Development of Next Generation Nanocomposite Coated Tools for Machining

Project: Research

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The R&D partnership between General Motors and the City University of Hong Kong began in 2001 to develop superhard nanocomposite coatings for machining applications has resulted in a patent application in 2004 and a resulting patent in 2006 on multi-layered coating process to deposit TiSiN coating on tungsten carbide drills for manufacturing. In 2004, we attempted a validation of a modified carbide drill to improve a specific drilling application at a GMPT engine plant in St. Catharines. Unfortunately, the coated drill lasted only one production shift.In the process of determining the root cause of the unexpected failure, Kennametal (KMT) shared their expertise on the metallurgical and honing aspects of the coated tools. KMT’s in-kind contribution in evaluating the performance of the coated drills under simulated manufacturing conditions identified that adhesion and edge preparation were the critical parameters leading to the undesirable tool wear. Therefore, the optimal process to depositing superhard nanocomposite TiSiN coating on carbide drills will have to be determined for the machining of carbon steel. Kennametal’s capability to conduct the tests under simulated manufacturing conditions for drills with different metallurgical compositions for the metal removal of carbide steel, cast iron, other alloys and composite materials is unique. Collaboration with KMT will be essential as we move from the research to developmental phase with a global tool manufacturer. The addition of Kennametal as an R&D partner will complement the work since proprietary treatment of the drills before and after the coating process are essential. The test facility at Kennametal’s headquarters in Latrobe, PA offers an industrial scale testing facility capable of simulating manufacturing conditions is ideal for pre-validation testing. CityU will be working closely with Kennametal to adopt of their proprietary procedures to prepare the drills before and after the PVD coating process. When satisfactory testing is complete at KMT, GMPT will arrange for validation testing in a production facility at St. Catharines.


Project number9230054
Effective start/end date1/07/0721/01/10