Surface treatment of Toolox® steel for higher hardness

The hardness, toughness and homogeneity of Toolox® make it a perfect substrate for surface treatment of the steel. Nitriding, PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition), plasma, laser and induction hardening can all be used to further increase the steel’s surface hardness.

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Surface treatment


Hardening and polishing of Toolox®

Surface treatment on Toolox® adds performance in a wide range of applications exposed to high surface pressures and wear, such as machine components, clamping and holding equipment, recycling knives and blades, injection molds and more.

Toolox® can also be polished, etched and textured with excellent results. The purity and very low inclusion content of Toolox® makes it suitable for the most demanding surface finish applications, reaching an A1 gloss in polishing.

What is surface treatment used for?

Gears, screws, crankshafts, cams, molds, dies and stamping tools are some examples of applications that benefit from surface treatment. A harder surface will resist wear, making it last longer. Improved fatigue resistance will make a steel component stand up to many more loading cycles.

Different types of steel surface treatment

Surface peening

Surface peening is a technique to create compressive stresses in a steel surface. Surface peening can be used to improve the fatigue resistance and lifespan of a wide range of steel components, such as gears, bearings and springs.

Gas nitriding

Gas nitriding is performed at a relatively low temperature, typically 520 °C. It works by diffusing nitrogen into the steel from a nitrogen-rich gas. The gas is usually ammonia (NH3). This method can also be called ammonia nitriding. Gas nitrided steel usually also becomes more resistant to corrosion.

Laser hardening

Laser hardening uses a laser beam to heat up the steel’s surface close to its melting point, typically 900-1400 °C. This changes the grain to an austenitic structure. Rapid cooling transforms the grain to a martensitic structure. The martensite zone can be as deep as 2 mm, improving the steel’s hardness and resistance to wear.

“A die used for stamping thick steel sheet was previously made in tool steel heat treated to 60 HRC. After only 2,000-3,000 stampings the die cracked. Changing to laser hardened Toolox® 44 improved the lifetime to more than 100,000 stampings. The smooth surface also decreased the need for maintenance.”



Read all about why Toolox® steel outperforms on every challenge

Get the full story of Toolox® engineering and tool steel from SSAB.


Read all about welding and cutting recommendations for Toolox® steel

Toolox® is easy to weld and easy to cut. In the brochure you’ll find the best practices.


Read all about machining of Toolox® steel

Toolox is a prehardened steel with high machinability for making finished parts without time-consuming and costly heat treatment.

Learn more about Toolox® tool and engineering steel