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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