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SSAB Oxelösund AB
Reprinted with permission from Access Communications, Inc.
European Tool & Mould Making
April 2009
Alternative to Conventional Steel for Mould Inserts Extends Tool Life, Cuts Costs
Case Studies: Solving Real-World Problems

Amidst a business downturn, the Swedish moulding firm ToBe Teknik is expanding its plant in Oxelösund. Its customers develop products for the electronics and automotive sectors. In some applications, plastics are displacing such materials as aluminium. But this presupposes high quality in both the plastic and the mould insert, which is one reason why, last year, ToBe Teknik began using prehardened, dimensionally stable Toolox tool plate from SSAB Oxelösund AB instead of conventional steel for one of its inserts.

“Toolox is actually well suited for everything,” says Tony Bäckman, the owner of ToBe Teknik, “but we consider it most beneficial in the production of reinforced materials that cause heavier wear on the moulds than other plastics.”

Using Toolox in place of conventional tool steel involves higher initial costs. But Bäckman estimates that it helps his company ultimately cut costs by 10 to 15%, or even more with larger moulds. He says that Toolox is simple to use. Also, if a test run points to it, the steel can be given an additional nitriding treatment to substantially extend its useful life even when moulding heavy-wearing plastics. The outcome of hardening conventional steel is not so certain.

ToBe Teknik toolmaker Zlatko Visic prefers to replace worn-out conventional steel with Toolox, which he claims is an unbeatable mould material. “If a 5-mm drill is used to drill a hole, you can rely on the hole being exactly 5 mm,” he says. “This is because the plate is so pure and has no inclusions whatever, which gives me a sense of security.”

Photo: Toolox tool plate is hardened and dimensionally stable when it leaves SSAB Oxelösund, but its surface hardness, and thus useful life, can be increased further by traditional gas nitriding.

SSAB Oxelösund AB
Oxelösund, Sweden
SSAB Oxelösund AB website

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