A clinching method that uses a simple toolset consisting of a punch and a die, is utilized for joining lightweight materials. This paper is aimed at investigating the wear of the die cavity of a clinching tool. A clinching tool with a specially shaped cavity was used for joining thin hot-dip galvanized steel sheets. Various types of physical vapour deposition (PVD) coatings such as ZrN, CrN and TiCN were deposited on the shaped surface of the die using Lateral Rotating Arc-Cathodes technology. Hot-dip galvanized steel sheets were used for testing the clinching tool. The material properties of PVD coatings that were deposited on the shaped part of the clinching die were evaluated. Finite Element Analysis was used to localize the area of the shaped part of the die and the part of surface area of the cylindrical die cavity of ϕ 5.0 mm, in which high contact pressure values were predicted. The prediction of the start of the wear cycle was verified experimentally by the clinching of 300 samples of hot-dip galvanized steel sheets. Unlike the CrN and ZrN coatings, the TiCN coating remained intact on the entire surface of the die.
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