The orthogonal machining process when end turning medium carbon and austenitic stainless steels with cemented WC-Co tools coated with single-layer (TiC), two-layer (TiC/TiN), and three-layer (TiC/Al2O3/TiN) hard thin films was investigated. Extensive experimental investigations including the thermal, mechanical and tribological responses of the tribo-contact between the coating-substrate system and the chip, under different cutting conditions, were carried out. The study sheds light on the cutting forces, the interface temperatures and the tribo-contact conditions, including the fxictional heat flux conducting into either the chip or the insert, the mean coefficient of sliding friction and the contact loads exerted on the tool rake face. Finally, it was demonstrated how the intrinsic coating properties control the heat flux flowing into both components of such a closed tribo-system and the mechanical stresses on the contact area.

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