Things to know
about cemented carbide


(Cemented) carbide is popularly known under the name WIDIA steel. WIDIA was the brand name introduced by Krupp in 1927 and is a contraction from the German for “hard like a diamond". The addition of "steel", however, is misleading. Carbide is not a steel alloy, but a composite material, consisting of the hard material tungsten carbide (WC) and the binder metal (CO), which is manufactured by way of powder metallurgy.

Type description

Since carbide is a composite material consisting of multiple components, the possibilities for manufacturing carbide alloys are virtually endless.

The percentages of the base components tungsten carbide and cobalt can be variegated and so can the grain size of source powders.  A variety of additives can be mixed in to limit grain growth and improve service life.

AFC Hartmetall only manufactures ultra-fine grain types with a cobalt content of 6-13%. All of the following are highly wear resistant types of the ISO machining groups K10 – K50.

Fine material quality

The carbide quality is determined by the powder quality. For this reason, we place great value on outstanding quality at this point. Through close cooperation with our suppliers, we can use raw materials which are ideally customized for our products.

Carbides are entirely individual

To manufacture carbide which can satisfy your requirements, we have two possibilities to influence their characteristics:

  • Either, we vary the grain size of the WC raw powder
  • Or, we vary the WC/Co ratio.

A distinction is made between very fine, ultra fine and super fine grain sizes. With increasing fineness of the grain size, the hardness and bending strength grow, but the toughness declines.

If we increase the proportion of the Co in the carbide, the toughness and bending resistance increase, but the hardness declines.

Our extensive experience in powder manufacturing, in shaping and in sintering is your guarantee that the carbide you select from our range will also be convincing with its homogeneous characteristics.

We will be pleased to advise you with the selection of the optimum carbide for your needs.