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Hot Work Tool Steel vs. Cold Work Tool Steel-Which one is right for me

Choosing the best steel to manufacture tools is an important job. There are different types of steel available in the market. Each tool is designed to perform a special task in specific conditions.

Different types of Tool Steels

There are different types of tool steel which can be categorized as cold work, hot work, high speed, shock resisting, water hardening, and special purpose. Hot work tool steel is used for the manufacturing process that includes high abrasion. Cold work tool steel is used in the processes that work under cold conditions, away from the heat. Water hardening tool steel is used for wood related tools that involve a low-hardening process. High speed tool steel is used for manufacturing tools like drills. Before you contact a cold work tool steel supplier or hot work tool steel supplier, you must understand the difference between these two types of tool steels.

What are hot work tool steel and cold work tool steel?

Hot work tool steel is helpful in the production of tools that are going to be used in a heated environment. This steel is suitable for materials such as non-ferrous metals, iron pieces, and alloy derivatives. Hot work tool steel is made from metals that can withstand temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius.

When hot work tool steelworks in collaboration with other materials, it goes through high abrasion. Thus, while manufacturing the material, the steel is assumed to have the qualities of being temperature-resistant, thermal shock-resistant, wear-resistant, and should be tough enough to face the high temperature.

Cold work tool steel is used for the manufacturing tools whose manufacturing process is followed while keeping the temperature below 260C. This steel is used to manufacture tools such as shears, taps, gages, piercing dies, and plastic molds.

Cold work tool is known for its toughness, abrasion, heat softening, and wear resistanceCold work tools are well-known for simpler manufacturing processes wherein there is no need for high temperature scaling.

What’s the difference between the two?

Well, both the tools carry their unique characteristics and are preferred according to their composition and application. Here are a few points of differentiation between the two.

Hot work tool steelworks at a high temperature range between 350 and 700 °C, while cold work tool steel works at a temperature below 100 °C.

Cold work tool steel usually has a high carbon content (1.45% 2.30%) that makes it wear resistant and power scalable. On the other hand, high work tool steel has carbon content within the medium range (0.3% 0.6%) that matches its requirements for hardness, thermal conductivity, and wear-resistance.

Hot work tool steel is applied in die casting while cold work tool steel finds its applications in manufacturing blanking dies, bending dies, and cold extrusion dies.

Which tool steel is best for you?

Tool work calls for precision and care that will define its ability to perform a particular action, so selecting the right material for manufacturing tools is an important task. Selection of the right tool steel depends on many factors which include cost, toughness, shock resistance, surface hardness, and at what temperature tools are going to be used. It’s quite hard to find the right work tool steel if you are unaware of what all types are available to choose from. Of course, choosing the right steel is important just to get the perfect tool.