What types of workpiece materials are best suited for machining with CBN inserts?


Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) inserts are known for their excellent performance in machining hard materials. CBN is a synthetic material that has hardness and abrasion resistance second only to diamond. Therefore, CBN inserts are best suited for machining materials that are challenging to cut with traditional carbide inserts due to their hardness and abrasiveness. Some of the materials that are well-suited for machining with CBN inserts include:

Hardened Steels: CBN inserts are commonly used for machining hardened steels with a hardness level of 45 HRC (Rockwell C) and higher. This includes tool steels, die steels, and other high-strength steel alloys. They can provide high material removal rates and extended tool life in these applications.

Cast Iron: CBN inserts are effective for machining cast iron materials, including gray cast iron and ductile iron. They offer superior wear resistance and can maintain consistent cutting performance in cast iron applications.

High-Temperature Alloys: CBN inserts are suitable for machining high-temperature alloys, such as Inconel, Hastelloy, and other nickel-based and heat-resistant alloys. These materials are known for their high hardness and toughness, making CBN inserts a preferred choice for cutting them efficiently.

Hard and Brittle Materials: CBN inserts are ideal for machining hard and brittle materials, including ceramics and sintered carbides. They can provide precise machining with minimal tool wear in these applications.

Powder Metallurgy Components: CBN inserts are commonly used for machining components made from powder metallurgy processes, including hardmetal (cemented carbide) parts. These materials can be challenging to machine with traditional tooling due to their high hardness, but CBN inserts excel in this regard.

Superabrasive Materials: CBN inserts are suitable for machining materials that are considered superabrasive, such as composite materials with abrasive additives. CBN's wear resistance makes it an excellent choice for cutting through these types of materials.

Hardened Bearing Steel: CBN inserts are often employed in the manufacturing of precision bearings, where hard materials like bearing steel require machining to tight tolerances.

It's important to note that while CBN inserts offer excellent performance in machining these materials, proper cutting conditions, tool setup, and coolant strategies are essential to maximize their efficiency and tool life. Additionally, the specific grade and geometry of the CBN insert should be selected based on the material being machined and the machining process parameters.

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