Tool grades

High-speed steels

High-speed steel is a term given to a tool steel material that can be used to machining at high speeds.

The origin of high-speed steels dates back to 1861, when an Englishman developed the first high-speed steel. The high-speed steel developed was carbon manganese tungsten type (C-Mn-W) with a carbon content of 1.5%~2%. Then in 1898, in the USA, engineers called Taylor and White succeeded in developing a high-speed steel that maintained it’s hardness under high temperature conditions. This was achieved by heating a high carbon tungsten chromium (C-W-Cr) steel with a carbon content of 1% near to its’ melting point, this was followed by quenching then a tempering process.


This step forward in heat treatment of steels was revolutionary and for about 80 years thereafter, high-speed steels played a major role as cutting tool materials. Presently, approximately 30% of cutting tools are made of high-speed steels and new types of high-speed steels with superior cutting performance are still being developed.