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Nano, ultrafine and submicron grades

grades for carbide drill bitGrades with binder content in the range of 3-10 wt% and grain sizes below 1 μm have the highest hardness and compressive strengths, combined with exceptionally high wear resistance and high reliability against breakage. These grades are used in a wide range of wear parts applications and in cutting tools and carbide drill bits designed for metallic and nonmetallic machining for which a combination of high strength, high wear resistance and sharp cutting edges are essential.

  • Grades
  • Submicron grades
  • Grade comparisons

Ultrafine grades, an example:

grades for carbide drill bitToday the trend is towards miniaturization: digital cameras, laptops and mobile phones are becoming even smaller and are expected to include more features. This has resulted in more complex printed circuit boards with a greater number of components per surface area. To meet this demand, PCB manufacturers are compelled to drill more and smaller holes with smallers carbide drill bits. This shift in drill size has increased the demands on tool material. The smallest drill-diameter in carbide drill bits today is only 10-20 μm. To facilitate the use of tiny carbide drill bits and raise productivity, spindles with increasing rpm are being developed. It is now possible to purchase a standard PCB NC machine with a maximum speed of 300,000 rpm.

grades for carbide drill bitSandvik Hard Materials has supplied high performance Cemented Carbide blanks and carbide drill bits to toolmakers in the printed circuit board (PCB) industry since 1983. During 1986-88 the ultra-fine grades (UF grades) were developed and introduced in the market. The ultrafine grade family boosted our customers’ productivity and became the market-leading material for tools like carbide drill bits in the PCB industry.

Submicron grades, an example:

The leader in Submicron Cemented Carbides

grades for carbide drill bitSandvik has a long standing leadership in submicron Cemented Carbide grades. This is best exemplified by our grade H10F which has been the leading grade for a wide range of cutting applications such as end milling, drilling (carbide drill bits i. e.) and band sawing.

H10F is also our example of Sandvik’s philosophy of continuous improvement. Raw materials, powder processing and sintering conditions have been developed to further improve H10F’s leading performance.

Sharpness and toughness

grades for carbide drill bitSince the performance of a cutting edge depends considerably on these properties, Sandvik has designed a new Carbide Rotary Cutter concept with a grade tailored to fulfill the specific requirements. In order to get sharp cutting edges after grinding and no chips during use, a controlled fine grain size of the hard phase was developed. The binder (composition and amount) was also optimized to give excellent micro toughness required for these applications.

grades for carbide drill bitThe combination of the hard phase and binder phase results in a grade with the appropriate properties. This primarily entails high hardness (to lower the wear of the cutting edge), high micro toughness (to maintain edge-line integrity and perfect cutting), very high stiffness (to lower the bending of the cutter and flattening of the cutting edge) and good thermal conductivity (to reduce temperatures during processing).


Grade comparative