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Tungsten Carbide Powder

What is Tungsten Carbide?

The carburization of pure tungsten powder creates the alloy tungsten carbide. The International Tungsten Industry Association provides an outline of the conventional carburization process that produces it. WC is the chemical formula for the resulting powder, so it is also referred to as WC powder.

Tungsten carbide is a very hard material. In a pure form it is too brittle to be used in many applications. Cemented carbide parts are are made by pressing and sintering to overcome this. The parts made by this process are often called hardmetal parts.

Making Hardmetal Parts

Tungsten carbide powder is combined with binder materials such as cobalt or nickel powder to create hardmetal. The binder materials make finished parts that have better durability and toughness. The powders are pressed into a shape in a mold at a very high pressure. The resulting piece is then sintered in an oven at a very high temperature to melt the binder materials and bond the part together. The individual WC particles are suspended in the melted binder materials.

A common product made from WC powders is cutting tools. Hardness is an important property in this application. Tungsten carbide tools are more expensive than steel. They cut several times more material before they wear out. Efficiency improves because the tooling does not need to be replaced as frequently. In your local home improvement store you see labels like "carbide tipped" on may of the drill bits and saw blades. This indicates that they have a hardness that will allow them to last longer. 

Other Carbides

Hardmetal parts that are made with tungsten carbide are often referred to simply as carbide. Other forms of carbide are produced through a similar process.

If you are looking for a carbide material with the greatest hardness make sure that you have tungsten carbide and not titanium or tantalum carbide. The other carbide materials are used in applications where the toughness or other properties take priority over the hardness.

Tungsten Carbide Powder Supplier

Buffalo Tungsten produces tungsten carbide powder in a wide range of particle sizes. We produce standard powders from 0.8 microns to 50 microns and use special carburization techniques to make larger particle sizes. The carbon content is carefully monitored and the level of free carbon is reported on our standard certificate of analysis. We also use tungsten carbide powder in our engineered powders that are used for infiltration applications.

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Tungsten Carbide Thermal Spray Powder

What is thermal spraying?

Tungsten carbide thermal spray powder is a leading surface coating material. Thermal spraying is a process that applies a powder as a surface coating to improve or repair the surface of a material. The powder is used to make your parts last longer or build up a part that has worn down. Thermal spray powder is fired onto a metal substrate in thin layers to cover the surface. It is applied with a spray gun at a high velocity to form a strong mechanical bond. The velocity comes from heating gas to build up pressure that goes through a nozzle. A basic overview of the thermal spray process is found here from the ASM Thermal Spray Society. They also describe various types of thermal spray coating applications. Thermal spray powders are frequently used instead of plating or heat treating processes that are less effective or more expensive.

Why is Tungsten Carbide a Good Thermal Spray Material?

The chemical symbol for tungsten carbide is WC. Tungsten carbide is an extremely hard metal, as decribed in this article by AZoM. It is an excellent choice as a thermal spray powder to use on parts that need high wear resistance. The thin coating of tungsten carbide material allows the part to last longer before requiring repair or replacement.

A common tungsten carbide powder is known as 88-12, or WC 12Co. This refers to the composition of the powder, which is 88% tungsten carbide (WC) and 12% cobalt (Co). The cobalt is used as a binder material. Other binders such as Nickel or Chromium are used to achieve different properties. Other binders are better for oxidation or corrosion resistance. There are several different combinations of binder materials to choose from to achieve the properties that you desire.

Thermal Spray Powder Manufacturer


Buffalo Tungsten produces high quality tungsten carbide thermal spray powder. We make agglomerated, sintered materials. These powders provide dense, hard surface coatings with excellent wear properties at low temperatures (<500 C). Buffalo Tungsten's thermal spray powders are used in a wide range of industries. They have application on things like pump casings and various shafts. There are several standard powders to choose from. Custom powders are made based on customer needs.

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Lead Free Tungsten Radiation Shielding

Radiation can serve useful purposes in fields such as medical diagnostics and treatments or power generation. Radiation can also be harmful to our bodies if we are exposed to it in high concentrations. It is associated with cancer and causing damage to our cells. In order to be kept safe from the damaging effects of radiation when it is used we need to be properly shielded from it. Tungsten is an excellent material for radiation shielding because it has an extremely high density. At 19.3 g/cm3 tungsten is among the most dense of all the metals. This property helps it to act as a barrier to damaging x-rays, gamma rays and other types of radiation.

Buffalo Tungsten is a manufacturer of the high density tungsten powders that are used in radiation shielding for various industries. The tungsten powder is typically compounded with rubber or plastic in order to mold it into different shapes. A commonly known medical application is the aprons and vests worn when you have an X-ray taken at a doctor or dentist's office. Our tungsten powders are also used in radiation shielding for power generation applications such as nuclear reactors. Tungsten will help shield the pipes that run to and from the reactor. These products have been traditionally made of lead, but the toxicity of lead has made the safe disposal of it expensive. With a higher density, thinner and less bulky shielding products can be produced from tungsten.

When tungsten is used it is often referred to as lead free shielding, which has formed an increasing segment of the market. Some examples of lead free radiation shielding are manufactured by companies such as Lancs Industries. If you manufacture any type of lead free radiation shielding products Buffalo Tungsten can supply the tungsten powder materials that you need.

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Electrical Contacts

Buffalo Tungsten has been supplying tungsten powder for electrical contacts for over two decades. Electrical contacts are the metallic points that come together to complete a circuit. When they are in contact, electricity can flow through them. When they are not in contact, the flow of electricity is interrupted. Circuit breakers are a common household example of electrical contacts that most people are familiar with. There are also many commercial and industrial uses for electrical contacts. In other common products they are used on motors in appliances and  hey are used in relays and switches for control systems. They are typically made with a highly conductive metal such as silver or copper. They can be mixed with tungsten powder to improve their resistance to wear and oxidation. Tungsten carbide powder is also used in various types of contacts.


Contact us for more information about how our tungsten materials can be used to improve the performance of your electrical contacts.

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International Tungsten Supply

Buffalo Tungsten is an international tungsten supplier to dozens of countries, from Norway to New Zealand. We can supply full container loads or urgent air shipments to help keep your production going. With our experience in global logistics we can provide the support needed to get your tungsten powder materials to your door on time and in excellent condition. We provide the import documentation you need to clear your shipment with local customs authorities. We understand that each country has different shipping regulations, so we work with our international customers on things like packaging materials and labeling to make sure that things go smoothly. We offer high quality materials for a wide variety of industries to make sure that you have the best tungsten powder for your specific application and equipment.  

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Small Business Designation

It has been said that best things come in small packages, and at Buffalo Tungsten we believe it's true. By the standards of the U.S. Small Business Association, Buffalo Tungsten is classified as a small business. While we are large enough to supply full containers or truckloads of material, we are small enough to provide a high level of flexibility and customer service.

Buffalo Tungsten is small enough to maintain a sole focus on producing tungsten powder, tungsten carbide powder, and thermal spray powders. This is all that we do 24/7, so after more than thirty years we have become experts. 


We are an independent producer and are not in competition with our customers, so all of our technical knowledge goes to helping our customers make the best products possible from our tungsten materials.


Since we are small we can provide personal service and interaction with the people who are on the front lines in the factory. You will speak with someone who can walk a few steps and adjust a machine or process to help you get the changes you need immediately.


We have the flexibility to adapt to changing needs in the marketplace. Decisions are still made at the lunch table and not in a board room, so we are always willing to try new things and make changes to improve our products.


Being small allows us participate in SBA contracting programs. Buffalo Tungsten qualifies for small business set asides for U.S federal government contracting purposes. 

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Made in America

If you have a need to source tungsten powder products that are Made in America, Buffalo Tungsten would love to be your supplier. We provide a high quality, competitively priced alternative to foreign sources. Buffalo Tungsten has only one location and all of our operations are in Western New York. We are one of a very small group of companies that can supply tungsten powder and tungsten carbide powders that are truly Made in America.


There are companies that import tungsten powder from other countries and sell them in the United States. Just because materials are repackaged and sold by a US company does not mean that it originated in the United States. If the products have not undergone a substantial transformation (e.g. chemical reaction) they maintain the origin of the country in which they were produced. For example, if you purchase material from a US trading company that imports tungsten powder from China, there is a good chance that you are not using material that is Made in America.


It is true that we bring in raw materials such as tungsten ores and concentrates from other countries because there are no active tungsten mines in America to meet the demand in our country. However, the materials that we import undergo a substantial transformation to tungsten powder through chemical reactions that alter their composition and use. This allows us to issue a Certificate of Origin listing the United States of America as the country of origin. A very basic overview of our process shows some of the transformations that take place.

If you need confidence that your tungsten and tungsten carbide powder products are Made in America, look no further than Buffalo Tungsten to meet you needs!

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Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory Systems

At Buffalo Tungsten, we are committed to providing the level of quality, reliability, and responsiveness that our customers need to make a JIT system possible if they so choose. As a U.S.-based producer, we can offer our North American customers especially short lead times that allow us to quickly respond when their systems demand tungsten powders. If you’re a user of tungsten powder looking to implement a JIT system, or just to reduce your inventory levels, contact us today to discuss how we can be the reliable supplier your company needs. The Just-in-Time inventory system has become increasingly common in the business world in recent years. JIT is a “demand-pull” system in which each component in a production line is only produced as needed by the next stage in the process. Demand triggers each step of the production cycle (Datar & Rajan, 2018). The goal of JIT is to minimize inventory and carrying costs, freeing up capital for other uses. References: Banton, Caroline. (2020). Just in Time (JIT). Investopedia. Retrieved from: https://lnkd.in/ftYgXQd Datar, Srikant M. & Rajan, Madhav V. (2018). Horngren’s Cost Accounting: A managerial emphasis. USA. Pearson.
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Social Distancing Logo

Buffalo Tungsten has created a social distancing logo with a message of hope...

Although there are bigger issues in our world at this time we stand ready to provide a supply of tungsten powder to meet the needs of those who rely upon it to manufacture essential products in the medical and defense industries.

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Operating at Capacity

Buffalo Tungsten produces essential materials and continues to operate at normal capacity during the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. You can be assured that we can continue to meet your demand for tungsten materials.

Although we have an exemption from New York State to remain in operation, we are not conducting business a usual in many respects. We have taken steps to monitor the evolving risk and safeguard our employees and their families. We have educated our workforce on the best ways to avoid exposure to the virus and prevent spreading the virus to others. We have limited physical interactions between employees, made additional personal protective equipment available, and increased the frequency of sanitizing our facility to mitigate risk.

New York State has taken measures to reduce the community spread of the virus by requiring non-essential businesses to “reduce the in-person workforce at each business/work location by 100%...” Exemptions have been made for what are deemed to be essential businesses which allow Buffalo Tungsten to continue to operate.

https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

We pray for the safety of our suppliers and customers and their families during the spread of this virus and the COVID-19 disease. We have faith that it will soon pass and we will be in a stronger position to face future threats.

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