Tool Steels

Today, tool steels can be produced with many different technologies and equipment.

Currently, 75% of tool steel in the world is made by melting scrap and the rest is made by melting ingot produced from ore.

In the production of tool steels, firstly melting process and then refining process is performed. Melting is done in electric arc furnaces. In addition, vacuum oxygen decarburization processes are carried out. The aim is to remove sulfur and phosphorus from the material. When the desired chemical analysis is reached, liquid metal is poured into the molds in series and the slag is brought to the top and new ingots with a tool steel chemical analysis are produced.

Optionally, ESR method called electro slag remelting is applied for a cleaner structure. With ESR, perfect structure cleaning is provided. The most important advantage of ESR is to provide slow and homogeneous cooling speed and homogeneity in the microstructure. Unwanted eutectic carbide particles are reduced in the structure. Almost 70% of the existing sulfur is removed again with the ESR method. Since the ESR process is an expensive process, it is applied optionally. However, like ESR, a clean structure can be provided by vacuum arc melting method. Sulfur in the structure is not removed with this method. However, elements such as oxygen nitrogen and bismuth manganese lead are removed to some extent.

Since tool steel production is a special process, every manufacturer can use different equipment. Because, in a macro process such as steel, tool steel production takes a very small place in total steel production.

Then, this tool steel is subjected to different processes depending on the form desired to produce steel ingots. However, we can say that the forging of these ingots with open press method of hydraulic presses is the first step. However, rotary forging technology, which gained importance in the 1990s, has an important market share today. These forging presses, which can make between 180-320 strokes per minute and are controlled by a single person, can give excellent results. Likewise, products with the desired quality and material final forms can be reached with automatic rolling facilities.

The purpose of producing steels by hot and cold drawing method is to reach small diameters.

Similarly, tool steel production processes are tried more economically by continuous casting method. However, the main problem here is segregation and cracking.

Finally, high alloy tool steels are produced by powder metallurgical methods to obtain a perfect microstructure. The Osprey process, which can find itself in Japan and England as an alternative technology, is still under discussion today.


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