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  • June 14, 2024
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Metal Ceramic Cutters VS Ceramic Cutters: Performance and Applications Compared

In the process of mechanical machining, cutting is one of the most fundamental, common, and crucial methods in industrial production. It directly affects the efficiency, cost, and energy consumption of industrial production. Improving processing efficiency can lead to significant social and economic benefits.


In recent years, the ceramic cutter industry has seen rapid development, with modern ceramic cutting materials being predominantly composite materials. Currently, ceramic materials used in cutting tools mainly include alumina-based, silicon nitride-based, titanium boride-based, and metal ceramic series. Among them, metal-ceramic-based composite materials are a type of new material that gradually developed in the 1930s. Due to their excellent comprehensive properties such as high hardness, good wear resistance, and good thermal conductivity, metal ceramics are widely used as tool materials.



Development of Metal Ceramic Cutters

The use of metal ceramics in cutting tools began with experimental research on TiC compounds in the 1920s. In the 1950s, TiC-Mo-Ni metal ceramics were first used as cutting tool materials for high-speed precision cutting of steel. While it possessed high strength and hardness comparable to cemented carbides, its toughness was relatively poor. In order to enhance the toughness of metal ceramics and improve their cutting performance, a highly tough fine-grain TiC-TiN-based metal ceramic was developed in the 1970s. Since then, the application of metal ceramics in cutting tool development has become increasingly widespread.


Characteristics and Processing Range of Metal Ceramic Cutters

Metal ceramic cutters in the cemented carbide industry generally refer to tools with TiCN/TiC/TiN as hard phases and the addition of Co or Ni as binder phases. In many cases, elements from groups IVB, VB, and VIB of the periodic table are added as additives in the form of nitrides, carbides, and carbonitrides to enhance the mechanical and high-temperature performance of metal ceramics.


Characteristics of metal ceramic cutters:

  • High hardness;
  • Low affinity with the processed workpiece material, reducing the tendency for built-up edge formation;
  • Good chemical stability;
  • Heat resistance and good wear resistance.


Suitable processing range: Metal ceramic cutters are suitable for semi-finishing and finishing of various steel and cast iron components. When the cutting depth is below 2.5mm, the feed rate is below 0.25mm/r, and the feed per tooth is below 0.2mm/tooth, metal ceramic cutters exhibit excellent cutting performance. These cutters provide stable tool life and good surface finish for processing the mentioned materials. However, metal ceramic cutters are not suitable for interrupted cutting applications as they are prone to blade fracture.


Note: In terms of material hardness, metal ceramic cutters are mainly suitable for semi-finishing and finishing steel and cast iron components with a hardness below HRC45. For materials with a hardness above HRC45 (such as high hardness cast iron rolls, high chromium cast iron, high-temperature alloys, etc.), cubic boron nitride (CBN) or ceramic cutters are more suitable.


Comparison Of Cermet Tools, Ceramic Tools And Cubic Boron Nitride Tools

(1) Comparing the relationship between tool material development and high-speed cutting in the field of machining ferrous metals: CBN cutters > ceramic cutters > metal ceramic cutters.

(2) Comparing based on the hardness of the workpiece: CBN cutters (for processing hardness above HRC45) > ceramic cutters (for precision machining within the HRC40-HRC55 hardness range) > metal ceramic cutters (for semi-finishing and finishing within HR45 hardness).

(3) Comparing based on cutting speed and hardness of different tool materials: CBN cutters > ceramic cutters > metal ceramic cutters (in the field of machining ferrous metals);

(4) Comparing based on tool material toughness: Metal ceramic > cubic boron nitride (CBN) > ceramic cutters;


From an internal structure perspective, metal ceramic cutters still fall into the category of cemented carbide tools, rather than ceramic tools. On the other hand, cubic boron nitride (CBN) cutters, silicon nitride cutters, and alumina ceramic cutters can all be categorized as ceramic tool materials from a materials science perspective. From both an application and tool performance standpoint, metal ceramic cutters do indeed have certain advantages in specific areas over coated cemented carbide tools.

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