Cold-work tool steels are used for tools that are generally not used at temperatures above approximately 200°C. A tempering effect that reduces the original hardness of the steel due to exposure to higher working temperatures during use must be avoided.

The demands made on cold-forming tool steels are wide-ranging. The appropriate coordination of the content of alloying elements Si, Mn, Cr, Mo, Ni, V and W with the carbon content allows the production of steels with various properties. High-alloyed cold-work tool steels combined with a high carbon content offer a high level of wear resistance and high compressive strength, while the low-alloyed steels and steels with a low carbon content demonstrate a significantly greater toughness and adequate compressive strength with a reduced level of wear resistance. The steel must therefore be selected according to the most important stress criteria.

The range of applications of cold-forming tool steels also includes steels intended for use in plastic processing. In addition to the aforementioned properties such as good wear resistance and adequate compressive strength, it must be ensured that the steels are economic for use in machining or cold hobbing, have good ability to be polished and - where aggressive plastics are involved - an adequate level of corrosion resistance.

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