The Bottom Line
Phygen applied their patented plasma-accelerated FortiPhySM coatings to one metal forming ring as a test case. P-K Tool nearly doubled their stamping rate. When lubrication pumps failed, only the FortiPhy-coated ring survived, without galling. The ring is still in use, with over 1,000,000 parts produced.

The Numbers
With commercial coatings:
24 strokes/minute
With FortiPhy:
42 strokes/minute


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Metal Forming Success Story

FortiPhySM Low-Temperature, Thin Film Coating on Forming Ring Survives without Lubrication

Rodney Reams, tool maker at P-K Tool and Manufacturing in Richmond, KY, has tried a variety of thermal diffusion and other commercial tool coatings on his tooling. After reading about Phygen coatings in a trade journal, he recommended that his company give them a serious try. As a test, Reams sent just one of his three deep-drawing rings used in a large progressive die to Phygen for coating. Today he wishes he had sent all three. His experience confirms that FortiPhySM coatings by Phygen provide the right solution for increasing wear resistance of metal forming rings, even under the worst conditions.

P-K Tool is an industry leader in metal forming, including stamping, punching, and wire forming. Superior in-house tool and die expertise keeps the company in high demand for providing state-of-the-art tooling and design services, such as die and fixture design, process analysis, and product and process development.

A newly developed deep draw process convinced P-K of the benefits of advanced coatings. The design called for a five-station die to form a round cup from 0.050-inch thick cold rolled steel (CRS). The required two-inch draw is formed in the first three stations.

According to Reams, P-K had Phygen apply its patented plasma-accelerated FortiPhy coatings to the first drawing die (a large PM steel forming ring) as a test case. FortiPhy exceeded expectations on how tough an ultra endurance coating could be. A previous commercial coatings allowed only 24 strokes/minute at maximum lubrication before galling occurred. The FortiPhy coating now allows production runs at 42 strokes/minute—a real payoff in terms of improved productivity!

During a production run at the new, higher rate, lubricant stopped flowing for ten minutes. Reams inspected the tooling and found that most of it was badly galled. Only the FortiPhy-coated ring survived, even though it was doing the most stressful forming on the line—an initial draw where heat and wear are highest.

P-K replaced the damaged rings and put the line back into production. They now have run more than one million parts without polishing or touching up the original FortiPhy coated ring, even though it once ran for 10 minutes without lubrication.

The key to FortiPhy's exceptional toughness, low coefficient of friction, and corrosion resistance is its uniform, nanocrystalline structure. Phygen’s patented plasma acceleration process improves upon traditional PVD to produce the most uniform coating deposition layer possible, with exceptionally high adhesion.

Having solved the uniformity problems inherent in the PVD processes of the past, Phygen now can apply thinner coatings that outperform thicker, less-uniform coatings. In addition, Phygen's coatings are applied at much lower temperatures. Low-temperature processing and thinner coatings help keep critical tool dimensions within tolerance, without the costly rework of other processes.

P-K Tool read about Phygen's FortiPhy corrosion resistant coatings and wanted to give them a try. Now, P-K is planning to send future forming tools to Phygen for coating—in fact, it's now an order from the corporate office. According to Reams, FortiPhy's performance, even without lubrication, is a clear indication of the kind of productivity insurance that good coatings should provide. Regarding Phygen's performance, Reams says, “The service was great and turnaround time was fast. I would highly recommend it to anybody.”


Phygen Coatings, Inc.
1400 Marshall Street, NE / Minneapolis, MN 55413-1040
Toll Free 888.749.4361 / Fax 612.331.4230 / tech@phygen.com