Friday, January 14, 2011

Cryogenic Treatment for Drill Bits

Every Friday we start our processor and complete a weekend run. We load the parts in and then set our process parameters for the run. We use ramps that go down no more than a degree per minute and we hold all the parts at -300°F for a total of 24 hours. Upon completion of the cycle, the parts are unloaded, re-packaged and shipped. The process is often used on drills to promote longer life and higher wear resistance.

Cryogenically treated steels will undergo three transformations during this exacting process. First, the crystalline structure will transform. Retained austenite left over from heat treating will be converted to the more desirable crystal form, martensite. This will allow any imperfections or voids in the crystalline structure to be removed, creating a more durable part. Second, carbon deposits will populate, this process is known as the precipitation of eta-carbides. This will lead to wear resistance improvements, allowing the parts to last significantly longer. Third, all metals not just steel benefit from residual stress relief. Stress relieving the drills will eliminate fatigue lines along which the parts would eventually fail.

Drill bits benefit significantly from the cryogenic treatment process. Hi-speed steels and tool steels will see major increases in life. Many manufacturers also enjoy reduced downtime because less tool changes will be needed with cryogenically treated drills.

We have been cryogenically treating drills for many industries for almost the past decade. Micro drills have become a popular application because they are not robust. One customer using these micro drills for drilling holes in PEEK implants has experienced a 100% improvement in lifetime. Drills that have been coated can also be cryogenically treated. This offers manufacturers premium drills that will outlast untreated tooling. We have treated thousands of drill bits since our inception in 2002. If you want to reduce your downtime and increase your drills’ lifetime then cryogenic treatment is an excellent solution. To learn more about cryogenic treatment, please visit Nitrofreeze: Cryo Treatment for Machine Tools or call us at (800) 739-7949.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Dry Ice Blasting for Industrial Equipment

The week before Christmas, we started a new dry ice blast cleaning project for the Vacumet Corporation. Vacumet makes metalized paper for labels, video game covers and other applications. One of their large printers was taken offline for yearly maintenance. This year rather than use sandblasting, they opted to try dry ice blast cleaning.

Over the course of three days we cleaned a multitude of components for this massive printer. We were required to clean mixing pots that had epoxy buildup, oven parts that had heat discoloration and buildup, and catwalks that had collected buildup over the years. We blasted outside for the three days to ensure that dust and debris did not get inside the plant.

The mixing pots had resin buildup in some areas that was at least 2 inches thick. We used a 375CFM air compressor that produces 150PSI to remove this buildup. The higher pressure allowed us to cut right through the buildup and reach the original substrate. Cleaning the pots took quite a long time though due to all of their intricacies.

All of the catwalks were in dire need of cleaning. Buildup and colorants had bonded to the catwalks making them very dirty. Some areas cleaned up quickly, but other areas required several passes to remove all the buildup. Regardless, the catwalks cleaned up very well (take a look at the photograph below).

The oven parts had a brown stain all over them from the high heat that they experienced. These stains needed to be removed. Previously, the company had scrubbed these with wire brushes to remove the discoloration. We were able to clean these parts to like new condition in a fraction of the time it took them to scrub down. Our customer was so pleased that he had us clean almost every single one of them.

If you need to clean your production equipment or simply need to complete a yearly cleaning, give us a call at (800) 739-7949. We would be happy to help you complete your cleaning project. Visit our dry ice blast cleaning page at

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