Tools for the machining of metals have, in one form or another, been around since humankind first made metallic objects. By the early stages of the industrial era, most tooling was made from some form of hardened steel, and the basic types of tools – turning, milling, and drilling, each with various sub-categories, became clearly delineated by their different geometries.
The single major advance, which changed almost everything for the tooling world, was the 1926 invention of hardmetal, also known as cemented carbide, or just ‘carbide’. Over the next several decades, a torrent of innovations occurred which increased the performance and/or application range of hardmetal tooling, or else provided alternatives within some applications – even better performance.
Cutting tools for applications in metal processing represent one of the primary markets for the Powder Metallurgy industry. Here, PM technology makes it possible to produce cutting tools with complex geometries to near-net shape, a feat not possible using conventional manufacturing methods.
Despite the basic technologies of metal-cutting tools having existed for several decades, tool manufacturers continue to introduce new products which can provide substantial benefits.
In the Spring 2021 issue of Powder Metallurgy Review (Vol. 10 No. 1), Bernard North, North Technical Management, LLC, overviews developments in materials, design and software that are driving innovation in this important sector of PM.
This article, along with the full magazine, is available to read in full online using the embedded browser above or to download as a pdf.