The price of the key raw ingredient used in tungsten carbide tooling, Ammonium Para Tungstate, has spiked from around $70 a metric ton unit to more than $300 a metric ton unit in just the past year. That means manufacturers have had to pass on the increased price of making the tools onto distributors who have little choice but to pass on the cost to customers.
In the past nine months, industrial distributor The George Whalley Company has seen a 12 percent to15 percent increase in the price it is paying for carbide cutting tools. The company's executive vice president, Howard Whalley, doesn't expect those increases to slow anytime soon. It's hard to justify or explain to customers why the price is going up," Whalley says.