Böhler-Uddeholm Powder Technology
Bohler-Uddeholm, with the addition of the new powder steel facility in Kapfenberg, Austria, has moved to the forefront in powder steel technology and quality. This plant has allowed Bohler-Uddeholm to become one of only two companies in the world and the only one in the United States to have the ability to produce powder steel using the latest third generation technology.
The advantage of powdered steel is primarily the favorable structure and the properties of the bars. Quick solidification during powder production produces a very uniform and fine distribution of carbide. This gives tools a greater strength and hardness and ultimately extends their lifetimes considerably. Powdered steel is manufactured mainly in three stages:
- Gas atomizing of a melt into a fine powder
- Encapsulating the powder into a thin-walled steel container
- Compacting the capsule under high pressure and temperature to a completely solid and homogeneous ingot
The latest development in this process as a result of the third generation is High Isostatic Pressing (HIP). This is a form of compacting that yields homogeneous capsules in a more cost-effective way than ever before.
The main areas in which powder metal products are used are cold work, plastic forming and cutting applications. The steel is used in those areas where stress on the tool is extra high and where conventional steel is inadequate. Specifically, Bohler-Uddeholm's powdered steel brands include UDDEHOLM VANADIS and BOHLER MICROCLEAN.