Basic Process Involved in Bearing Making Using Powdered Metals

February 20, 2018

After hailing the powdered metal manufacturing process as an extraordinarily potent bearing production solution, we’ve decided to return to its roots. In our virtual product centre, we’ll describe the basic process, the techniques that use powder metallurgical science to create some of the finest bearings in the industry. What are we waiting for? Throw on a hard hat and a dapper white coat, for we’re about to see the process in action.

Furnishing the Powder Metal 

Supplied as bronze or iron, the powdered metals are produced when they enter an atomization chamber. Melted by an induction arc, the molten stream encounters a high-velocity shaft of near-solid fluid. This atomizing medium breaks the liquid alloy into countless hardened particles, which then fall and collect in a powder accumulation tank. There are, of course, other powder metal production techniques available, including a chemical precipitation method. However, the powder atomization process is more commercially popular, probably because it yields more output than other solutions.

Employing the Blending Sequence 

Viewed as a block diagram, three production nodes move into place. There’s the initial block, the powder metal stack, which sits alongside the additive/lubricant containment station. In here, oily fillers and sintered binding agents wait their turn. In the middle of this mechanized threesome, the powder blending equipment acts as a receiver and a mixer. The equipment profile isn’t hard to imagine. Like any other blending apparatus, the gear uses rotating drums and stirrers, plus a series of spinning cones to really integrate the mix and uniformly distribute the particles/additives.

Sintering: Rigid Toolset Compaction 

Pressed into shape by especially hardened tools, the bearings take shape. They form as orange-hued and silver flanged bushings, as fingernail-sized products and self-lubricating bearings that are larger than a man’s fist. It’s in this compaction chamber that the super-dense die cavities produce the bearing, but we’re not finished just yet. From here, the compacted bearings are conveyed towards the sintering station. Heated by a furnace, the alloy cooks until it’s almost ready to melt. All while the thermal energy is being poured on, the base metal is fusing, the porous substructure is taking shape, and tiny interconnected fluid capillaries are being born.

The basic processes in our virtual factory are finished. The powder was made, the additives were mixed into the powder, and the bearings were then compacted so that they gained a desired dimensional profile. Conveyed as flanged bushings, the final form was sintered. The process is at an end, although there may be a few secondary equipment stations to pass. A little machining, a heat treatment stage, then the secondary operations are done.

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