High speed machining puts huge stresses on tools during the cutting process. Optimising their coating microstructure via nanoindentation, to deliver the correct combination of hardness and toughness will ensure that they perform – and keep on performing. But the wide range of conditions under which they will operate makes this a highly complex requirement.
Real World tests
Performance factors such as oxidation resistance, thermal stability and hot hardness will need to be built in, depending upon the function hard coatings are required to fulfill. Coatings then need to be tested against factors such as friction, wear, oxidation, thermal cycling and adhesive interaction.
To test for all this diversity of conditions and factors would be impossible under normal macro-scale test conditions. But nanomechanical testing allows you to assess them all, by simulating real contact conditions, allowing you to evaluate the three primary and interlinked factors influencing the life of hard coated tools: plasticity, hot hardness and fatigue fracture resistance. The savings in time and materials are massive, enabling engineers to design and manufacture new tools rapidly and competitively.