Fette Compacting’s turret and tooling designs make it possible to rapidly produce high-quality steel products. This is in part due to the strict standards we follow—we match our heat-treating process with various formulations, which greatly extends the working life of our tableting tools. In addition to applied heat treatments, we only use high-quality, high-alloy materials to create custom tailored tooling solutions.
Steel Options & Advantages
To choose the best steel material for any given application, businesses need to understand their options. The following guide explains what steel products are available and how to decide which is right for your needs.
Tooling Steel Options
The three main tooling steel options are:
- Standard (FSG-STP): This steel is tough and low-dimensional. It’s excellent for applications that require hardness, significant wear-resistance, and resistance to compression.
- Inox (FSG-IXP): Inox is ideal for Wash-in-Place (WiP) production and offers high corrosion-resistance.
- Premium (FSG-PRP): Premium steel tooling is resistant to wear and adhesive materials. It’s also extremely hard and durable.
Die Steel Options
Options for die steel include:
- Standard (FSG-STD): Standard die steel is ideal for applications that require a higher corrosion-resistance than standard FSG-STP steel tooling. It also provides low dimensional change, high resistance to compressive forces, and good ductility. It’s resistant to both adhesive and abrasive wear.
- Inox (FSG-IXD): Inox die steel is similar to FSG-STD, but it’s more resistant to corrosion. This die steel works best for WiP applications.
- Carbide Inserts (FSG-CID): Carbide inserts are ideal for applications that require an extremely hard material that must also resist significant wear.
Segment Steel Options
The three segment steel options are:
- Standard (FSG-STS): This material displays high hardness and significant resistance to both compressive and chipping forces. FSG-STS also offers low dimensional change and good resistance to general wear.
- Inox (FSG-IXS): Highly resistant to wear, FSG-IXS is ideal for WiP production and other applications that require non-corrosive materials.
- Carbide Inserts (FSG-CIS): Carbide inserts are hard and extremely resistant to wear.
In addition to selecting the material type, companies must also make informed decisions about their tooling vendor.
The following conditions are necessary for creating high-quality steel:
- Carbide size and distribution
- Grain size
- Homogeneous microstructure
After determining which vendors have the resources to produce quality materials, you should also evaluate their products based on three criteria: the steel composition, hardness, and heat treatment.
The unique characteristics of each steel formulation, such as its compressibility, will impact which steel will work best for the intended application. For example, sticky products benefit from steels with a higher chromium content, as this formulation improves performance. On the other hand, applications that require high wear resistance can use steel formulations with high levels of carbon and vanadium.
Rockwell hardness is the measurement of a material’s ability to resist localized plastic deformation. The hardness of steel directly correlates with several other mechanical properties, including:
- Wear resistance
- Tensile strength
- Compression strength
However, while a high level of hardness increases a material’s resistance to abrasive conditions, it also reduces the material’s ability to withstand an impact. The converse is also true: lower levels of hardness reduce a material’s resistance to abrasive wear but increase its ability to sustain impacts.
Heat treating steel determines precisely how hard the metal becomes during production. The process physically alters the mechanical properties of steel, transforming its crystalline lattice structure into a more stable form. The arrangement and concentration of chemical phases are also modified during heat treatment.
There are three carbon alloys that change concentration during the tooling process:
When steel is in its pre-hardened, annealed state, it will have high concentrations of ferrite. Once hardened, the steel will consist largely of martensite, the strongest of these three carbon alloys. However, hardened steel will also contain less austenite. This alloy forms while the tooling is held at approximately 1500° F to 2100° F, also known as the Austenitizing temperature.
If a technician makes a mistake during heat treatment, the steel can be destroyed, even if the original materials were high-quality. Conversely, proper heat treating techniques can greatly improve the quality of even mediocre steel. Because heat treatments have such a profound impact on the finished product, it’s crucial to work with an expert.
Fette Compacting Solutions
For decades, Fette Compacting has produced exceptional tablet presses that maintain high levels of efficiency throughout their lifetime. To find out more about our offerings, or to work with us on your next tooling project, contact us today.