Advanced surface engineering technologies (physical and chemical vapour deposition) have been successfully applied to high speed steel and carbide cutting tools, and the potential benefits in terms of both performance and longer tool life, are now well established. Although major achievements have been reported by many manufacturers and users, there are a number of applications where surface engineering has been unsuccessful. Considerable attention has been given to the film characteristics and the variables associated with its properties; however, very little attention has been directed towards the benefits to the tool user. In order to apply surface engineering technology effectively to cutting tools, the coater needs to have accurate information relating to cutting conditions, i.e. cutting forces, stress and temperature etc. The present paper describes results obtained with single- and multiple-point cutting tools with examples of failures, which should help the surface coater to appreciate the significance of the cutting conditions, and in particular the magnitude of the forces and stresses present during cutting processes. These results will assist the development of a systems approach to cutting tool technology and surface engineering with a view to developing an improved product. © 1991.
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