Diamond is known as a material with impressive characteristics. Even the name, Diamond, which stems from the ancient Greek word “αδάμας” – “adámas,” translates to unbreakable. In particular diamond is the hardest mineral known and also has the highest thermal conductivity. These two traits, in addition to its abrasion-resistance, make Diamond quite a popular material in the industrial tooling area. To illustrate the level to which diamond tools surpass carbide tools in regard to hardness, one only has to compare each materials value on the Knoop hardness scale. While synthetic diamond generally rates between 5000 to 7000, the average hardness for a carbide tool only has a value of about 1700 to 2400.
Polycrystalline Diamond tools are an established, well accepted solution for high volume production. They have long proven to be an investment in quality AND productivity in addition to providing substantial savings in tooling costs.
Based on case histories, polycrystalline diamond tools can outlast a carbide tool by a ratio of roughly 300:1. However this takes into account a wide range of materials machined. So, while one machinist may achieve a ratio of 50-fold life span for a diamond tool cutting very abrasive material, another may outrun his previously used carbide tool by 800 times on a solid wood application.
Today, diamond tools have earned their position in most every woodworking, composite, plastic and solid surface cutting application. From routing and edge-banding, profiling, sawing, jointing and grooving to slotting and hogging; diamond tools are used in almost all cutting tool applications.
Today’s modern manufacturing facilities are running expensive CNC machining centers with constant demand for higher output and lower unit costs being paramount. Most CNC machinists have recognized the value of diamond cutting tools. Elimination of downtime alone can result in a significant reduction in tooling costs, not even taking reduced sharpening costs, stocking needs and lost production into consideration.
Although diamond tools may not be the solution to every tooling issue, they should not be excluded from consideration without a thorough analysis of the potential advantages. With today’s ever-increasing demand for higher efficiency and lower costs, the toughest material may just solve the toughest tooling problems!