Are you getting the most out of your punches and dies, or just carrying on?


Complacency is one of the biggest contributors to low productivity on the shop floor. Every time a machine is taken offline for a punch or die change due to wear or breakage, production comes to a grinding halt. Too often shops take this inconvenient truth as just part of the process, consistently using the same tool material just because it’s always been done that way.

Being more selective and better aligning material choices with specific job requirements can effectively increase the service life of each tool many times over, resulting in improved throughput, better quality and reduced costs.

By selecting the optimum material composition for a given job, common failure issues can be balanced to achieve maximum overall tool life. Based on the mechanics of the job, including pressure, speed and part material, the following represent typical pitfalls to be minimized or eliminated:

  • Chipping is typically the most common tool steel problem; careful consideration must be given to material hardness vs. fatigue resistance
  • Wear is directly related to carbide type and the amount of material loss during the tool’s service life; the goal is to get long wear without other issues arising
  • Die deformation can occur over time when the pressure exerted during the process exceeds the compression strength of the tool steel
  • Cracking can happen when the processing stresses are greater than the fatigue resistance of the tool steel
  • Galling, or the build-up of part material on the tooling can be anticipated and often avoided or minimized based on material and surface treatment

When stamping and forming one thing is for sure, tooling will wear out, but when the same type of failure is consistently stopping production, or overall service life is below expectation, it’s time to take a closer look at your tool steel. The key to extending service life is to start with the right material, one that combines the best performance and wear properties for a specific job.

For the past fifteen years Hudson Tool Steel has been supplying customers around the country with the very best tool steel, backed with exceptional service and technical support. Hudson Tool Steel stocks all standard grades and sizes of tool steel as well as high speed steel and specialty grades.

Thanks for reading –

Jon Dean
General Manager, Anaheim