Sulzer offers a variety of coating equipment, material and services for the most complex surface applications. The company’s custom solutions based on PVD and diamond coating technologies reduce production costs, increase tool cutting rates, reduce use of lubricants, prolong tool life and improve wear resistance. Significant for gear cutting is the company’s new M.Power coating technology. “M.Power is a micro-alloyed TiSiXN-based coating that offers smooth surfaces; high hardness; high oxidation resistance; high wear resistance; low coefficient of friction; high tool quality; prevention of cold welding; and formation of built up edges,” says Annette Norin at Sulzer Metaplas GmbH.
The key strengths of the coating are its dramatic reduction of the sticking material on the cutting edge due to reduction of the surface roughness. It also boasts extremely high heat resistance.
According to Norin, Sulzer provides custom solutions through the combination of pre and post treatment of the tool surface coating material, layer architecture and system/equipment technology with which the coating will be applied. “We focus on advanced plasma-assisted/arc evaporator technology for innovative coatings,” Norin says. “APA is based on the cathodic vacuum arc and offers diverse development possibilities for new layer architectures in terms of morphology, stoichiometry, doping, multiple layers and nano layers.”
The benefits of APA include excellent coating adhesion and smooth coatings through the reduction of macro-particles. APA is also the basis for new hybrid technology.
“Customers are willing to test new coatings to determine the benefits and also to come up with specific problems and we develop solutions together,” Norin adds. “We develop coatings on our own R&D equipment and test new coating/layer designs together with our customers.”
Norin believes the hybrids mentioned earlier will play a significant role in coating technology in the future. “This technology will include hybrids based on HI3 technology, a combination of AEGD (arc-enhanced glow discharge), a plasma etching process for layer adhesion; HIPAC (high-ionization plasma assisted coating), a highly ionized sputter process; and APA Arc (advanced plasma-assisted arc), a highly ionized arc process.”
For additional coverage on coating material for cutting tools see the May issue of Gear Technology.