Tool steel is the workhorse of the industrialized world. This highly versatile steel has a relatively low carbon content, usually between 0.7% and 1.5%. Tool steel is alloyed with different metals. Tool steel properties depend to a large extent on the proportions of alloying elements such as chromium, vanadium, molybdenum, tungsten, cobalt, or nickel.
The alloying composition in combination with heat treatment, results in an almost limitless variety of tool steel grades. Depending on the application, the steels are targeted at abrasion resistance, impact toughness, machinability, ability to be polished, shock resistance, or high temperature performance as the most important criteria.
Tool steel grades are used as parts of machines making other parts, and as the produced parts themselves. High machinability is generally a top priority for machine parts, whether it is tool holders, sprocket wheels, gears, gear racks, cutting tools, knife supports, or guide rails – applications for machine components in tool steel are found in all manufacturing industries.
Tool steels are also widely used for molds and dies, either for cold stamping and punching, or casting or forging at a high working temperature. The yield strength, wear resistance and impact toughness of premium tool steels remain higher than conventional hot work steels also at elevated temperatures. Uses ot tool steel also include all kinds of plastic injection molds.
One category of modern tool steel is pre-hardened. This means the steel has already undergone a quenching and tempering process already at the steel mill and will not be subjected to any further heat treatment after machining the steel to its final dimensions.
There are several advantages to using a pre-hardened tool steel. A traditional tool steel is comparatively soft and needs heat treatment after machining to reach sufficient hardness.
This heat treatment can cause the steel part to change shape and dimension, requiring further machining to reach the correct measurements. Both the additional heat treatment and machining are costly and time-consuming procedures, which can be avoided by using a pre-hardened steel which will resist deformation.
Tool steels are commonly divided into these categories:
All production environments are challenged to produce fast and with high quality. The high hardness and toughness of Toolox® tool steel allows it to meet these challenges.
Toolox® is prehardened steel with high machinability, which saves time when manufacturing steel components. It also ensures that the final products deliver maximum performance, productivity and service life without the need for heat treatment after processing. This steel’s surface hardness which gives high wear resistance extends into the core of the material.
Toolox® engineering and tool steel from SSAB is mainly used for all kinds of machine components or molds and dies for hot and cold applications.
“With SSAB’s Toolox® 44, we’ve finally found the material we had long been searching for – a material that isn’t surface engineered, yet still has the same properties.”
- CEO Matthias Hartmann, Krenhof Schmiedetechnik AG
Leading Argentinian medical equipment manufacturer Innovos achieves 100 percent customer satisfaction with Toolox® 33. “Using Toolox® 33 in the majority of our projects allows us to reduce production times, reduce tool wear and save time in after-treatment.” CEO Gustavo Becker, Innovos.