High Speed Steel: A Popular Market amongst Tool Manufacturers
Despite the growing competition from solid carbide, high speed steel continues to be popular with manufacturers due to its high wear resistance and excellent hardness and toughness properties. To support the growing worldwide demand for high speed steel, cutting tool manufacturers have committed extensive resources to this segment. This includes increased investment in not just new product development but also research and development activities, which has led to high speed steel tools becoming more reliable with a reduction in the number of defects, lower production costs and shorter lead-times.
Advantages of High Speed Steel Tools
High speed steel tools can resist vibrations, whatever the type of machine tool, even if rigidity has been lost over time and regardless of work piece clamping conditions. It can prevent mechanical shocks at tooth level in milling operations and cope with varying lubrication conditions which may result in thermal changes.
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With the inherent strength of high speed steel, tool manufacturers can produce extremely sharp cutting edges. This make it easier to machine difficult materials, offers less work hardening of austenitic stainless steels and nickel alloys, and gives a better surface quality and tolerances of machined parts.
As the metal is cut and not torn, it provides longer tool life with lower cutting-edge temperatures. It also requires lower cutting forces, which ultimately means less power consumption from the machine tool. From a tool life point of view, high speed steel performs very well with intermittent cutting applications – however, it has limited cutting speed range which is far lower when compared to carbide tools.
High Speed Steel Market: Introduction
In 1868, high speed steel was known as Mushet Steel or R Mushets Special Steel. At the turn of the nineteen century, numerous experiments and tests were conducted on Munshet Steels to understand more about its characteristics. The testers discovered that an addition of 3.8% chromium to 8% tungsten steel allowed it to be quenched and tempered at a high temperature. The name given to this form of steel was high speed steel. High speed steel, commonly known as cutting tool materials, is a subclass of tool sets. High speed steels are alloys that get their properties from either molybdenum or tungsten or the combination of the two.
The main application of high speed steel is in the manufacturing of various cutting tools, such as milling cutters, saw bladders, drills, router bits, jointer blades and many others. High speed steel has also found applications in hand tools where its comparatively better toughness and high abrasion resistance has been found to be useful. Moreover, high speed tools are also used in wood turning as the speed of the drive is fairly high for these tools and high speed steel offers many advantages over its alternative high carbon steel tools.
High Speed Steel Market: Dynamics
Growing use of high speed steels for the manufacturing of cutting tools is spurring the demand for this market. Moreover, increasing applications of high speed steel in the shipbuilding and energy sector will support its demand over the forecast period. However, increasing use of carbide-based cutting tools in various end-use industries might hamper the growth of the high speed steel market. As a significant machine tool invention, high speed steel metal tools have significantly improved the capability to cut bulky metals and led to the emergence of a new period in capital goods invention. The extensive adoption of high speed steel cutting tools has also been supported by their various advantages, such as augmented machining precision and less defects in manufactured products. Moreover, these tools provide excellent surface finish, less risks in bur formation and lead to considerably lower production costs and smaller lead time.
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High Speed Steel Market: Trend/ Regional Outlook
Today, steel innovation as become vital to a board range of industries, such as aerospace, construction and heavy equipment/machinery and automotive. The widespread growth in the high speed steel market is also being supported by reduced defects in manufactured products, increased machine accuracy, improvement in surface finish, significantly lower production, costs reduced risks of bur formations and shorter lead times. The popular materials for high speed steel cutting tools are Chromium, Tungsten, Iron and Vanadium. Asia pacific holds the largest share in the High Speed Steel Market as Taiwan, China, South Korea, China and India are major producers in the high speed steel market. Owing to various factors, such as expanding manufacturing base in Southeast Asian countries, continuous shift in global production activities to low-cost countries and resulting establishment of new job shops, the high speed steel market will witness fast growth in this region. Moreover, factors, such as strong investments in leading manufacturing technologies and equipment, including high performance cutting tools will drive the demand in the high speed steel market.
High Speed Steel Market: Market Participants
Examples of some of the market participants/vendors identified across the value chain of the High Speed Steel market across the globe are:
- Bohler Uddeholm Corporation
- Hitachi Metals Ltd.
- Sandvik AB
- Addison & Co. Ltd.
- OSG Korea Corporation
- Niagara Cutter Inc.
- Tiangong International
- Walter AG
- Tivoly Inc.
- Nippon Koshuha Steel Group
- BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling
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