Cemented carbides were invented as
a class of materials by Karl Schroter in 1923 and were first
used in wear applications on machinery and wire-drawing
processes. With the introduction of tantalum and titanium to the
WC-Co materials, the cutting tool industry became a major user
of cemented carbides.
In the 1940's cemented carbides
were introduced to mining applications and in 1951 they were
introduced to drilling applications for hard rock drilling using
various amounts of cemented carbides "inserts" in each
bit. The bit proved to be very successful, and by the mid
1960's the "cemented carbide Insert" bit was used
almost universally for hard rock drilling.
Today most major manufacturers of
drilling bits utilize cemented
tungsten carbide inserts, and insert bits
account for the majority of all bit sales for oil and gas
drilling in the U.S. The percentage of Insert Bits used in
international oil and gas drilling is up proportionally and as
deeper holes are drilled this percentage will increase.
Mining applications, blasthole
drilling, raise bore drilling, and tunneling continue to be
large consumers of these products. This extended drilling
continues to be a strong economic factor for drillers of oil and
gas because as the cost of changing bits increases, it is more
economical to use the longer lasting insert bits.
Through the year 2010 and beyond
the expected ramp rate of insert bits can be projected to
increase as the demand for energy becomes more prevalent.