Three Factors That Affect Metal Cutting Tool Life

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

Inexperienced metal fabricators may wonder why their metal cutting tools wear out much faster than similar tools that are used by experienced fabricators. This article discusses the factors that determine how quickly a cutting tool will wear out. Use this information to design a metal cutting plan in order to minimise the impact of the forces that cause premature tool wear. 

Adhesion Wear

Adhesion wear refers to the wear that results when microscopic fragments of a work-piece become welded onto the cutting tool when high temperatures are generated during the cutting process. These fragments eventually detach from the tool because of their incomplete fusion with the tooling material. However, the fragments come off with some segments of the tool. Gradually, this adhesion wear causes the tool to be consumed.

Several measures can be taken to reduce the rate of adhesion wear. For example, using a coolant, such as water, can reduce the temperature of the metal cutting tool so that particles from the material that is being cut don't weld onto the cutting tool.

Abrasion Wear

Cutting tools are also worn out when the chips from the work-piece keep rubbing against the surface of the cutting tool. This abrasion gradually erodes material from the cutting tool until the tool stops being effective in its work. One way to slow down this problem is by selecting the most appropriate cutting parameters for a given application. For example, it is advisable to use a slow cutting speed when one is cutting hard materials, such as hardened steel. This reduction in speed will allow the cutting tool to remain cool so that abrasion has a limited negative effect on that tool.

Diffusion Wear

Diffusion wear refers to the aging of a cutting tool that results when atoms from the cutting tool cross to the chips generated during the metal cutting process. This form of wear takes place at a microscopic level. Two key factors accelerate this form of wear.

First, the dissimilarity between the materials causes galvanic currents to be generated. For example, the tool will wear out faster if its material is more reactive than the metal being cut. You should therefore check the galvanic scale so that you ensure that the cutting tool is less reactive than the metal that you are cutting.

Secondly, higher cutting temperatures accelerate diffusion wear. You can prolong tool life by using a coolant or lubricant to regulate the temperature during the cutting process. You can also pause during the cutting process so that the tool can cool down if the use of lubricants and coolants isn't practicable.

As you can see, the lifespan of metal cutting tools largely depends on the way that you use those tools. It is advisable for you to analyse a specific cutting job so that you develop a cutting plan that will have a minimal effect on tool life.


30 June 2017

A New Way To See An Old Building

Factories are amongst our most underrated buildings, but they not only have a style and design sense all of their own--they also hold important clues to the history of the areas they're in, and each one can tell a fascinating story. In this blog I'll be highlighting some of my favourite factories around the world to discuss their architecture, what they produce, their history and what they tell us about their local areas and communities. I'll also be getting into the nitty-gritty from time to time, as it turns out that the inside world of industry is more riveting than you might imagine!