Tiger·tec Gold – A quantum Leap Achieved Users Worldwide are Delighted: The New Generation of Cutting Tool Materials Increases Productivity by up to 300%

Tiger·tec Gold – A quantum Leap Achieved Users Worldwide are Delighted: The New Generation of Cutting Tool Materials Increases Productivity by up to 300%

 

The audience of industry professionals was expectant. After all, Tübingen-based Walter AG had done their best to raise expectations in the run-up to the premiere at AMB 2016. Walter’s Tiger·tecâ Gold, the new generation of cutting tool materials, was said to represent a technological leap for the entire sector. The first indexable inserts with the new coating have been on the market since the beginning of 2017 – and one thing is already clear: The developers at the Tübingen machining specialist were not exaggerating.

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Caption: Tiger·tecâ Gold in the Walter BLAXX M3024 heptagon milling cutter. As expected, tests showed significant improvements in three areas which are now also confirmed under real conditions: The tools coated with WKP35G stand out thanks to significantly higher wear resistance on flank faces, lower rate of hairline crack formation and improved resistance to plastic deformation                   Image: Walter AG

 

On the contrary, as Wolfgang Vötsch, Senior Product Manager for Milling at Walter, emphasises: “I cannot remember ever receiving so much positive customer feedback for any other product innovation”. Countless users around the globe are now working with Tiger·tecâ Gold. And they are all simply thrilled by the properties of the new grade. As Vötsch says: “The term has seldom been more accurate than in this case.”

 

 

It is no wonder: The customers are from a wide range of different sectors, such as the automotive and energy industry or die making and mechanical engineering. One after the other, they report results with Tiger·tecâ Gold that are rarely seen in practice. “We have cases in which performance increases of several hundred per cent have been documented. In almost all applications, the tools last two to three times longer than conventional tools.”

 

Fundamental innovation

The global machining industry had worked with cutting tool materials based on titanium carbon nitride and aluminium oxide for over two decades. Of course, the properties of these coatings were continuously optimised throughout the years, but it was becoming clear that they had their limits. Today, new application areas and materials with increasingly difficult cutting properties in the high-tech, aerospace and the automotive sectors require coating properties that are almost impossible to achieve with conventional coatings. Tools that are significantly more robust and more efficient than existing solutions are in demand. Performance improvements of a few per cent are no longer sufficient.

 

“It has been clear to us for several years that there is a need for fundamental change, and we were determined to be at the forefront of development in this area too,” explains Wolfgang Vötsch. “That we have achieved.”

 

Tübingen-based Walter AG has created a completely new technological platform with Tiger·tecâ Gold – on the basis of titanium aluminium nitride (TiAlN), manufactured with a newly developed CVD coating process. This material is ideal for milling steel and cast iron workpieces at medium to high cutting speeds thanks to its unique properties.

 

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Caption: The Walter BLAXX F5041 shoulder milling cutter with Tiger·tecâ Gold during machining. What is especially remarkable is that while field test results showed a tool life that was on average 80% longer, users in today’s market report performance increases averaging between 100% and 200%.                                                        Image: Walter AG

 

Tool life increased by around 80%

 

The developers at Walter had field-tested the new Tiger·tecâ Gold WKP35G grade extensively before its launch. As expected, tests showed significant improvements in three areas in particular, which are now also confirmed under real conditions: The tools coated with WKP35G stand out thanks to significantly higher wear resistance on flank faces, lower rate of hairline crack formation and improved resistance to plastic deformation.

 

 

Intialfield test results showed a tool life that was on average 80% longer, however users in today’s market report performance increases averaging between 100% and 200%. “At peak levels, we even achieved a 300% longer tool life, not just for some particularly exotic application but with different components and materials – from structural, alloy and stainless steel to grey cast iron, compacted and spheroidal graphite,” explains Wolfgang Vötsch.

 

An application engineer from one of Walter customer stated: “The new grade ran far better than the previous one in compacted graphite iron.” Another engineer was also quite astonished: “The wear is so low, you cannot see anything. I was starting to wonder whether the inserts had been replaced, but no, they had not.”

 

Since the launch of Tiger·tecâ Gold, the following components, among others, have been treated with the new coating – all with excellent results:

 

  • Engine block made from GG25 (grey cast iron)
  • Machine bed made from GG25 (grey cast iron)
  • Digger support plate made from St42 (structural steel)
  • Drive shaft made from 35CrMo (alloy steel)
  • Cast mould for glass bottles made from GG25 (grey cast iron)
  • Connecting rod made from C70 (alloy steel)
  • Steering knuckle made from GG25 (grey cast iron)

 

The significantly increased performance of the new generation of cutting tool materials is mainly due to the unique coating properties: TiAlN, with its very high aluminium content of around 85%, stands out due to its high level of hardness and especially because of its compressive residual stress.

 

Still one of a kind on the global market

 

The engineers at Walter developed an entirely new manufacturing process to support the deposit TiAlN in series production: ULP-CVD technology – a combination of ultra-low pressure (ULP) methods and chemical vapour deposition (CVD). So far, this process is the only one of its kind on the entire global market.

 

In addition to TiAlN as the main coating, the new indexable inserts also use titanium nitride (TiN): It is applied both as a link between the carbide base substrate and the TiAlN main coating and as the top layer above the main coating. It is the golden glow of TiN from which the new generation of cutting tool materials takes its name. A welcome side effect: It is much easier to identify tool wear compared to black or grey top layers.

 

While the hardness of the new coating leads to the previously mentioned higher wear resistance on flank faces and the improved resistance to plastic deformation, the new manufacturing method also significantly lowers the rate of hairline crack formation. Unlike the CVD coatings subjected to tensile residual stress, which have previously been commonplace across the sector, the Tiger·tecâ Gold TiAlN layer is “the first coating subject to compressive residual stress manufactured with the CVD method,” according to Wolfgang Vötsch.

 

In addition, the new coating technology is suitable for both dry and wet machining. “Dry machining has further advantages: It is environmentally friendly, significantly lowers costs for coolants and additionally increases the tool life, because the smaller changes in temperature put much less strain on the tool.”

Caption: In addition to TiAlN as the main coating, the new indexable inserts also use titanium nitride (TiN). The material is extremely hard and corrosion-resistant. It is applied both as a link between the carbide base substrate and the TiAlN main coating and as the top layer above the main coating.    Image: Walter AG

 

As one enthusiastic customer states, all in all, Tiger·tecâ Gold “significantly improved both the process reliability and the tool life. In my opinion, Walter has achieved a quantum leap.”

 

In addition to the Tiger·tecâ Gold WKP35G grade, Walter will launch further grades of the new cutting tool material generation. According to Wolfgang Vötsch, the entire range of indexable inserts for milling will also be available with the Tiger·tecâ Gold WKP35G grade by early 2018.

 

You can find more information and machining examples at: www.tigertec-gold.walter

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