Hard, Harder, SteelCon® – More performance in the machining of hardened steel for injection molds

November 2021

In tool and mold making, the machining of hardened steels beyond 50 HRC is standard. It nevertheless remains a discipline for specialists, especially for manufacturers of precision tools. The milling cutters used are subject to very heavy wear. Tool manufacturers therefore know that long and, above all, process-reliable tool life is only possible with a coating adapted to the tool. With the new HiPIMS coating material SteelCon, CemeCon now offers the best solution for this.

Tools with a coordinated SteelCon® coating ensure shorter machining times, reduced setup and handling processes, and better surface quality. The bottom line is that this significantly reduces costs.

Hard machining, especially the machining of injection molds made of hardened steels with more than 50 HRC, is a demanding application: The materials are both hard and tough, and alloying components that increase corrosion resistance further complicate the machining tasks. “Here, the milling cutters used literally cut their teeth due to enormous feed rates and high temperatures at cutting speeds of up to 250 m/min. At the same time, the highest surface qualities are required even for the smallest contours. In order to machine as economically as possible under these extreme conditions, first-class precision tools are required. A prerequisite for this is, of course, the right coating. With our new HiPIMS coating material SteelCon we provide the right basis for this,” says Manfred Weigand, Product Manager Round Tools at CemeCon. 

Perfect combination for top performance
SteelCon is the second silicon-doped HiPIMS coating material from CemeCon. While InoxaCon is excellently suited for machining stainless steel, titanium and difficult-to-machine materials, the coating experts have developed SteelCon specifically for machining hardened steels beyond 50 HRC. Whether dry or wet, milling, drilling, reaming or threading – SteelCon is the ideal solution in hard machining thanks to its outstanding properties.

“The HiPIMS coating material SteelCon is very wear-resistant, on the one hand due to its high hardness, and on the other hand due to its toughness coupled with excellent adhesion. It has a dense layer structure and the thermal stability has been increased. Top conditions for best performance!” emphasizes Manfred Weigand. “Another plus: The wear behavior of SteelCon differs significantly from other coatings available on the market. Tool manufacturers as well as users are enthusiastic and give us consistently positive feedback: ‘We have never seen such homogeneous wear behavior.’ This ensures high process stability.”

Since no droplets can form thanks to the HiPIMS process, SteelCon is extremely smooth. This means that nothing stands in the way of optimum chip and heat removal. The tool can dissipate the heat in the chips, and process stability increases. Excellent surface qualities are achieved, so that the user can often save subsequent work – in some cases even the polishing of their workpieces.

Those who use tools with a matched SteelCon coating when machining hardened steels are on the safe side: Shorter machining times, reduced setup and handling procedures, and better surface quality significantly reduce the bottom line costs. “We achieve such advantages thanks to the extreme hardness, high toughness, smooth surface, maximum adhesion, high thermal stability and dense morphology of SteelCon,” says Manfred Weigand in summary.

About CemeCon AG
CemeCon is the world market leader in diamond coating and technology leader in PVD coating of precision tools for machining. The coating materials required for premium coatings are produced within the coating systems developed by CemeCon.

Customers make use of the company’s expertise in both coating services and plant engineering. Renowned tool manufacturers worldwide use the technology and expert knowledge of CemeCon for their own competitive advantage and to open up new business areas.

CemeCon has brought the future technology HiPIMS to market maturity. It combines the advantages of all common PVD coating processes – and that with high economic efficiency. With HiPIMS, maximum performance and a significantly longer tool life are possible even when machining materials that are extremely difficult to machine. Maximum productivity in the machining of innovative materials – such as fibre-reinforced plastics, ceramics or graphite – is guaranteed by the patented multilayer technology in diamond coating developed by CemeCon.

Founded in 1986 by Dr. Toni Leyendecker, CemeCon AG has expanded continuously over three decades. At its headquarters in Würselen, the company operates the world’s largest coating center. All important international markets are served from there and from the centers in the USA, China and Japan as well as by our sales partners in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Taiwan, Korea, India and Russia.

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