Why do we heat treat tool steel?

Without proper heat treatment, tool steel will not serve its' intended purpose. It will be too soft to withstand the forces applied to it during most manufacturing processes. Most tool steel is supplied to the toolmaker in the annealed or soft condition. In the soft condition, tool steel does not offer any usefulness to the end-user. It is provided in the annealed condition in order to facilitate ease of machining by the toolmaker. In the annealed condition, tool steel has a high degree of toughness, however, it has insufficient hardness to withstand the rigors of any of the common manufacturing processes. It also lacks sufficient wear resistance for these applications.

 Most tooling applications required that the tooling has a high degree of hardness in order to withstand the pressure that will be applied to it in the manufacturing application. During the manufacturing process, the tools are exposed to many repeated cycles, wether it is metal stamping, plastic molding, rollforming or powder metal compaction, wear resistance is required to resist erosion of the tool.

For the complete heat treating procedure, including tempering charts, tips and tool steel data sheets, see our "Tool Steel Simplified" book.

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