Stainless steel is a vitally important material for many industries around the world. Even though it was created more than 100 years ago, use of the material has increased significantly since the turn of the 21st century.
Ricky Payling, application specialist at Dormer Pramet, outlines the growth of stainless steel, how the cutting tool industry has evolved to machine the material, as well as providing a brief summary of some of its most common grades.
According to the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) the global demand for stainless steel products has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, and continues to grow five per cent each year.
In 2014, almost 42 million metric tons of stainless steel was produced worldwide - a 70 per cent increase from 2005 (24 million metric tons). This growth is predominantly achieved by an increase in China, where production has grown from a 13 per cent share of global output in 2005 to more than 52 per cent in 2014.
Stainless steels' anti-corrosive qualities make it perfect for use in a huge range of environments and components, such as aerospace, general engineering, consumer, oil and gas, medical and marine industries.
Its versatility is reflected by the fact that there are more than 150 different grades. Common stainless steels include ferritic, martensitic, austenitic, super-austenitic and duplex.
This increase in production and consumption has coincided with advancements and new developments within the cutting tool industry. Due to the difficult process of machining stainless steel, manufacturers have invested a huge amount of time and resources in finding new ways to try to combat the numerous application challenges.
Recent introductions include changes to the cutting tool design, new geometries, improved coolant and developing stronger coatings to improve performance and tool life.
Dormer Pramet has developed a comprehensive assortment of indexable and rotary cutting tools to support machining of stainless steel.
Its solid carbide drill for applications up to 8xD has been specifically developed to overcome problems typically associated with deep-hole drilling of stainless steel. Created within the Dormer product portfolio, the R459 broadens the existing MP-X range which already consists of 3xD and 5xD solid carbide multi-material drills.
Meanwhile, a versatile range of OEHT octagonal inserts for cutting depths 4 – 10 mm, alongside REHT (round) and XEHT (wiper) inserts, is suitable for stainless steel.
By utilising eight cutting edges – the highest number available for positive inserts – the new range provides an economical offer for customers, while the wiper insert option boosts feed rate capabilities and surface finish quality.
To find out more about the range of milling, turning and hole-making products launched in November for machining stainless steel, click here.
Videos of Dormer Pramet's products machining stainless steel, including the R459 drill and the new OEHT milling inserts, as well as a variety of machining tips can all be found on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/dormerpramet.
Pictured: The new Pramet OEHT milling inserts for stainless steel.
Pictured: Our Dormer R459 drill for stainless steel.