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.

Increased fatigue resistance

Surface hardening will increase components’ fatigue resistance, giving a longer service life. If a crack would appear in the surface layer, the toughness of Toolox® will resist further propagation into the substrate.

By nitriding Toolox® you can reach a surface hardness of 58‑65 HRC for highly wear resistant applications with a long service life. By coating the nitrided surface through PVD it’s possible to achieve even greater hardness or resistance to corrosion. The high strength of Toolox® minimizes the risk of cracking and chipping of the surface layer.

Gas nitriding of Toolox® 44

Y = SHardness (HV0.5) 1 = 15 h
X = Distance from outer surface (mm) 2 = 40 h
3 = 96 h
4 = 102 h
5 = 102 h + 102 h

Surface hardening of Toolox® by laser

Laser hardening of Toolox® is a very efficient method of achieving a high surface hardness with a relatively large thickness. Depending on the application, the hardened layer can reach 0.2 to 2 mm.

Laser hardening of Toolox® 44 gives exceptionally good results due to its high yield strength. It improves the lifetime of machine components working under highly challenging conditions. SSAB uses laser hardened Toolox® 44 for cutting Hardox® and Strenx® steel plates.

Laser hardened surfaces have the further advantage of being very smooth. This reduces friction and the risk for material sticking to the surface. To further enhance the hardness of the surface, carbon powder can be used to cover the metal surface during the process. In this way, Toolox® can reach a surface hardness as high as 800 HV. For Toolox® 33, 700 HV can be obtained.

“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