Rolled Alloys



PRODEC® Quality Bar

PRODEC® (PRODuction EConomy) bar products are used to increase productivity and efficiency by enabling the use of high speeds and feeds with less tool wear. PRODEC bar meets all standard ASTM, AMS, ASME and QQ-S specifications, while carefully controlled chemistries and physical properties ensure consistent quality.

The manufacturing process of PRODEC bar allows for high quality machining from heat to heat. With strict limits on the chemical and physical properties, the PRODEC manufacturing process also controls the composition, size, shape and distribution of the non-metallic inclusions so that they are favorable to machining operations. Oxide inclusions are no longer the primary cause of tool dulling, and under the right conditions they can provide lubrication between the tool and chip. The tool will last longer even under extreme machining conditions. PRODEC bar products are available in 303, 304/304L, 316/316L and 17-4.

Machining Standards

Austenitic stainless steels can be difficult to machine because:

  • These steels are relatively poor conductors of heat, which means that cutting produces localized temperature increases.
  • Common deoxidation practice leaves behind inclusions capable of dulling even cemented carbide tooling.
  • Austenitic stainless steels undergo strain hardening if mechanically deformed.
  • When your tool is dulled by hard inclusions, it pushes the austenitic stainless steel rather than cutting it, forming an extremely hard surface layer.
  • The high hardness of austenitic stainless steels make for tough cutting and poor chip- life.
  • The material tends to stick to the tool, producing a built- up edge and aggravating tool wear.
Machining test showing cutting speed that gives a tool lifetime of 1000 mm drilled length.

Machining Practices

Using correct cutting processes can save time and money. Whether it is “common stainless” or PRODEC quality, there are certain machining practices that should always be used with stainless steels.

Machining practices for austenitic stainless steels:

  • The machine should be rigid, and the tool and work piece should be rigidly mounted.
  • Vibration is highly detrimental to tool life.
  • A large nose radius of the tool should be avoided to minimize vibration.
  • Use tools that will retain sharpness. The tools should have a large positive rake, with an edge chamfer that provides a true cutting edge without excessive weakening of the cutting edge.
  • Use sufficient cutting depth to ensure penetration below the hardened zone caused by the previous cuts.
  • Replace or re-sharpen tools on a regular basis before they become dull and cause surface hardening.
  • Use adequate lubricants such as oils or emulsions with EP additives, to facilitate heat removal.
  • Use the correct cutting speed. Speeds too low will produce build-up edges, while speeds too high will produce excessive tool wear.