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The Bottom Line
Beckett Gas, Inc. called for Phygen's patented  FortiPhySM tool coating to toughen stamping dies. This resulted in consistently more hits per tool with less distortion, compared to  TiCN PVD coating.

The Numbers
Case 1:
With TiCN coating:
200,000 hits
With FortiPhy:
262,000 hits

Case 2:
With TD coating:
400,000 hits
With FortiPhy:
600,000 hits

See Other Metal Forming Success Stories with FortiPhy High Performance Surface Coating

Die Casting Success Stories about FortiPhy Corrosion Resistant Coating

Injection Molding Success Stories with FortiPhy PVD-based Tool and Die Coating

See Other Emerging Application Success Stories where FortiPhy Chromium-Nitride (CrN) Surface Coatings Have Helped.




Metal Forming Success Story

Stamping Company Uses Tool and Stamping Die Coating for Less Rework

Beckett Gas, Inc., of North Ridgeville, OH, makes gas burner products for water heaters and furnaces. The in-house production line turns out stampings by the millions—thirty million parts a year, to be exact. Beckett’s experience shows that FortiPhySM stamping tool coating by Phygen outperforms other coatings, and measurably increase the toughness of stamping dies.

Phygen Coatings’ stamping die coating used in dies, molds and tools.
Beckett Gas stamps millions of these gas-burner parts, relying more and more on Phygen CrN tool coatings to maximize hits between sharpenings. Forms on the inshot burners, 2.5 to 3 in. wide, are critical, including the plenum area and the form edge, with a tight 0.030-in. radius.

According to Rick Roth, Beckett's tool and die foreman, “Our engineering team constantly presents us with design challenges that have caused us to continue fine-tuning our stamping operations. Forming aluminized cold-rolled sheet, much of which is 0.035 in. thick, to standard tolerances on burr height (10 percent of material thickness), with increasingly tight form radii (as tight as 0.030-in. radius), has led us to investigate our choices of tool steels and tool coatings. Aluminized stock makes for a very abrasive material and can really tear up a die.”

Beckett understands the benefits of continuous process improvement, and it monitors results closely. In one particular part, used to make the inshot burner for the most popular furnace burner, D2 tool steel produced 60,000 to 80,000 parts before unacceptable burrs necessitated sharpening the die. A switch to powdered metal (PM) tool steel doubled tool life.

The next logical step was application of a PVD tool coating. With the addition of a TiCN multiple-layer coating, the PM tool life increased by 50 percent, raising output to 200,000 parts between sharpenings. While happy with the increased production, the downside of the hot-process coating was obvious. Roth explains, “We'd get form tools back from the coater and in some cases, form rings would shrink by as much as 0.007-inch because of the hot coating process. We'd have to send the tool back and have it fixed, further delaying production.”

Roth contacted Phygen after learning about the lower application temperature of FortiPhy UltraEnduranceSM coatings. “The Phygen coating goes on at only 950° F,” says Roth, “therefore it does not cause any distortion to our tools.” In addition to a reduction in distortion, Roth found FortiPhy coatings made his tooling even tougher. “The result,” he said, “was another 25-percent increase in the number of hits between sharpenings.”

Stamping tool coating, including CrN coating, help reduce wear and friction.
An inshot die reveals an array of tool coatings, as Beckett looks to eventually coat nearly all of its form and cutting tools with Phygen FortiPhy CrN Coatings for metal stamping.
Low-temperature PVD tool coating avoids tool distortion.
Not only does the coating maximize hits between sharpenings, but it goes on colder than other coating processes, says Beckett’s Roth, avoiding distortion of components such as the form rings used in water-heater-burner flame-spreader tools.

A follow-on test in another difficult stamping operation confirmed Beckett's earlier findings. The FortiPhy coating outperformed a hot-applied thermal-diffusion coating on dies used to stamp tough, abrasive, aluminized sheet steel. In that test, hot-coated tools made 400,000 hits before the corners of the tools were destroyed. FortiPhy coating took the same tools to 600,000 hits, without the risk of dimensional change and rework that hot coatings can cause.

The key to FortiPhy coating'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 methods 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 can apply thinner coatings that outperform thicker, less-uniform coatings. In addition, Phygen 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.

Testing at Beckett Gas, Inc. has repeatedly proved that FortiPhy thin film coatings outperform other coatings, while causing less distortion. According to Roth, Beckett decided to send additional tooling to Phygen for coating. Says Roth, “Now that we've converted one die, we'll continue to send tools there as they need recoating, about one tool a month, until we convert nearly every coated tool over.”

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