Pros and Cons of Machining vs. Powder MetallurgyMarch 29, 2022
A wide array of manufacturing processes can now be utilised and conducted by manufacturers in producing parts and components. But two processes that are popular among manufacturers today are machining and powder metallurgy.
Machining is a process wherein pieces of materials from workpieces are cut to achieve the required shape, size, and other specified requirements. Normally, this process relies on tools and machines to generate quality parts and components that will be used for creating machines and many more. Powder metallurgy, alternatively, generates parts and components by heating metal powders below their melting points and compacting them to the desired specifications.
If you want to know the best process for your production, here are some factors that showcase the pros and cons of machining and powder metallurgy.
When it comes to design flexibility, powder metallurgy is generally better than machining due to the nature of its process. You see, powder metallurgy is an additive process. Hence, the design for the parts and components will start from scratch, making it possible to meet the part designs right away. This process, however, cannot form features like cross holes and undercuts due to the axial compression brought by the movement of the punch into the die. Machining, alternatively, may generally have some difficulties in design flexibility because of its subtractive nature.
Accuracy and precision are elements in manufacturing processes that industries often consider. Thankfully, powder metallurgy can generate parts and components with minimal errors. The process of powder metallurgy allows manufacturers to customise the required microstructure of the products, reducing the need for secondary machining. Machining, however, can provide better dimensional precision, especially if the process has been automated by computer numerical control (CNC).
Aside from the design and accuracy, machining and powder metallurgy still have some differences in terms of quality. The quality of machining relies heavily on the level of technology it utilises. Machining that is done by CNC tools can achieve high-quality products. Alternatively, manual machining may not yield the same level of quality as opposed to its automated counterpart. Powder metallurgy, on the other hand, can often achieve high-quality parts and components out of common to advanced materials. With powder metallurgy, these products can yield better corrosion resistance, strength, and hardness.
When it comes to strength, machining processes are recommended for materials that can accommodate high tensile forces and impact loads. And so, machining can be effective in producing high-performing parts and components. Powder metallurgy, on the other hand, cannot process similar products since their materials would boast tiny holes. Fortunately, sintering can already make products strong.
For the cost, powder metallurgy takes the lead over machining due to a couple of reasons. First, powder metallurgy does not require stringent process steps. It likewise processes materials efficiently, reducing scrap by a huge percentage. Powder metallurgy also consumes less energy than machining, which makes the process sustainable in the long run. This process, however, cannot be used for short product runs due to high per-part and tooling costs. Instead, machining can be effective for tiny production runs.
To know more about these processes, you can call us at PM Distributors.
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