As anybody who works in the machining or manufacturing industry knows, cutting tools are subjected to a lot of use, and they have a lot of opportunities to become worn down. The cutting tools in the average manufacturing facility may have to cut through many kinds of metals, plastic, or other extremely sturdy or dense materials. Not only that, but they must do it repeatedly, under extremely high pressure and often at very high temperatures. That can take a toll on any cutting edge.

So how does tool wear happen? Basically, a cutting tool does its job by removing material from whatever part it’s cutting, so that the finished product has the right shape, size, and surface finish. The better honed a tool is, the more accurately it can perform this function. But the friction that allows the tool to remove the necessary material also wears on the tool edge itself and will eventually cause the tool to fail if it isn’t properly maintained. In short, as the cutting-edge slices away the material on the part that it’s machining, a little bit of it is lost to the friction as well, which causes wear and can eventually lead to damage.

Tool wear comes in a variety of patterns and types, including crater wear, flank wear, notch wear, chipping, and fracturing. Crater wear typically forms parallel to the major cutting edge and can reduce cutting force and weaken the strength of the edge. Flank wear usually results from the abrasive wearing of the cutting edge against the surface being machined and happens steadily over time. Notch wear generally occurs adjacent to where the cutting edge intersects the working surface and can be caused by machining materials with an abrasive outer skin or materials with work-hardening characteristics like stainless steel and heat-resistant nickel or chromium alloys. Chipping is when a particle (or chip) of the tool breaks off. This is especially common in tools that are not used under continuous cutting conditions, or tools with built-up edge formations. Fractures are like chipping, except that a distinct break appears in the cutting edge. This is often caused by imperfections in the material from which the tool is constructed, or from severe stresses or temperature fluctuations.

Regardless of the type of wear that a cutting tool undergoes, all cutting tools are subject to getting worn down, and almost all wear can be corrected, reduced, or prevented using edge preparation solutions.

That’s where we here at Mutschler Edge Technologies (MET) come in. We produce affordable edge preparation solutions for all your manufacturing needs. Call and speak with one of our experts today and get the details on our edge prep solutions that can benefit your company.