What are the common failure modes of HSS tools?

What are the common failure modes of HSS tools?

HSS (High Speed Steel) tools are commonly used for machining operations in the manufacturing industry, but they can fail due to several reasons. Some of the common failure modes of HSS tools are:


HSS tools can wear out due to constant use and abrasion. This type of failure is commonly seen on the cutting edges of the tool.


HSS tools can crack due to excessive heat buildup during the cutting process. This can also happen if the tool is improperly manufactured or used.


HSS tools can chip if they are subjected to high stress or if they encounter hard materials during the cutting process.

Edge deformation:

HSS tools can suffer from edge deformation due to excessive heat buildup or if they are subjected to high stresses during the cutting process.

Built-up edge:

This occurs when material from the workpiece adheres to the cutting edge of the tool, resulting in a rough surface finish and reduced tool life.

Thermal softening:

HSS tools can become soft due to the high temperatures generated during the machining process, leading to poor cutting performance and reduced tool life.


HSS tools can be corroded by coolants or other chemicals used in the machining process, leading to rust and pitting on the tool surface.

Improper tool geometry:

If the geometry of the tool is not appropriate for the specific machining operation, it can lead to premature failure of the tool.

Improper usage:

If the operator of the machine does not use the tool properly, such as by applying too much force or incorrect cutting parameters, it can lead to failure of the tool.

Material selection:

HSS tools are not suitable for all machining applications, and selecting the wrong type of tool material for a particular job can lead to premature tool failure.

To avoid these failure modes, proper training and education of machine operators and proper tool selection and maintenance are important. Additionally, using alternative tool materials such as carbide, ceramics, or polycrystalline diamond (PCD) for specific applications can help reduce tool wear and failure.

To prevent these failure modes, proper selection of cutting parameters, tool geometry, and coolant/lubricant are important. Regular maintenance and inspection of the tools are also crucial to identify early signs of wear or damage and prevent catastrophic failures.

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