Böhler-Uddeholm Powder Technology

Böhler-Uddeholm, with the addition of the new powder steel facility in Kapfenberg, Austria, has moved to the forefront in powder steel technology and quality. This plant has allowed Böhler-Uddeholm to become one of only two companies in the world and the only one in the North America to have the ability to produce powder steel using the latest Third Generation Powder Metallurgy technology.

The advantage of powder steel is primarily the favorable structure and the properties of the bars. Quick solidification during powder production produces a very uniform and fine distribution of carbide. This gives tools a greater strength and hardness and ultimately extends their lifetimes considerably. Powder steel is manufactured mainly in three stages:

  • Gas atomizing of a melt to a fine powder
  • Encapsulating the powder into a thin-walled steel container
  • Compacting the capsules under high pressure and temperature to a totally solid and homogeneous ingot.

The latest development in this process as a result of the third generation is High Isostatic Pressing (HIP). This is a form of compacting that yields homogeneous capsules in a more cost-effective way than ever before.

The main areas in which powder metal products are used are cold workplastic forming and cutting applications. The steel is used in those areas where stress on the tool is extra high and where conventional steel is inadequate. Specifically, Böhler-Uddeholm powder steel brands include VANADIS and MICROCLEAN.