Metal alternatives to tungsten carbide

The Problem

  • Over reliance on tungsten carbide in manufacturing tools, such as cutting blades
  • Given its durability and resistance to high temperatures, it is more desirable than steel
  • Due to its high demand, the compound  is now 'at-risk' on the European Commission's critical raw material list.

Our research

  • A five-year EU-funded project to develop metal- ceramic composite alternatives to tungsten carbide
  • Worked in partnership with SME C4 Carbides based in Cambridge
  • Our research improved quality issues affecting one of their key products, a specialist cutting tool.

Research Impact

  • Propelled C4 Carbides from a niche SME to a global leader in specialist cutting tools
  • Generated over £50 million in retail sales
  • Benefitted multinational tool providers such as Stanley Black and Deck, Bosch and AEG.