A subset of tool steel, high speed steel is referred to as the cutting steel. It is extensively used in drill bits and power saw blades. It is a vast improvement upon the high carbon steel tools which were widely in use during the 1940s. Much like high speed steel, carbon steel also had the ability to endure high temperatures. However, with time moderation was required and gradually high speed steel was developed. It became more popular. HSS had Rockwell hardness of 60 at room temperature. It has strong resistance against wears and abrasions. Moreover, chemical elements such as tungsten, vanadium, cobalt, chromium or molybdenum also adds to the existing properties of high speed steel. Thus, there are various advantages of high speed steel.
- Impeccable hardness – The hardness of high speed steel is incomparable to any other kinds of steel. The hardness of this tool steel makes it more demanding in the market and amongst stainless steel tool suppliers. Cutting tools have sharp edges due to the hardness features of high speed steel. The hardened characteristic of this steel retains for a lifetime. It is easier to grind compared to other materials. Filers, chisels etc. can be made with the extreme hardness provided by the high speed steel. Furthermore, the hardness of HSS does not naturally bring out the brittleness of the cutting tool. Another reason for the sudden popularity of HSS over carbon steel is this feature of retaining hardness even at high temperatures.
- Resistance against wears – As mentioned earlier, high speed steel exhibits resistance against wears and tears. This feature of high speed steel highly depends upon hardness and microstructures of the material. Times when extreme heat is applied on the high speed steel, the components easily hold the structure for long, without any cracks or tears. Because of this property, high speed steel makes an extremely reliable cutting tool material.
- Benefits of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum etc. in HSS – M42 is a grade of HSS with high cobalt content. This improves heat resistance and red hardness of the metal. Another significant advantage of cobalt content in HSS is the reduced cycle times for developing tools. The prime benefit of tungsten in HSS is that the final steel product offers extreme hot hardness. When 10% molybdenum is added to high speed steel, both hot hardness and toughness of the steel multiplies. In fact, these properties are effectively maintained even when HSS is exposed to high temperatures. Vanadium content in HSS increases the wear resistance of the finished tools.
- Great performance and excellent efficiency in high temperatures – Cutting tools like high speed steel is excellent for impeccable milling works. The sharp edges and unparalleled efficiency of high speed steel makes it one of a kind. HSS functions at a very high speed compared to other alloys. With an assured long work life, high speed steel can be comfortably used at 650 degrees. Even the heat level of high speed steel is higher than other materials.
- Application – High speed steel is used across various industries. Few of its widely used areas include – manufacturing of drills, taps, tool bits, planet, jointer blades, router bits, saw blades etc. Nowadays, it is also being used for punches and dies.
All these important factors of high speed steel bring out the cutting tool’s significance in the market.