North American Carbide has joined ARCH Cutting Tools and is making the transition to operating as ARCH Cutting Tools – Orchard Park. This change broadens our product offerings to customers and strengthens our position as Your Complete Tool Making Authority®.

Covid 19 Impacts: NAC’s Industry Solutions

Jan 24, 2022 | Carbide Inserts, Ceramic Inserts, Regrind and Downsizing

Beginning in the early spring of 2020, the trickle-down effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been staggering. In the carbide industry, this national halt has translated to increased prices and longer lead times. At North American Carbide, our goal is to continue to offer superior service to each and every customer. That is why we are pursuing a continued effort in regrinding and downsizing in the hopes of enhancing the materials our customers already have. This saves both time and material costs, helping our customers get back to work sooner.

Regrinding & Downsizing

Regrinding and downsizing are processes utilized to revive the state of an insert so it may be reused. While there are a few types of regrinding, ultimately it is the grinding down of the inserts cutting area to resharpen it and enhance its cutting abilities. In downsizing, the insert is ground down to a smaller size in order to access new, sharper material.

The following materials are all eligible for regrinding and downsizing:

  • Carbide
  • Ceramic
  • Cermet
  • PCD
  • CBN
  • Cerbide

Both regrinding and downsizing extend the lifespan of an insert and remove the need for additional material costs. This aids our customers in maintaining a competitive edge in the industry by simultaneously helping them reduce their costs and carbon footprints.

Relapping, Resetting, & Retipping

Similar to regrinding and downsizing, relapping, resetting, and retipping are all methods of reducing material waste and reusing pieces on hand. Relapping, resetting, and retipping are the methods utilized for this process on harder materials such as PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond Inserts) and CBN (Cubic Boride Nitron Inserts). PCD is the hardest man-made material in existence, making it an exceptionally wise investment as the material degrades very slowly and saves money over time.

Applications for PCD include:

  • Aluminum and aluminum alloys
  • Copper, brass, and bronze alloys
  • Zinc and magnesium alloys
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Epoxy resins
  • Plastics
  • Fiberglass composites
  • Graphite composites

CBN is an artificially synthesized material only second in hardness to diamond. CBN offers superior wear resistance to Carbide in specific applications.

Applications for CBN include:

  • Alloy steels
  • Carbon tool steels
  • Die steel
  • High-speed steel
  • Forged steel
  • Chilled cast iron
  • Meehanite iron
  • Moly chrome steel rolls
  • Inconel


In the case of both PCD and CBN, relapping is the most cost-effective method of enhancing your current insert. Relapping is the process in which the wear on your insert is measured and ground back in order to reveal a freshly sharpened cutting edge.


In this process, the wear on the insert is measured and a shim of equal or greater size is placed behind the tip of the insert. The original geometry of the tool is then ground back, revealing an as-new cutting tool.


In this process, the used tip is removed from its carbide body. A new tip is then re-brazed to the insert, eliminating the cost of a new body.

The impacts of Covid-19 on industry and production have been detrimental. However, as times change, we are continually challenged to be resilient and develop creative solutions for the issues at hand. By investing in practices that encourage the recycling of materials, we are aiding our customers in their cost reduction and efficiency. Reusing materials via regrinding and downsizing methods eliminates new production costs, reduces material waste, and shortens lead times, aiding our customers in getting back to work and recovering from the impacts this global pandemic has had.