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Zirconia ceramic machining

Ceramics for technical applications and their advantages and disadvantages

Hochleistungskeramiken wie Zirkonoxidkeramik werden schon seit vielen Jahren in unzähligen Bereichen eingesetzt. Konsequente und permanente Verbesserungen sorgen dafür, dass der Werkstoff zu jeder Zeit den aktuellen Anforderungen entspricht.
Ceramic end mill Swissceramill

(Milling tool made of zirconia ceramic)


The 21st century poses entirely new challenges for materials. Zirconia ceramics belong to the family of high-performance ceramics. It plays a special role in applications involving severe thermal, chemical and/or mechanical stresses.


Zirconia ceramics: material for greater performance and functionality


High-performance ceramics such as zirconium oxide ceramics have been used in countless areas for many years. Consistent and permanent improvements ensure that the material meets current requirements at all times.


Disadvantages such as brittle properties are constantly being eliminated. In technical ceramics, the high-tech material zirconium oxide ceramics has thus set completely new standards and accents. Particularly outstanding are the extreme fracture toughness and exceptional flexural strength.


This provides a designer with a material that allows the benefits of its properties to be fully exploited, even in filigree designs. In addition, the ceramic has a pleasant feel and impresses with high biocompatibility as well as high corrosion resistance and durability. Furthermore, designers appreciate the aesthetic appearance.


Wide range of applications for zirconium oxide ceramics


Current situation


Today, carbide tools with individual coatings are used. One cannot deny that this development has been very good and is used today in millions of units. However, development has stopped here and new customer requirements cannot be met with coating technology.


Heat buildup on coatings is not ideal, as wear will settle on the surface of the milling tool. Over time, the coating on the cutting edge loosens and the carbide comes into contact with the metal. As a result, the cutting edge becomes dull and the quality of the parts decreases. High pressure on the tool occurs, which comes to a breakage of the carbide milling tool.


Why is zirconia ceramic the solution to this problem?


In recent years, many material developments have been made for milling tools. Pure zirconia ceramics have not prevailed. Zirconia ceramics have been reinforced with aluminum oxide to achieve higher hardness.


Another point is the improvement of the bending strength, because now high loads on bending are possible so that the ceramic cutters do not break at the smallest impacts in the milling process.


Where are milling tools made of zirconia ceramics used?


Milling tools made of zirconia ceramics are very popular for high-performance plastics such as PEEK, polycarbonate plastics with glass fiber content and carbon fiber composites. Standard plastics also work very well and can also be used.


Another area of application for milling tools made of zirconia ceramics is light metals (aluminum) and non-ferrous metals (copper and copper alloys).

We provide you with the milling strategy and cutting parameters to achieve the best success.


What tool life is possible?


After many tests on high performance plastics, light alloys and non-ferrous metals, we achieve a tool life of at least 7 to 10 times the life of carbide end mill tools. This is a huge improvement that we have developed and can now make this technology available to everyone.


What does BSQ TECH offer?


We, BSQ TECH GmbH and partners have specialized in manufacturing individual milling tools from zirconia ceramics from batch size 1 piece.

Large lots, from 10, 100 or more can be produced without any problems and must be individually adapted to the application.


What dimensions are possible?


We can offer you tools from ø1 mm to ø20 mm.


Which types are possible?


We can produce end mills, torus mills, ball mills and special shape mills in all diameters. This offer is unique in the world and is only offered by BSQ TECH GmbH.


Zirconia ceramics: delicate designs and less wear and tear


The high-performance material allowed for a significantly filigree design. At the same time, a significantly higher torque was transmitted. The components were characterized by good edge stability and fracture resistance.


Zirconia ceramic and its phases


Die geschilderten Eigenschaften sind möglich, da Zirkonoxid in mehreren Phasen existiert. Unterschieden wird zwischen der kubischen, der tetragonalen und der monoklinen Phase.
Zirconia Microstructure Ceramic End Mill

The properties described are possible because zirconium oxide exists in several phases. A distinction is made between the cubic, the tetragonal and the monoclinic phase. Zirconium oxide has been known as a high-temperature material for more than six decades. Application temperatures of up to 2000 °C are reached.


In order to develop a material with outstanding mechanical properties, ceramists carried out repeated tests. Metal oxides were added to the zirconium oxide as stabilizers. Yttrium oxide or magnesium oxide are particularly worthy of mention here.


Both oxides allow partial stabilization. The result of this procedure can be seen in the striking yellow MG-PSZ and in the white Y-PSZ. Appropriate control of the sintering regime results in a tetragonal microstructure with embedded nuclei of the monoclinic phase.


The challenge: The monoclinic phase occupies more space. This results in mechanical stresses and the formation of a crack structure. If cracking occurs as a result of external impact stress, the crack mesh absorbs its energy. The crack is thus reliably and effectively stopped.


Advanced ceramics: key components in technical systems


The innovation process for high-performance ceramics extends over a long, multi-linked chain of action. It begins with the synthesis of raw materials and starting materials that can be tailored precisely to the respective requirements.


It also includes multi-parameter manufacturing technologies and the guarantee of functional and/or structural material parameters. It extends to application-related aspects of reliability as well as cost-effectiveness.


Finally, the chain of effects is concluded in the issues of system integration, design and testing that are important for the respective application.


For interdisciplinary cooperation between the material disciplines as well as the various application disciplines, it poses increasing challenges. However, it also offers completely new opportunities to play a key role here.


Zirconia ceramics and the importance of advanced ceramics


High-tech materials such as zirconia ceramics are benefiting from growth in established and new areas of application. They play a key role as a performance profile for entire systems, since they have a decisive influence on competition.


In addition to pure materials competence, this position increasingly requires in-depth knowledge of the system technologies of the applications. For the orientation of future developments, this strengthens the role of the user industry to a considerable extent and leads increasingly to own developments.


In some cases, this also results in the production of ceramic system elements. In many industries, ceramic key elements have been indispensable for decades. There, they contribute to an increase in the value of advanced ceramics within high-quality technical systems such as fuel cells, gas turbines or diesel injection systems.


Advanced ceramics for plant and mechanical engineering and chemistry


The field of chemical, mechanical and plant engineering applications places a wide range of specific demands on ceramic material properties. At the same time, the challenges with regard to adequate and cost-effective manufacturing technologies, component design and system integration of ceramic components continue to increase.


In the field of plant and mechanical engineering, there is very strong competition with other classes of valuable materials. Their cost structure always makes it necessary to prove their superior properties.


The targeted dissemination of application benefits and above-average new or further technological developments provide the basis for this. Effective developments cannot be pursued in isolation, i.e. not only from the ceramic side. Close exchange with the application industries is therefore essential.


The aim is to increase users' willingness to adopt ceramic solutions by providing targeted information on material developments and design. At the same time, it is important to create an understanding on the part of the user in the ceramics industry of the special requirements in the context of manufacturing during the further processing of the ceramic component.


Finally, it is important to ensure trouble-free integration into the various plant systems. Unsuitable standards can sometimes be an obstacle for ceramic materials and their use. Joint developments are desirable in order to jointly overcome these difficulties of convergence.


Typical fields of application


High-performance ceramics such as zirconium oxide ceramics are ideally suited for the manufacture of ceramic plain bearings, seals, valves or control elements. Among other things, they are used in pump applications.


Special and new designs and new developments of materials can extend cost- and time-intensive inspection intervals. One of the challenges is to achieve the expected service life even under difficult operating conditions. This can be achieved through greater robustness, for example in the area of plain bearings.


Functional applications for biological and chemical processes


Substance separation is one of the most important process steps in the field of process engineering. These methods include the following processes:


- distillation

- extraction

- adsoprtion

- rectification

- Membrane separation


Especially in membrane separation and adsorption, ceramic materials play an essential role. The selective transport of substances is realized by defined porosities, pore sizes and by specific interactions with the material surface.


In aqueous applications for ultrafiltration, microfiltration and nanofiltration, they have proved particularly suitable for various applications. In the food industry, ceramic materials are used for sterilization and clear filtration of beverages.


The chemical and pharmaceutical industries also use ceramic products for wastewater treatment. Here, the focus is on small and highly contaminated wastewater streams.


Bath maintenance, for example oil/water emulsions or cleaning baths in mechanical engineering and metal processing, can be realized economically with ceramic materials. Other applications include product separation and product cleaning. Casein separation from milk can be mentioned as an example.


Zirconia ceramics and high-performance ceramics for mobility


Thanks to their outstanding structural and functional properties, advanced ceramics have played an indispensable role in automotive technology for many years.


Ceramic films for the production of hybrids in electronic control systems, components used in cooling water and fuel pumps, or piezoceramics for knock and distance sensors are just a few examples.


As a result of changes in automotive technology and the associated pressure to act, there is growing interest on the part of automotive manufacturers in integrating ceramic components in the exhaust and powertrain.


Meet the challenges for your company



BSQ TECH GmbH has been an experienced partner for decades, developing ceramic products tailored to your requirements. We accompany you from the first idea to the completion of the final product. Please feel free to contact us.


We are looking forward to meeting you!

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