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version of the
Carbide Tooling with Coated DC53
Application of a high-performance tool coating combines with an
upgrade in tool steel to deliver a host of benefits to metalformer
Toledo Technologies, including improved surface finish of coined
parts and minimized die wear.
supplies valve-train components and assemblies for automotive
engines, commercial diesel engines and performance racing
engines. Its Toledo Technologies stamping facility in Toledo,
OH, produces rocker arms and finger followers on high-speed
According to Terry Giesige, Toledo Technologies’ senior
manager of metalforming, the stamping facility operates 21
high-speed presses and its typical production job can run from
as little as six to seven million pieces per year to as many
as 20 to 25 million pieces annually.
“A number of the parts we forminclude features that require
us to coin the part to control material flow,”Giesige says.
“We’re on a just-intime program with our customers, which
determines how we schedule our pressroom. On average, we run
parts weekly. But with the automotive industry, requirements
change all the time.” Florence, KY, that has a highly refined
grain structure and allows for higher drawing temperatures
than does D2), coated with a high-performance surface coating
provided by Phygen Coatings, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. Phygen
coats Toledo Technology tooling with its FortiPhy
Toledo Technologies’ Terry Giesige (left) and Larry Webb
examine valve-train components stamped with tooling that
employs coatings applied at relatively low temperatures to
eliminate distortion, bringing a host of improvements.
Carbide-Tool Replacement Taking Too Long
LarryWebb, a buyer for the stamping firm, adds that, “Just like
everybody else, we’re always looking for longevity in a part
program, along withmaking it as cost effective as we can. We used
to employ carbide tooling to produce our parts because of the
material’s hardness and the material flow required during forming.
But with carbide, we were looking at six to eight weeks, or maybe
even 10 weeks, to replace a worn tool. And, carbide tools tend to
break prematurely if there is any side play in the press.”
To more quickly replace worn tools, the firm switched to tools
made of DC53 (an advanced wrought cold-work die steel from
InternationalMold Steel, Florence, KY, that has a highly refined
grain structure and allows for higher drawing temperatures than
does D2), coated with a high-performance surface coating provided
by Phygen Coatings, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. Phygen coats Toledo
Technology tooling with its FortiPhy UltraEndurance coating.
“We’re now able to replace a tool and send out a worn tool and
have it coated and back in a week,” saysWebb.
“What we’re doing is an unusual coining process in the die,”
Giesige explains. “We actually coin directly into the edge of the
steel through the shear and the break. Yet, one of the key
characteristics of our end product is its high-quality surface
finish. The combination of DC53 and the lubricity of the Phygen
coating allows us to hold the part to a surface finish of 0.5 to
0.9 microns, important to the functionality of the part.”
The FortiPhy UltraEndurance surface treatment employs a
patented plasma- acceleration process that improves on traditional
physical-vapor deposition, says Phygen, to increase coating
durability and toughness while reducing friction and wear. The
coating also exhibits good adhesion, structure, uniformity and
density, and a uniform, nanocrystalline microstructure. Also,
minimized processing temperatures (950 F) keep critical part
dimensions within tolerance, to minimize rework.
Toledo Technologies stamps
these valve-train components on high-speed transfer presses
equipped with DC53 tooling high-density durable coatings.
“Quick turnaround in obtaining replacement tooling, quality
and dimensional accuracy of the stamped parts, and reduced die
repair and replacement downtime caused by failed carbide
tooling, have proved to be major benefits of the coated DC53
tools compared to carbide,” Giesige says. “Because we’re
running millions of parts, the fewer tooling changeovers we
need the better off we are.”
“Press downtime also was a factor when using carbide
tooling,”Webb adds. “Carbide does a nice job of forming the
part, but it breaks with enough frequency that we’ve
eliminated it from our tooling altogether. In addition, with
carbide we’d break a die section but we wouldn’t catch it
until bad parts began to show up later in the manufacturing
sequence. We could generate a lot of scrap and lose a lot of
production time before we discovered the problem.”
“Beyond running production, prototyping and development is a
big part of what we do,” Giesige adds. “We’re using the FortiPhy
UltraEndurance coating and DC53 combination in our prototype
tooling because of the quick turnaround and quality—primarily
surface- finish requirements. Often, prototypes go through a
rigorous testing cycle to validate design. Even one week can make
the difference between getting a new customer andmissing the
Prototype Production— A Case In Point
To explain how the switch to Forti- Phy UltraEndurance-coated
tools improve productivity,Giesige andWebb describe a tough
challenge faced by Toledo Technologies several years ago:
Quickly stamp 24,000 rocker armsmade of 0.118- to
0.121-in.-thick Type 1008 cold-rolled steel in a prototype runoff.
Using single-hit dies coated with TiN and TiCN, the firm had to
stop production to polish and recoat tools after every 100 parts.
Because standard TiN and TiCN coatings did not make the grade,
the pair says, Toledo Technologies sought something better.Using
EDMto sharpen the worn tools, Toledo hand-polished the tools to a
better-than-average surface finish, and then sent them to Phygen
Precision rocker arms move through a high-speed
press at Toledo Technologies. A new tool coating has boosted
part production and reduced lube use.
With FortiPhy UltraEndurancecoated tooling, the firm ran the
production contract in five weeks. Toward the end of the prototype
job, observing how smoothly the process was running, the manager
of stamping design decided to experiment with lubrication,
reducing lubricant supply by 25 percent. To his pleasant surprise,
he witnessed no change in part quality or tool wear.
In yet another case, Toledo Technologies went in search of an
alternative to carbides in order to make its production processes
less dependent on fluctuating carbide supplies. It tried DC53
hardened to its maximum of 63- 64 Rc and, after coating the
punches with Phygen’s FortiPhy process, it wound up with punches
comparable to or better than carbide punches, at half the cost.
Better yet: while carbide tools double- coated with TiN and
TiCN had produced only 135,000 parts between maintenance cycles,
the Phygen-coated DC53 punches produced 215,000 parts.
This article was supplied by Phygen Coatings, Inc.,
Minneapolis, MN: Tel. 888/749-4361,
Longer Tool Life with Recoating
Unlike hot-processed CVD or TD coatings that combine with carbon
molecules in the substrate to form a hard layer, the Phygen
FortiPhy UltraEndurance coating is a chemically complete coating
applied to a surface using a special high-adhesion process.
Typical CVD and TD coatings are applied at temperatures greater
than 1800 F to increase molecular activity within the substrate.
During these hot-coating processes, carbon molecules migrate to
the surface and combine with the coating material to form a third
compound. This can produce a hard coating, but only a small
portion of carbon molecules in the substrate are available to
migrate to the surface, and they can travel only a short distance.
So, as tools and coatings wear, the second application of these
coatings usually lasts about 70 percent as long as the first
application; a third application generally has a life of only 30
percent that of the original tool. When no additional carbon
molecules can be leached to the surface, the process ceases to
provide any benefits.
FortiPhy UltraEndurance coatings, according to Phygen, applied
at half the temperature of CVD and TD coatings, do not require
molecular action within the substrate to build a hard coating.
Instead, the process applies a chemically complete layer of nano-sized
particles onto the surface, and does not require carbon or any
other molecules from the substrate. This means that every recoat
has the same toughness and durability as the first. Tool life is
optimized, and the chemical composition of the substrate remains
the same, regardless of rework.