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HSS or TCT: Which is Best?

POSTED BY David McFadden / 26th February 2020

What's the difference between HSS and TCT Cutters?

Annular Broaching cutters where first introduced to the market in 1970s, offering a faster, cleaner option to produce holes in steel, requiring less power than traditional solid drills, meaning increased machine capacity and cleaner, quicker holes.

Originally used in milling machines, this type of cutter revolutionised the steel fabrication industry, leading to the evolvement of Portable Magnetic Drilling Machines, which in conjunction with cutters, allowed the operator to take the machine to the workplace, vastly speeding up the steel construction manufacturing process.

Predominantly, when it comes to choosing the right cutter for the job, one very question common in the industry is which should you choose: HSS or TCT cutters? Explore the differences between the two to discover which cutter will be the best hole making solution for your project.

HSS Cutters

HSS (High Speed Steel) type annual broaching cutters have been the traditional choice to speed up the holemaking process for the structural steel fabricator since there first inception in the 1970s when using a magnetic drilling machine.

HSS cost less than their TCT counterpart but have a significantly shorter lifespan and operate at a slower speed. They are a popular choice of cutter for those smaller, quicker projects involving most mild, aluminium and structural steel as a cost-saving solution.

Generally, the manufactured size range runs from 10mm – 65mm Diameter in cutting depths of 1” (25mm) and 2” (50mm).

HSS cutters can also be reground once they become dull, increasing the original cutting life cycle.

JEI’s own HSS cutters, including the distinguished Turbo™️Steel, offers even more advantages. The increased hardness than that of a typical HSS cutter allows for consistent cutting results. Turbo™️Steel HSS cutters are fully ground CNC Produced, making more versatile than ever, including proven performance with structural steel drilling, producing more holes than traditional HSS cutters.

TCT Cutters

TCT (Tungsten Carbide Tipped) annular cutters are fast becoming a more popular choice for the steel fabricator, especially in a more demanding market where steel construction productivity is at an all-time high.

Working on the same cutting principal as HSS broaching cutters, except with brazed carbide Insert teeth for extra strength and durability.

A lot more forgiving than HSS cutters, especially on maintenance projects, such as upgrading bridges, where they are used to cut out existing bolts, and the steel can be a bit more exotic, especially as it is predominantly contains a mix of irons from bygone days.

Although seemingly more costly than the HSS cutter initially, TCT cutters are more robust and can cut multiple times more holes, operate at higher speeds and in some cases can cut through even the toughest of materials, including stainless steel and cast iron. This allows for even more in terms of productivity, cutting back on any downtime, making it a more cost-effective, premium choice of cutter for many projects.

Turbo™️Tough, part of JEI’s TCT cutter range, is one of the top choices of cutters in the industry thanks to its maximum cutting performance. The smooth cutting action increases cutting efficiency. Designed and manufactured to the highest of standards, Turbo™️Tough meets the demands of high-production hole making while offering unrivalled value.

Designed for maximum productivity in every case, be it mild steel or tougher materials such as cast iron or stainless.

Furthermore, our Turbo Tough cutters cover a huge extensive range of sizes up to 200mm diameter, with a 200mm cutting depth.

Choose with Confidence with JEI

Whether you’re considering the traditional HSS or longer-lasting TCT cutters, you will want the best option available to ensure a job well done. JEI offers the dependable solutions you need with our range of exceptional quality cutters and tools.

Still not sure which cutter fits your project needs? Check out our handy Cutter Guide for more information, or contact us today and an expert member of our team will be happy to help you find the perfect solution.