A Review on the Advantages of Powder Metallurgy PartsSeptember 14, 2018
Powder Metallurgy equipment is gaining traction, which is to say the gear is finding its way into more industrial settings. Is this because there’s no forging equipment to operate? Developed as a powder compaction process, there’s no furnace or poured metals, which then have to cool before they can be ejected from their castings. No, sintered metals are compacted and heated, and there’s even a process option that allows for additive mixing. Surely those advantages have earned the tech an advantages-promoting review, yes?
Advantage Promotion: The Environmental Benefit
Having made that decision, let’s start with the no-wastage perk. Since the powder is pushed into its final shape by a die, there’s no wasted heat or materials to deal with on the factory floor, nor are there any processing chemicals to dispose of after the production line has finished its work.
The Machine-less Production Method
Using precisely manufactured dies and inserts, a component is pressed into shape. That action can be initiated repeatedly, and it’ll always yield dimensionally consistent end-cycle products. Optionally, the process may incorporate some minor post-finishing work, but very little machining will go into that extra work. More likely, the post-production stage will heat treat or polish the almost finished workpieces.
Equipped with Capillary Action
Powder metallurgy equipment uses a T-shaped processing aperture, right at the start of the sequence. On one arm of the T, there’s the powder. For the other end, a waxy or liquid lubricant enters the mixing chamber. Churned until it’s a homogenized blend, the powder/lubricant mix leaves the sintering process with a porous structure, one that’s filled with trace amounts of friction-minimizing oil. Sintered bearings, for example, feature a self-lubricating design.
Slow-moving forgings eject after an age. Meanwhile, in a sintering station, the powder and additive recipes can be altered at a moment’s notice. If the production numbers have dropped, it’s not hard to give those figures a bump. Higher volume runs are easier to establish. Moreover, different alloys, no matter the grade, all react similarly to the sintering process. Traditional metal forming techniques simply can’t match that advantage.
The malleable mountains of atomized powder mirror the production line’s most versatile processing attributes. Still, even equipped with what’s essentially a flexible product forming method, the results exit the machinery with consistently dimensioned product profiles. There’s no waste, no excess thermal energy, and usually no machine shop stage to squander on an otherwise healthy productivity margin. Instead, turnkey metal forming work comes through, with its workpiece forming mechanisms opting for powdery recipes, not molten metals and their inflexible, intransigent forging moulds.
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