Ametek SMP Eighty Four, a division of Ametek Specialty Metal Products and based in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, USA, states that it anticipates a growing demand for its stainless steel metal powders from the Indian automotive industry. According to Ametek, most of the world’s major car manufacturers now have operations in India, with the automotive sector being a significant contributor to the country’s economy. As the industry prepares for the introduction of stricter emissions regulations, vehicles will need to be fitted with stainless steel exhaust systems.
To meet the resulting growth in demand which Ametek SMP predicts for its stainless steel water atomised powders, the company states that it is investing substantially in India. Ametek Eighty Four produces structural powders typically used in a variety of manufacturing processes, primarily press and sinter Powder Metallurgy, Cold Isostatic Pressing (CIP), Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) and roll compaction, but including metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Metal Injection Moulding (MIM). Ametek’s metal powders are manufactured in accordance with strict quality standards and certified to ISO 9001 status.
For the automotive industry, the main stainless steel alloy powders used are 409L and 434L, as well as 304L and 316L.
300 series powders are austenitic stainless steels typically used for press and sinter PM applications to make near net shape parts for a variety of applications. 304L is a corrosion-resistant material that exhibits good property stability below 1000 degrees F, making it a good choice for parts that will not be subjected to demanding machining operations. 316L offers the highest degree of corrosion protection available in standard stainless steel grades, providing very good strength at extremely high temperatures.
The key reasons for using 400 series stainless steel atomised powders in the production of automotive components can include their good atmospheric and saline corrosion resistance, hot oxidation resistance and elevated temperature yield strength, as well as their comparatively low cost. Components produced using these powders include exhaust flanges and exhaust support brackets, as well as rear-view mirror mounts, sensor rings and seals. 409 is a ferritic, weldable grade of stainless steel, which is said to offer high compressibility, enhanced green strength and good sinterability, while 434 is a low-carbon stainless steel used in mildly corrosive environments.
The major advantage of metal powder-based manufacturing technologies for the automotive industry, typically a replacement technology for stamping or machining, is a reduction in material costs. Because the process enables the production of components to net shape or near net shape, little scrap metal is produced in comparison with traditional manufacturing technologies.