Hauzer It's all about the coating — Trends in tool coating technology

Author / Editor: Gabriele Negrea Michiel Eerden / Barbara Schulz

Netherlands – The main reason for coating professional cutting and forming tools is the improvement of tool life. Netherlands-based IHI Hauzer Techno Coating gives some insights into the current trends influencing the development of tool coating technologies.

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Tools during the production process in a vacuum chamber with plasma.
Tools during the production process in a vacuum chamber with plasma.
(Soure: Hauzer)

Tool life improvement is the result of several upgraded functionalities, depending on the use of the tool. Hardness, temperature resistance and the contact between the tool and the material that needs to be cut or formed can be positively influenced. In some cases coated tools can realise a tool life that is ten times longer than uncoated tools.


Lightweight materials pose some challenges for cutting tools

One important trend that is influencing tool coatings is the cutting of lightweight materials. The automotive industry for instance opts for lightweight materials because of less fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. As a result, materials such as aluminium, magnesium and carbon reinforced plastics are gaining importance. Apart from the reduced weight, these materials have one thing in common; they have the tendency to stick to the cutting tool resulting in shorter tool life. This trend has stimulated the development of tetrahydral amorphous carbon (ta-C) coatings, which is a hydrogen-free diamond like carbon (DLC) coating with a low coefficient of friction.

This is a practical example of a crossover development originated from tribology and applied in the tool coating market. In tribological applications this hydrogen-free diamond like carbon (DLC) coating is used to reduce wear and friction. Applied to the tool industry, ta-C coatings have proven to be extremely suitable for cutting lightweight metals and fibre reinforced plastics that tend to stick to the tool. A ta-C coating for tools is much thinner with a typical layer thickness of 0.5 µm. With ta-C coating the tool life can be significantly increased. The coatings are deposited with a circular arc technology, guaranteeing a strong adhesion of the coating itself.