Compaction of Metal Powders: What is it All About?

June 25, 2018

It’s been a short but eventful journey so far. The powder has progressed from its initial ingress point. Atomized and mixed, the blending chamber tumbled and spun while exotic chemical additives and lubricating agents were decanted. Next in the processing chain, the compaction phase is applied. The consolidated mass arrives as a shapeless lump, and now it’s about to be formed. From here, the sintering process takes over.

Deconstructing Die Mechanics 

Stopping here for the moment, it’s time to break down the pressing components. While it’s true a past article described the basics, the axial and isostatic workings, it didn’t tear down the process. Check out the working components now, the geometrical complexity of the mass-shaping die and its accompanying parts. Fast and certain to produce consistently shaped components, the mechanical parts move in the following manner. Picture a lower and upper punch, two components that press down with extraordinary strength. Hydraulically or mechanically actuated, the upper and lower punch sections press inwards. They only stop when they touch the die, which is defined as the key parts-forming tool piece.

Breaking Down The Equipment 

Let’s really tear down the equipment. The ramming piston in there is capable of applying over 800-Mpa (Megapascals) of pressure. Used to process harder alloys, softer metals get by on a 70-Mpa compaction mechanism. At any rate, the forces interred here equate to several hundred tons of kinetic energy. Imagine a chalky mass of powdered metal and oil being guided into the feed shoe. With the die and punch elements pressing down, there’s still one essential piece of the puzzle to implement. Here it comes now, the core rod. Even if the die and punch segments are geometrically featureless, a bearing isn’t going to move forward to the sintering stage unless it has a cylindrical hollow. That’s the core rod’s job.

Full-Featured Equipment Lines 

Of course, these simple dies and punches don’t tell the full story. In a fully operational powder metallurgy process, the equipment assumes more detailed outlines. There are single and double-action presses, multiple die and punch pieces, and numerous ancillary machine assemblies inside the compaction stage. They function like a smooth operating collection of mechanical elements.

Deep inside the metal powder compaction section, the goal is to uniformly form the powder and additive mix into a detailed geometrical profile, a shape that’s dimensionally accurate in all three planes. On top of that function, the gear is expected to equally compress the mix so that it’s density-constant. Throughout the compacted part, from one cubic millimetre to the next, product density should remain consistent.

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