ceramic
and the finishing of cast iron and high temperature resistant
and metal, Table 7, Figure 12. The constituent parts are Ti(C, N),
nickel alloys [20]. To reach a very high cutting speed, low wear
TaC, NbC and WC in a matrix (Co or Ni matrix). This combina-
and high tool life it is possible to use ceramics, Figure 13. The
tion of the constituent parts leads in comparison with cemented
ceramics are divided in oxides, nitrides and carbides with combi-
carbides (WC-Co) to an improved wear resistance and especially
nations, Figure 14.
to an increased chemical resistance at high temperature. This
In the moment there exist three main application fields for
leads to a decreased wear in dependence of diffusion and oxida-
ceramics:
tion [8]. With cermets it is possible to reduce the flank wear and
* As oxide ceramic Al2O3+ZrO2 is used. Al2O3 without ZrO2 is
the crater deepness in comparison with cemented carbides (WC-
very brittle. The addition of fine dispersed ZrO2 increases the
Co) and with coated cemented carbides, Figure 11.
fracture toughness significantly. The oxide ceramic
But the fracture toughness is lower than the fracture tough-
(Al2O3+ZrO2) is used mainly for cutting and chipping of
ness of WC-Co hard metals with a high toughness (e.q. P25).
steels and cast iron. For Al-alloys it is necessary to use other
That means that the application of cermets for intermittent cut-
ceramics because of the chemical load of aluminum oxides.
tings is limited.
* With mixtures of oxides and carbides or nitrides (Al2O3+TiC
The industrial applications are cuttings where the high hard-
or TiN) properties like hardness, wear resistance, thermal
ness of the cutting edges and low adhesion are necessary are nec-
hardness and cutting speed can be improved.
essary, e.q. finishing and roughing of steels with high cutting
* One problem of ceramics is in general the brittleness. With
speeds [20].
Si3N4 the toughness and the thermal properties (thermal

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12 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

Figure 11. Flank wear wideness and crater deepness of cemented car-
bides, coated cemented carbides and cermets in comparison [8].
Bild 11. Vergleich der Verschleißmarkenbreite und Kolktiefe bei Hart-
metallen, beschichteten Hartmetallen und Cermets [8].

Figure 13. Comparison of tool life in dependence of the cutting speed


[8].
Bild 13. Vergleich der Standzeit in Abhngigkeit der Schneidgeschwin-
digkeit [8].

Figure 12. Microstructure of a cermet [19].


Bild 12. Gefge von Cermets [19].

hardness, thermo shock resistance) can be increased up to


1,200 8C. Figure 14. Ceramics [8].
Other possibilities to improve the toughness of ceramics are Bild 14. Keramiken [8].
the embedding of ceramic fibers, mono crystals and platelets.

erties: Diamond has the highest hardness, E-modulus and ther-


5 Materials with very high hardness mal conductivity of all hard materials [20, 23]. However, diamond
exhibits some disadvantages, which are mainly its poor fracture
Materials with very high hardness are defined as diamonds and toughness, high chemical affinity to ferrous materials and ther-
boron nitrides, Figure 15. mal instability beyond 700 8C [24, 25]. Nevertheless they are used
for gas drilling tools and bearings for down-hole oil tools.

5.1 Diamond
5.2 Boron nitride
Diamond tools, i. e. polycrystalline and mono crystalline dia-
mond, are ideal tools for machining non-ferrous materials and C-BN is the second hardest of all known materials, has a high
are widely used in metal cutting, woodworking and construction wear resistance and a high thermal stability – this material is
industry [21, 22], Figure 16. This fact is mainly based on its prop- very promising for a broad range of applications, especially for

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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 Modern Materials for Forming and Cutting Tools – Overview 13

Figure 15. Comparison of different properties of PCD and c-BN.


Bild 15. Vergleich verschiedener Eigenschaften von PKD und c-BN.

Figure 18. C-BN improves the cutting length per tooth (material
X32CrMoV33) [8].
Bild 18. C-BN verbessert die Standzeit pro Zahn (Werkstoff:
X32CrMoV33) [8].

Figure 16. Microstructure of PCD (diamond grains=black, Co cata- and the life time of the cBN tools is corresponding higher. With
lyst=white) [26]. increasing cutting length the cutting force of cermets grows sig-
Bild 16. Gefge von PKD (Diamant=schwarz, Co=weiß) [26]. nificantly but the cutting force of the c-BN stays nearly constant.
The main reasons are the possible tool geometry (lean tools) and
the tribological system (low coefficient of friction).
Cubic boron nitride (c-BN) coatings on cemented carbides can
be produced by physical vapour deposition (PVD) and plasma
activated chemical vapour deposition (PA-CVD) techniques by
intensive ion bombardment. Unfortunately these films are of
high intrinsic stress (lattice defects and binding deformation),
which is limiting its use in industrial applications up to now.
Various attempts have been undertaken to reduce the compres-
sive stress of c-BN thin films [28]. With the attempt of hard coat-
ing buffer layers, e. g. TiN or TiAlN and c-BN-layer system, it is
possible to achieve c-BN layer thicknesses on cemented carbide
cutting tools of more than 1 lm. Concerning the machining test
results with cutting inserts coated with the c-BN layer systems, it
has to be noted that in turning and milling tests the potential of
c-BN layer could clearly be demonstrated [27]. But the adhesion
Figure 17. Poly crystalline c-BN (PKB) improves the service life per of the c-BN-layer systems for intermittent cutting operations has
tooth (material X32CrMoV33) (HM=hard metal, PKB=cubic boron still to be improved. Another attempt in reduction the intrinsic
nitride, VB=flank wear land width) [8]. stress is a concept consisting of a two-step adhesion promoting
Bild 17. Polykristalliner c-BN (PKD) verbessert die Standzeit pro Zahn base layer. The reduction of intrinsic stress can be improved by a
(Werkstoff: X32CrMoV33) (HM=Hartmetall, PKD=c-BN, VB=Vers- compositional-graded nucleation layer, obtained by a stepwise
chleißmarkenbreite) [8].
decrease of the oxygen content in the Ar/N2/O2 atmosphere dur-
ing deposition and a low-stressed c-BN:O top layer with con-
trolled oxygen addition [28], Figure 19. The structural investiga-
cutting tools (milling), both as bulk and as a coating material, Fig- tions of those coatings confirmed that a retarded nucleation is
ure 17, Figure 18. The state-of-the-art is the use of sintered cutting the key for the deposition of several micrometer thick c-BN coat-
inserts with cBN grains. Such c-BN grains are synthesized in an ings. The stepwise (step 1 – 3) structure depends of the condi-
expensive high-pressure – high-temperature process [27]. The tions for c-BN nucleation and results in the gradual adjustment
wear of cBN tools is significantly lower than with cermet tools of the residual properties.

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14 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

Figure 20. Coefficients of friction during reciprocating sliding wear


test varying temperature [33].
Bild 20. Reibungskoeffizienten beim Schwing-Reib-Verschleißversuch
bei unterschiedlichen Temperaturen [33].

Figure 19. Fracture of a Si wafer, coating: oxygen containing c-BN


[28].
as coatings for dry cutting applications. Disadvantages of such
Bild 19. Bruchflche Si-Wafer, Beschichtung: c-BN mit Sauerstoff [28].
coatings, however, are their relatively high E-modulus and their
low adhesion to the substrate material [36, 37].
The newly developed (Cr,Al,Y)N coatings shall eliminate this
6 Coatings of forming and cutting tools drawback. Chromium based alloys are mainly used for the pro-
(e.q. dry drilling) duction of corrosion-, oxidation and heat-resistant alloys [38, 39].
Aluminum forms a thin, corrosion resistant oxide layer when
Since the middle of the nineties, a continuous development in exposed to air. This passivation, however can be disturbed in alu-
metal-cutting manufacturing has been taking place to reduce the minum alloys. Such alloys, in contrast, can reveal high hardness
conventional cooling by liquids to a minimum and, even further, due to precipitation hardening [40]. The transition metal yttrium
to replace by dry processing. Strong influences are efficiency is one of the rare earth elements. In metallurgy, small contents
improvements, the requirements to fulfill tougher legal of yttrium are alloyed to generate a grain refinement. In alumi-
restraints for the usage of operating fluids and an increasing eco- num alloys, it causes an increased hardness. Nitrides, e. g. TiN,
logical awareness [29]. However, this reduced the use of cooling AlN or CrN, are commonly used as hard materials in high tem-
lubricants causes a strong increase in the forces applied to the perature applications. It has been shown that it is of great impor-
cutting tool in operation. tance to the cutting processes that the coating possesses a high
A very effective way to protect the cutting edge from thermal, hardness, high toughness and strong adhesion to the substrate
abrasive and tribo-oxidative attack is by depositing PVD coatings material [41].
to the tool surface [30, 31, 32]. As these only a few microns thick Wear can be defined as a complex mechanism which causes
coatings significantly govern the effectiveness and productivity the degradation of the material surface. Elevated temperatures
of the machining operation it is necessary to optimize these pro- promote surface oxidation which, in turn, causes a material soft-
tective coatings. ening and finally leads to accelerated wear. However, if such an
Previous works at the Zentrum fr Konstruktionswerkstoffe oxide scale is compact and dense, further oxidation can be lim-
and Institut fr Produktionsmanagement, Technologie und ited and the wear rate may be reduced. The surface of high tem-
Werkzeugmaschinen of the TU Darmstadt, Germany, have perature alloys reacts with oxygen to form a protective oxide layer
shown that (Cr,Al,Y)N coatings revealed excellent tribological to prevent further oxidation. The alloying of oxygen-active ele-
performance when exposed to high loads and elevated tempera- ments, e. g. yttrium, can lead to an improvement of the oxidation
tures [33], Figure 20. resistance of materials [42].
Many of today's commercially available cutting tool coatings Comparative performed drilling experiments with (Cr,Al,Y,)N
are titanium-based. Especially titanium nitride (TiN) and tita- and TiAlN coated drills showed less adhesion wear on the cutting
nium aluminum nitride (TiAlN) coatings are successfully used edge after drilling of 42CrMo4, Figure 21.
for wear protection [34, 35]. These coatings are characterized by Alloying yttrium into PVD coatings can significantly influence
their high hardness and high wear resistance at high tempera- the coating microstructure. Coatings containing yttrium reveal
tures [35]. enhanced adhesion to the substrate whereas other mechanical
Chromium-based hard coatings such as CrN or CrAlN have properties, such as the hardness, are not influenced by the alloy-
proven excellent tribological properties. Due to increasing cut- ing. When exposed to an oxidative environment, such yttrium
ting parameters, CrN was widely replaced by the ternary com- containing coatings show a reduced oxide growth rate [44, 45,
pound (Cr, Al)N. For these coatings intrinsic hardening – as well 46]. Yttrium containing thermal barrier coatings (TBC), for
as solid solution hardening effect play an important role. Incor- example, form a barrier layer during thermal oxidation that lim-
porating Al into CrN results in enhanced properties like hard- its the oxygen transport along grain boundaries. The structure of
ness and oxidation stability. Thus, they are also good candidates these layers acts as an efficient resistance against oxidation [47].

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Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1 Modern Materials for Forming and Cutting Tools – Overview 15

Figure 21. Cutting edge of (Cr, Al, Y)N and TiAlN coatings after drilling, (Drilling of: 42CrMo4, vc = 100 m/min, f = 0,25 mm/rot., Driller: 6 mm Ø,
Drilling depth: 24 mm; lubricant: Blaser Vascomil SE1 MMS Aerosol) [43].
Bild 21. Bohrerschneidkante mit (Cr, Al, Y)N- und TiAlN-Beschichtungen nach dem Bohren (Bohren von: 42CrMo4, vc = 100 m/min, f = 0,25 mm/
rot., Bohrer: 6 mm Ø, Bohrtiefe: 24 mm; Schmiermittel: Blaser Vascomil SE1 MMS Aerosol).

The presence of yttrium reduces the diffusion of cations, that in Today research activities yield the most modern high perform-
turn, results in an oxide growth which is dominated by anion ance tool steels and high speed steels produced by means of pow-
transport [45, 48]. Exceeds the yttrium content a threshold value, der metallurgy (PM) production techniques, aluminum alloyed
negative effects, such as reduced wear resistance, can be tool steels, Nitrogen alloyed tool steels, electro-slag (ESR) and
observed in the oxide film. A reason for this behaviour may be vacuum remelted (VMR/VAR) tool steels. Carbides and nitrides
the formation of a brittle Co17Y2 compound [40, 45, 46, 49]. are responsible for the excellent wear resistance of the powder
The above described diffusion barrier effect due to yttrium is metallurgical produced tools. Cobalt serves for the necessary duc-
especially interesting at temperatures above 800 8C which are tility. Many applications require a compromise of ductility and
easily reached during dry cutting. The simultaneous appearance wear resistance. In these cases it is possible to produce powder
of oxidation and wear causes the destruction of the oxide film metallurgical steels with graded properties [55]. For example a
due to hard particle abrasion. This, in turn, leaves the underlying driller has different cutting speeds in the middle and at the out-
coating unprotected against further attack and causes higher fric- side edge. This needs a high hardness for a good wear resistance
tion rates [45]. at the outside edge and in the middle a sufficient ductility. A fur-
The corrosion behaviour of PVD coatings is often governed by ther possibility to reduce wear in powder metallurgical produced
the coating porosity and other defects. Alloying of yttrium can tools is a powder metallurgical construction with cooling chan-
often improve the corrosion performance by reducing the den- nels in the driller.
drites’ pores and the growth of columns. These columns can Today alloys for forming tools with high percentage of alloying
reach significantly larger sizes without the presence of yttrium elements with complex microstructure are realizable. They
in the coating. Yttrium also contributes to a strongly fine grained exhibit extraordinary combination of hardness, strength, ductil-
microstructure [45, 46, 50, 51]. Additionally, the mechanical ity, toughness and heat resistance as well as the surface quality.
properties can be improved by yttrium. Y2O3 compounds can be Modern application oriented alloying systems with for instance
found in yttrium-containing oxide layers, causing the layer to be adapted thermal conductivity by Nitrogen alloying are state of
harder, more elastic and with a better resistance to scratching. the art by specialized subsequent thermal treatment and high
This, in turn, improves the wear and corrosion resistance of alu- pressure melting technique. Tool steel reveals a strong depend-
minum coated steels both at room temperature and high temper- ence of the mechanical properties from the microstructure (grain
ature environment [52, 53]. Another possibility to improve the size, grain mixture). With adapted heat treatment like rapid sol-
density and thereby the corrosion and wear resistance of PVD idification segregation free, fine and homogenous microstruc-
coatings are multilayer structures with carbon inter layers and ture are reached.
DLC top layers (DLC=diamond like carbon) [54]. With typical cutting materials like cermets, ceramic materials,
diamonds and c-BN the reduction of the wear with a significantly
increased cutting speed in comparison with tools steels and
7 Conclusions cemented carbides is possible. The production of these materials
(cermets, ceramic materials, diamonds and c-BN) leads of course
Tools influence the production costs significantly in dependence to higher costs of the tools but often the economic efficiency is
of their properties as hardness, strength, ductility, wear resist- higher.
ance and reliability. Two very important factors to influence these Regarding the research activities, there is a trend toward dry
properties are the material of the tools and the contact surface cutting and new coatings. Dry cutting processing increases eco-
(friction coefficient). The tool materials are divided in tool steels, nomic efficiency and meets the expanding ecological require-
cemented carbides, cermets, ceramics and very hard materials ments. Therefore adapted lubrication, low coefficients of friction
(diamonds and cubic boron nitride). Also coatings are from and the kind of chip evacuation for dry cutting applications are
increasing interest. required. Cutting tool insert manufacturers will continue to

i 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim www.wiley-vch-de/home/muw


16 C. Berger et al. Mat.-wiss. u. Werkstofftech. 2010, 41, No. 1

Figure 22. Ideal cutting material.


Bild 22. Idealer Schneidwerkstoff.

develop new grades, coatings and top form geometries to [7] E. Abele, Werkzeugmaschinen und Industrieroboter, Aus-
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Darmstadt, Germany, 2007, 45.
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