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Tool Steel Industry

A Tool Steel is a Tool Steel is a Tool Steel

This is a very common misconception when it comes to tool steels. The quality of the tool steel which will directly affect the total life of the tool as well as your profitability will depend on the Tool Steels:

  • Chemical Composition
  • Melting Technology
  • and Heat Treatment

Steel producers must have advanced melting and production equipment as well as the know how of producing the finest grades of tool steels. If one is not sure what this statements means, one only needs to look at how the “major players” in the tool steel market services their customers in order to get an informed idea. A steel plant with these characteristics is able to consider the needs of its customers and that of the markets that they are supplying into in order to supply them with “customized” steel.

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Steel Choice

When considering a tool steel for a specific tooling application there are many things that need to be weighed up against each other. The fact of the matter is that the steel choice is an investment that you are making in your production and that an incorrect or uninformed decision will prove very costly in the short to medium term.

When the total cost of the manufacturing process of a tool is analysed, it turns out that the cost of the tool steel itself pales in comparison to the other fixed costs, namely:

  • Machining – including grinding and polishing
  • Labour
  • Downtime – associated to repair/fabrication
  • Lost production etc.

During the above analysis it will be found that the cost of the tool steel seldom exceeds 10% of the total costs of the die. This is known as the cost iceberg.

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