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Most carbide suppliers use a common convention to describe the application range of a carbide grade. Understanding this designation system will make it easier for you to quickly select the correct carbide grade from a catalog and increase the probability of choosing wisely.

In most cutting tool catalogs, you will come across a “code” that looks like “P05-P15” / “K30-K45” etc… What does it mean?

Format:

Xnnmm

Legend:

Letter X: The material group for which the grade should function. The material is designated with a letter and a color code:

  • P – Steel
  • M – Stainless Steel
  • K – Cast Iron
  • N- Non-ferrous
  • S – Superalloys
  • H – Hardened Steel

Numbers – nn & mm: A number between 5 and 45 in increments of 5 (05, 10, 15…45) representing the “difficulty level” of the application.

  • 05 – for the Most Favorable overall condition:
    • Smooth Workpieces.
    • The workpiece is clamped very well.
    • Strong clamping of the tool.
    • A Short overhang of the tool.
  • 45– For The Least favorable overall condition:
    • Interrupted cut Workpieces.
    • Poor workpiece clamping.
    • Poor tool clamping.
    • A Long overhang of the tool.

Examples:

Example Explanation
P05-15 A grade dedocated for machining steel in very stable conditions.
P15-30, M15-30, K15-30, S15-25 An all-around grade for machining all material types (Except non-ferous) in general conditions
S15-25 A grade dedicated for machining Superalloys in general conditions.
P30-40, K35-45 A grade for machining steel and cast iron in unfavorable/unstable conditions.

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