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Material processing

Turning and milling stainless steel - a difficult task

Beutter Werkstoffe Edelstahl Fräsen

What is stainless steel?

Steels with a high degree of purity are referred to as stainless steel (V2A, V4A). In particular, the proportion of non-metallic components must be kept within very narrow limits. Depending on the chemical composition and manufacturing process, stainless steel has different material, processing and usage properties.

The term mostly refers to the stainless steels. Corrosion resistance results from the composition and treatment of the high-purity steels.

How is stainless steel made?

Steel is an alloy consisting largely of iron and is produced by liquefying the constituents under high heat. Carbon and other alloying elements improve the properties of the steel, for example, corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is now a steel that is very pure and has virtually no non-metallic contaminants.

What properties has stainless steel?

The properties of stainless steel result from the composition of the alloy and the treatment of the steel during production. Commonly used properties of the material are:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Durability
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Good formability
  • Chlorine resistance

In what form can stainless steel be turned or milled?

Stainless steels (especially group V4A) are not easy to machine and require a lot of experience when machining. How well stainless steel is suited for machining depends on the stainless steel alloy. And thus on the hardness and toughness of the material.

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Challenges in machining stainless steel turned parts and milled parts

The harder the stainless steel alloy, the more heat is generated between the cutting tool and the stainless steel workpiece during machining. Due to the low thermal conductivity, the heat generated during machining is poorly dissipated through the chip. However, if the heat is high, the properties or shape of the stainless steel workpiece may change. The machined areas can harden (work hardening), i.e. become harder at the machined area.

The ductility of the material is also very high. The stainless steel workpiece has a tendency to warp and stick to the machining tools during turning and milling operations. Cooling during machining is an important factor for these reasons.

The right tool and the right cutting parameters for turning and milling stainless steel

Another challenge is the choice of the right cutting tool. Due to the great hardness of the material and the temperatures that arise, the tools must be very resistant.

Due to the high temperatures on the machining tool, wear on the rake or flank surface is high. This results in sticking on the tool surfaces, crumbling or chipping of the cutting edges and long chips. The coating of the tools can peel off, as often the adhesion with the chip is greater than that between the coating and the tool. The possible cutting speeds and also the tool lives are therefore relatively low.

Main application areas of stainless steel turned parts, stainless steel milled parts and the material stainless steel

  • Medical Technology
  • Automotive engineering
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Plant engineering

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Beutter is the specialist for stainless steel turned parts, stainless steel milled parts and the processing of stainless steel in small series with a high vertical range of manufacture. We offer many years of experience in developing solutions for customers and support you from parts and production planning to the finished product.


Do you have any questions? We will be happy to support you with our comprehensive know-how.

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René Meier
Vertriebsleiter / Head of Sales & Marketing

tel +49 7428 933-130