1923. A researcher from the German company Osram, Karl Schröter, had been commissioned to find a material to substitute diamond for the manufacture of filaments in light bulbs. The main issue the company found was that, in the drawing operation, all other known materials weren’t hard enough or were too brittle and the wire lost its calibre, becoming larger and larger during processing.
After several attempts, Schröter mixed tungsten carbide and cobalt powders, creating a new material with low porosity, very high hardness and good toughness. The discovery of this revolutionary new alloy was registered in a patent recognised on 30th March 1923.
A few years later this new material became known as „Widia“ (wie Diamant – as a diamond), used for the first time as a cutting tool by Krupp, a German steel manufacturer.
Today, Widia, also known in Italy as Hard Metal, has become an indispensable material in many situations.
With hardness higher than steels and a mechanical resistance superior than ceramics, Hard Metal is the reference material for the production of tools used to form, by cutting, drilling, turning, milling, cold and hot plastic deformation, materials used in the mechanical and manufacturing industry, such as steels and various metal alloys and superalloys, plastic materials and wood. In addition, carbide offers excellent wear resistance, so it is suitable for the manufacture of components that have to work under conditions of sliding wear or abrasion: e.g., in the oil&gas and mineral extraction industry, in the production of screws and bolts and reinforcing rod, in the food industry, agriculture, paper cutting, textiles, electronics and packaging, as well as in the biomedical industry.
Today, there is no manufactured product that has not come into contact with Hard Metal.
100 years later OMCD Group, as one of the leading manufacturers of hard metals since 1947, has decided to honour this material and celebrate its anniversary by bringing together the world’s leading industry players and Europe’s leading metallurgy experts in an exceptional location on Lake Maggiore, Italy.
Thursday 12 and Friday 13 October 2023 the Hard Metal Century Celebration was held, a two-day event, guided tours, seminars, debates and meetings with one common denominator, Hard Metal. The rich program included a didactic and informative moment with a series of presentations on the history of this material and its development over the century, new discoveries in the field, major research trends and future prospects. The guests had the pleasure of visiting a mine where traces of Scheelite, a mineral from which tungsten originates, were found. A guided tour of the production plants of FILMS and Scleros, in Anzola d’Ossola, was also organized. There were also moments of celebration and conviviality, with a gourmet dinner on Isola dei Pescatori, one of the Borromean Islands.
The balance of this event was certainly positive, both on the part of OMCD Group, which conceived and organized the celebration, and on the part of the guests, who participated with great enthusiasm and interest in all the activities proposed.
A video summary of the event
To download the presentations discussed during the seminar, please send an E-mail to email@example.com to ask the password
- Hard Metal Century Celebrations speechs