Our Projects

Cutting Tools using Additive Manufacturing

Project description and overview:

Tungsten carbide cutting tools account for 70% of the cutting tool market, with the 30% balance being High Speed Steel (HSS) tools. China produces 84% of the world’s tungsten carbide and Chinese Government controls on supply of this material in the last 10 years has resulted in prices for tungsten carbide becoming highly volatile

As an innovative alternative, ANCA has been working with CSIRO to develop an additive manufacturing (AM) process to produce a near net shape tool with a hardened cutting edge which can then be finished using a grinding process. A 6-month pilot project was completed in early 2019 which proved that an additive manufacturing machine can successfully deposit a matrix with acceptable cutting performance.

The near net shape of the cutting tool means less material is used and less material needs to be removed in the grinding process, reducing waste and saving processing time. It makes sense to try and incorporate an additive manufacturing process inside the ANCA machine to eliminate this double handling process.

This project will position ANCA as a global leader, since there does not appear to be any dedicated hybrid machines. There is the potential with a new ANCA machine platform that the entire tool manufacturing process can be automated from start to finish.


  • This project will enable ANCA together with its project partners to develop a patented and world leading technology, which has the potential to add significant value to manufacturing processes across many global industries, such as mining (drills, drill buttons, buckets and blades), aerospace (turbine blades), agriculture (blades and augers) and other manufacturing (hardened journals).
  •  A significant number of carbide tools are manufactured in China and imported into Australia due to a lower cost base. The more competitive nature on the new ANCA manufacturing process will allow Australian manufacturers to replace these imports in sizes 30mm and above.


  • ANCA conservatively estimate a revenue increase of AU$9.80 million per annum


  • Five to 10 skilled jobs including research engineers

Government Funds: $390,000 | Industry: $390,000 | In-Kind: $1,483,000


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