When it comes time to select an aluminum tooling plate product, manufacturers, no matter what the industry, must consider a number of factors that will impact the efficiency, quality, and cost of the production process. Two of the most popular tooling plate alloys are ATP-5 from Vista Metals and K100-s from Alpase, and it can be tough to choose between them.
What is ATP-5?
ATP-5 is known to be a versatile aluminum tooling plate suitable for a wide range of applications. Vista Metals markets it for its consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics, and it is especially recommended when dimensional control is of critical importance. It offers both high speed cutting rates and exceptional feed rates. This allows ATP-5 to reduce the time required for machining and makes the entire production process more efficient.
What is K100-s
K100-s is widely recognized for its fine grain meaning it doesn’t have any internal stresses. This allows it to be more stable while machining and means you don’t have to worry about distortion. Under the right circumstances, K100-s is able to maintain tolerances within the thousandths range. Because of its high corrosion resistance, you don’t need to worry about protective treatments.
How do they compare with other options?
When customers are choosing a tooling plate, they are usually considering the advantages and disadvantages when compared with rolled alloy plates of 6061, 2024, and 7075 alloys. In general, ATP-5 and K100-s have less variance in thickness tolerance, less flatness deviation, better welding characteristics, better anodizing, and better machinability.
ATP-5 and K100-s are great options when stringent flatness tolerances and dimensional control are primary considerations for your application. In comparison to rolled plate alloys, both ATP-5 and K100-s are produced with a precision, machined finish with a very strictly controlled thickness and flatness tolerance.
They are both vacuum and pressure integrity guaranteed as well. Common applications they can be found in include automotive and aerospace fixtures, and plastic molds, such as injection and blow molds, as well as in industries that employ assembly and machining jigs and fixtures.
How are they similar?
One important factor to consider is the different methods used to produce the tooling plates. The billets used to produce ATP-5 and K100-S are both manufactured employing a vertical DC casting process. This process offers a billet that is almost completely porosity free and with a structure that is guaranteed in vacuum and pressure applications, such as plastic molds, heating & cooling plates, low pressure manifolds, vacuum forming tools, and more. Compare that to other tooling plate products, such as Alcoa’s Mic-6, which due to the horizontal casting process have greater porosity that more likely results in defects.
ATP-5 and K100-S are both made from 5083 aluminum alloy. This alloy is known for its higher strength and elongation properties, its high corrosion resistance, its strong anodizing response, its excellent painting qualities, and superb welding characteristics. 5083 is known to have the highest strength of the non-heat treatable alloys.
How are they different?
But ATP-5 and K100-s have important differences too, such as flatness tolerance. ATP-5 is flat with .005 inches on gauges five-eighths of an inch thick or more. Meanwhile, K100-s is only flat within .01 inches on gauges five-eighths of an inch or more. For this reason, K100-s is not offered in plates that are flat within .005 inches.
Other differences include the fact that the standard widths that ATP-5 comes in are 48.5”, 60.5” & 72.5”, compared to 38.25”, 48.5” & 60.5” for K100-s. The brinell hardness for the former is 70, while for the latter, the hardness ranges from 60-70. The modulus of elasticity is 10.1 ksi x 10 cubed for the former and 10.3 ksi x 10 cubed for the latter. For a closer look at the exact specifications, check out this helpful comparison chart.
What are their common applications?
ATP-5 is commonly found in computer & electronics, pharmaceuticals, medical testing equipment, packaging machinery, printing machinery, thermoforming tools, machining fixtures, drill jigs, index tables, mold cooling & heating plates, templates, vacuum chucks, food machinery molding plate, automotive, and base plates, proving that it is extremely versatile.
K100-s is frequently applied in drill jigs, vacuum chucks, assembly jigs and fixtures, printing machine components, aircraft parts, automotive tools, plastic and rubber molds, CNC routing tables, medical instrumentation, vacuum chambers, electronic parts, templates, hydro press form blocks, prototypes, foundry patterns, circuit printers, and food machinery.
Overall, as can be seen from the above comparison, ATP-5 and K100-s have many similarities. The primary difference between the two is their individual flatness tolerances. But when it comes to complex manufacturing applications, even the little differences can make a big difference, so it’s important to pay close attention to what your individual demands are and find the right fit.
Clinton Aluminum takes pride in our reputation as an aluminum supplier who works closely with our customers to ensure that they make the best choice when it comes to their aluminum alloy needs. We help our customers consider everything that matters, including performance, efficiency, and, of course, price.
Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly sales team.