W O R K S H O P
HSS TOOLS MEET THE NEEDS OF TODAY
Cutting tools made from high speed steel (HSS) are
witnessing a level of growth around the world which
shows no signs of slowing down.
The global market for HSS cutting tools is expected
to grow to more than $10 billion by 2020 (Source:
Global Industry Analysts).
This is a significant amount, especially when the
current global market for the entire cutting tools
industry is valued at around $18.5 billion. The
increase is supported by a steady demand from key
segments, such as automotive and construction, as
well as heavy electrical and industrial equipment.
A popular option
Despite the growing competition from solid carbide,
HSS continues to be popular with manufacturers
due to its high wear resistance and excellent
hardness and toughness properties.
HSS cutting tools are best suited to mass
production environments where tool life, versatility,
productivity and tool cost are of the highest
importance to an end-user. It therefore still has a
major part to play in efficient and reliable machining
of many components.
Also, the current focus for a good product quality,
which meets the customer application requirements
at a cost-effective price, is proving attractive in the
present global economic climate.
To support the growing worldwide demand for
HSS, cutting tool manufacturers have committed
extensive resources to this segment. This includes
increased investment in not just new product
development but also research and development
This has led to HSS tools becoming more reliable
with a reduction in the number of defects, lower
production costs and shorter lead times. The
addition of improved substrates, including powder
metallurgy and coatings have been instrumental in
further enhancing performance.
Across Dormer’s range of round tools there are
currently four different material types available; high
speed steel (HSS), high speed cobalt (HSS-E), high
speed steel / carbide (HSS HM) and HSS-E powder
metallurgy steel (HSS-E PM). These materials are
used across our assortment of drills, countersinks,
reamers, taps and milling cutters.
A typical HSS composition features chromium
(4%), tungsten (approx. 6%), molybdenum (up to
10%), vanadium (around 2%), cobalt (up to 9%) and
carbon (1%). The different grade types depend on
the varying levels of elements added.
Chromium improves hardenability and prevents
scaling. Tungsten offers greater cutting efficiency
and resistance to tempering, as well as improved
hardness and high temperature strength.
Molybdenum – a by-product of copper and
tungsten production – also improves cutting
efficiency and hardness, as well as resistance
to tempering. Vanadium, which is present in
many minerals, forms very hard carbides for
good abrasive wear resistance, increases high
temperature wear resistance and strength, as well
as retention of hardness.
Cobalt improves heat resistance, retention of
Ricky Payling, product strategy manager for round tools at Dormer Pramet, looks
at why HSS remains a popular option, the different compositions available and
how the material has adapted to a fast-changing industry.
40 March 2018