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From many laboratory tests and developments over the years, and especially in close cooperation with customers, we know about the high efficiency of PVD coatings in numerous applications. Our technical articles provide you with expert background information on which coatings are best suited for which applications. PVD coatings are the ideal and sustainable alternative to significantly improve the performance and lifetime of precision components and service life of tools for the metal and plastics processing industry.

Screw connections play an important role in the cost-intensive and safety-relevant components used in mechanical engineering. The required internal threads are usually manufactured at the end of the production process and their production is technically demanding. If the necessary thread quality is not achieved or a threading tool breaks, this can lead to scrap or costly production interruptions. Coatings for threading tools from the Oerlikon Balzers brand ensure high process reliability, increase tool life and enable shorter cycle times thanks to their surface properties exactly designed for these applications.

In metalworking, one thing holds true: screws hold the world together. So a variety of types of threads can be found in almost all machines and units, turbines and engine blocks, gearboxes and even in everyday objects such as mobile phones. Many factors have to interact in their production, and in addition to tool parameters such as the substrate, geometry and design of the cutting edge, the coating plays an essential role.

Threading often comes at the end of production. The more complex the production process, and therefore the more expensive the component, the greater the damage would be if the tool failed. The workpiece would either no longer be usable and would have to be disposed of or be reworked, which costs time and money. In both cases, the result is high material and labor costs and lower production efficiency.

Increasing requirements for threading tools
In order to save weight or material, or to enable a more compact design, shorter thread taps are often specified – another challenge for the manufacturing industry, which at the same time has to increase its productivity and reduce its production costs. The goal is extending tool service life and increasing process stability while continuing to produce high-quality threads. This can only be achieved with a low coefficient of friction, which leads to a low torque with fewer peak loads and also ensures safe chip flow during thread production.

In mechanical engineering, screws hold the world together, but without threads they are useless. High-quality threading tools coated with solutions from Oerlikon Balzers improve machining quality, increase tool service life and enable shorter cycle times. (Image Source: Shutterstock Inc.)

BALIQ – the perfect coating technology for threading tools
Only premium-quality tools can meet all these requirements and ensure an economical and reliable manufacturing process with consistent production quality together with the often tight tolerances. Where standard TiN and TiCN coatings for tool optimization reach their limits in threading, the BALIQ coating family from Oerlikon Balzers offers a more efficient alternative. It is based on S3p (Scalable Pulsed Power Plasma) technology, which intelligently combines the advantages of arc evaporation and magnetron sputtering, and it produces exceptionally smooth and defect-free surfaces.

BALIQ thin-film coatings prevent material adhesion and built-up edges even on materials that are difficult to cut. The homogeneous coating thickness distribution ensures extremely precise cutting edges. This enables a consistent chip flow, minimizing scrap and preventing expensive and time-consuming mechanical reworking. As a result, BALIQ offers significantly longer tool life, higher process reliability and greater efficiency in all application conditions.

BALIQ AUROS – a special coating for steel and cast iron
BALIQ AUROS (AlCrN+TiN) has been specially developed for forming and tapping in alloy and carbon steel. While the AlCrN base layer offers very high wear resistance, the top layer has a low chemical affinity to the material to be machined and is therefore a reliable way to prevent material build-up. Tailored coating properties, combined with a defect-free coating surface and minimal torque, enable high performance and significantly better process stability for threading tools.

When threading in medium carbon steel (C45), an end user was able to produce 4,500 threads at a cutting speed of 30 m/min – an increase of around 30 per cent compared to a TiCN-coated tool that only achieved 3,500 threads.

BALIQ AUROS is based on Oerlikon Balzers’ innovative S3p technology and reduces welding of the tool surface with the workpiece to enable top-quality tapping and forming results.

BALIQ ANTOS – the preferred choice for tapping stainless steel
Oerlikon Balzers recently introduced BALIQ ANTOS, a high-performance coating specifically designed for tapping into stainless steel. BALIQ ANTOS also has a multilayer structure: the AlCrN base layer ensures very high wear resistance, and the WC/C top layer gives it an extremely dense and smooth surface. Due to dry lubrication and a low coefficient of friction, this top layer enables a smooth cutting-in phase with lower torque peaks. Above all, these properties ensure reliable machining of stainless steels.

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    Technical Article - Reliable coatings for threading


Petra Ammann

Petra Ammann

Head of Communications Oerlikon Balzers

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