Maximizing Tool Life with Hot Work Steel: Tips for Proper Maintenance and Care

Hot work tool steel

No matter the type of tool steel you select for any specific application, you need to understand that there might not be any "best" choice. A number of mechanics are choosing hot work steel for various manufacturing procedures due to its versatility. However, any negligence in its upkeep might compromise the efficacy of the steel tool. In keeping with this, here are some tricks and tips, all collected from seasoned professionals, which might help extend the shelf life of your tools.


Choosing the Design


It is important to choose the design of the tools, which has made from hot work steel. There are different types of tool steel. They differ in size, thickness, supporting surface and also rigidity. All these factors affect the durability of the steel.


  • The tool steel, having a thin design and unsupported section, is likely to crack and deflect easily.
  • Tools with intricate and complex wire-burned designs can be tricky to fully support. However, if such tools are thicker in design, then they can be more resistant to deflection.
  • The sections of tools having very sharp corners can crack easily when put under load. This is why using fillets, whenever possible, is important.


Choosing the Type of Steel


The hardness and grade of tool steel are important, as different varieties have different carbide pools. The shape, size as well as distribution have an effect on the impact toughness of the steel. It also has an effect on the wear resistance. This is why, tools having hardness and high wear resistance might not be a good choice for applications that need a good amount of shock resistance. Premier manufacturers and suppliers like TJKSSL maintain a team of experts who recommend their clients the best type of hot work steel for any given application.


Treatment of Heat

The medium of quenching, as well as the time that your tool steel uses before and after heat treatment is an important aspect of optimizing the tool steel life. Every variety of hot work has its unique critical temperature. It is essential for the tools to reach that temperature before cooling or quenching. Otherwise, the steel is likely to be under-hardened or over-hardened. This can, in the long run, negatively affect the longevity of the tool steels.


Manufacturing Process


Different processes of manufacturing use of right type of cutting tools, as well as applying chip load, speed as well and the right type of coolants play a vital role in extending the tool life. Also, choosing the right type of post-machining process, including hard milling and wire EDM, helps i. Stress relieving the section of tool steel. During the post-matching procedure, it is also important to choose the right type of grinding tool and apply the right tempering temperature while preparing the final product.


The Right Time to Cool


To prevent thermal shock to hot work steel, manufacturers are now using automated cool-down machines or running the tools for about 10 minutes by turning off the heat. Proper shutting off of the heat is one important aspect of maximizing tool steel life. Any miscalculation in this aspect can make the tool less effective.


Miscellaneous Maintenance


Finally, you should never skip the annual maintenance of the tools to ensure their prolonged working life. It is also important to store, move, and lift the tools in the proper way, and clean them regularly.