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Drill Bits

Cutting tools are the largest market for the process, including drill bits,
endmills, slitter knives, punches and dies.  Cryo processing also is
used to treat TiN coated tooling, HSS (high-speed steel) saw blades –
bandsaws, circular saws, jig saws, M-series blades – and carbide-tipped
saws (C-2, C-3 and C-4).   In the 1995 ASM heat treater's guide,
67 out of 77 tool steels listed have cryogenic stabilizing specified as
the only method to increase dimensional stability after heat treat.

Cryo processing also is used to stabilize aluminum and titanium,
since they are often hard to handle during machining.  In aerospace
applications, cryogenic tempering conditions the metal in aluminum
optical benches, so that large temperature variations can be tolerated
with minimal distortion.  Once a part has been cryo treated, additional
cryogenic processing will not usually make any difference.  When a
tooling manufacturer has included cryogenic treatment as part of the
process, additional treatment by the end user will usually have no effect.

Multifaceted tools or materials need to be separated into it individual
components for cryo processing, since the rates of cooling may vary
slightly between different grades of metal.  Smaller items and more
intricate tooling process better if disassembled.  It is less critical on the
larger items; for example, processing is not a problem for a cast iron
or aluminum engine block with steel sleeves without disassembly.

            Consistent Results for a Wide Range of Applications

Calsonic Yorozu Corporation, a Tennessee subsidiary of Isuzu,
uses a large HSS twist drill to manufacture chassis.  The drill is 
about 1' long by 7/8" diameter and costs about $80.  Two drills 
are mounted on a robotic arm in an assembly line and usually last
for only 100 holes.  Cryo treating the drills costs about $10 and
increases the tool's life between 20% and 50%.  Production is
now getting between 120 and 150 holes from a single drill with
less downtime.  Hexell is said to be the world's largest manufacturer
of composite materials.  The company has been Cryo treated the
tooling used to cut Kevlar, titanium and aluminum during production.
They are a large tool buyer, and the 300% increase in tool life from
cryogenic tempering saved them about $1/2 million in tooling cost
during 1197.  The treated tooling includes ¼” and ½” endmills, 
about half of which are coated, and a scissors shear.

       The teeth of the backhoes (called “frosties”) used to dig frozen perma-frost
       in Alaska were wearing out too quickly.  After cryo treating, the life of the teeth
       increased from about four hours to 16 hours.  In another heavy-duty
       application, a paving equipment manufacturer builds and supports paving
       equipment to mix asphalt.  The company uses 12 flute endmills, called
       “slugger bits,” to cut stainless steel.  The bits, some of which are coated
       , cost $20 to $50 each.  After cryo processing the tooling life increased
       by two to three times.

    Gears in heavy equipment or transmissions, cast iron or forged items also                                       can benefit from processing.  When the military tested cryo treating     helicopter gears in the 70’s, they found that the process improved durability                     and reduced noise, which turned out to solve several problems in combat.  Noisy working environments are improved through cryo treatment by providing greater longevity and safety for gears and moving parts. 

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