For those who are getting used to carbide tools, machining a piece with a spindle loaded with a high-speed steel drill mill feels like watching paint dry. Not to say that HSS does not have its uses. But today´s performance standards require manufacturers to churn out as many finished pieces as humanly possible.
Carbide end mills do offer outstanding performance, especially when combined with advanced toolpath strategies that newer CAM software now brings to the table. However, some tools require you to push them to the limit to get the best out of them.
TiAlN coated end mills, or titanium aluminum nitride tools can increase service life up to ten times longer than regular tools. The coating provides the tool with a protective shield against heat and oxidation. You can say that these tools are made for working at extremely high cutting speeds, and they excel at cutting hardened materials such as stainless steel and titanium alloys, even if you go dry on the material.
TiAlN coated end mills are incredibly hard, even more rigid than carbide. But the most interesting part is that the coating properties kick in when the tool runs hot. When it reaches certain temperatures, say from friction, a protective surface layer of Al2O3 or aluminum oxide ceramic is formed around the tool. The layer wears out and then reforms again in a continuous cycle, prolonging the life of the tool. It means that the tool performs best in high temperatures.
It is important to note that TiAlN coated high-speed steel tools do not hold well when operating for long periods. If you run a coated HSS twist drill on a stainless steel piece, the heat will eventually cause the tool to fail. Remember that while the coating is heat resistant, the core should also be able to withstand external conditions.
That is why it is better to use coated solid carbide cores when going through a lot of material if you want to avoid unnecessary downtime caused by tool failure. This is especially true when machining superalloys that push your tools through high cutting forces, abrasiveness, long chipping, and extreme temperatures. TiAlN coated end mills with a carbide core should be your go-to tools if you´re aiming at increased production and reduced downtime. Carbide holds better tolerances than steel tools, allowing you t5o take full advantage of your TiAlN coated end mills.
High-Performance machining has opened new opportunities for many shops to drastically increase their throughput levels several times above what was considered normal a few years ago. Of course, this would not be possible without enhanced machines and CAM software. But without modern cutting tools, advanced tooling strategies would have remained in the realm of theories.
A word about tool quality. While there has been an increased number of cutting tools manufacturers who offer carbide and coated drills and bits, not all of them offer a quality that allows you to accurately predict tool performance. If you want high-performance tools that comply with the highest quality standards, visit www.onlinecarbide.com.