PM-11 Conference Report: “Power of Powder” seminar reviews the story of PM in India, and looks to the future
In the second of our exclusive reports, Professor Ramamohan Tallapragada, provides a brief overview of the Power of Powder (PoP) seminar, organised by Höganäs India Pvt. Ltd, prior to the main conference.
Over 150 specialists from automotive and non-automotive OEM’s, tier 1 suppliers and component manufacturers attended the ‘Power of Powder’ seminar organised by Höganäs India on 2nd February 2011. The one day event was held at the Westin Hotel, Pune, and highlighted the development of powder metallurgy technology in India as well as demonstrating the possibilities for PM in the future.
The day began with a welcome from Srini Srinivasan, President of Höganäs India, followed by an overview of the technical services offered to new and developing PM part producers by Höganäs’s PoP centre in Sweden. Alrik Danielson, CEO & President of Höganäs AB, stressed the importance of the value chain and stated that “we are committed to India and will support the Indian PM Community to the full through the PoP Centre.”
Nagarjuna Nandivada, from Höganäs, illustrated the competitiveness of PM technology and provided various case studies that included the development of synchroniser hubs and connecting rods. “The development of a PM component requires the proper integration of materials, processes and design using a systematic approach,” he stated. “About 70% of our powders are ready to use mixes designed to develop specific properties in a component.”
The development of PM in India
Nandivada continued by explaining the historical evolution of PM technology in India over five stages. Stage one, he stated, was the first use of PM technology for the production of low to medium strength parts by small presses for non-automotive applications. Stage two began when PM components found applications in the automotive sector, but with a low penetration of less than 1Kg per car.
Stage three was the participation of Suzuki and Isuzu in India, when usage of PM grew to around 5 Kg of PM parts per vehicle, used in engine and transmission applications. “This stage was concurrent with the start of Höganäs India in 1987 to support local developments” he added. The introduction of light commercial vehicles by TATA and Hyundai constituted the fourth stage, with increasing use of PM parts. According to Nagarjuna, powder metallurgy in India is now in the fifth stage of development and he added, “Höganäs will help anyone who is interested in going on to this stage.”
The evolution of the PoP centre
Eckart Schneider traced the evolution of Höganäs from a producer of sponge and atomised powders in the 1960’s, through distalloys, stainless steels, lubricants and bonded mixes in the mid 1980’s. He continued by discussing high technology powders for soft magnetics, high density and high performance PM parts in the early 2000’s and PoP centre services in 2010. “Next will be systems integration/engineering by 2020,” commented Schneider, “Our PoP centre integrates materials expertise with process conditions and design aspects, making PM technology a first choice for OEMs.”
This was achieved, it was stated, by forming a team of experts working towards the best suitable powder based solution, including Alvier PM Technology for toolmaking, Dorst Technologies for compaction presses, EMAG for joining and laser welding, Swepart Transmission AB, Profirol Technologies, Sandvik Coromant and several others based on the required expertise.
Expanding the market for PM gears
Dr Anders Flodin, Höganäs AB, Sweden, explained the steps involved in the conversion to PM gears. Reverse engineering of the transmission, redesigning, micro designing and final manufacturing are the main steps he stated. Dr Flodin presented work on the fourth gear pair in a rally car made by PM, and stated that the gear had shown excellent results after its first season. “The next step is a complete rally car gear box,” he added.
Several applications of PM parts in automobiles were also illustrated by T Schmidtseifer, Höganäs AB, Sweden.
Further presentations from industry partners
The development of a high performance alloy (Hipaloy) for cost efficient production of high performance structural components through high compaction pressures and high sintering temperatures was discussed by Paul Skoglund, Höganäs AB, China.
Pressing and tooling technology and the solutions provided for the team were respectively discussed by Michael Mittnacht, Dorst Technologies and Peter Rauch, Alvier AG.
Narasimhan Gopinath, of Fluidtherm, discussed the solutions provided by sintering technology by the development of fully automated furnaces for high temperature sintering, sinter hardening and pressure gas quenching, leading to the next stage of versatile sintering furnace.
High temperature brazing of PM components was discussed by Martin Stroiczek, Höganäs AB, Sweden, while joining technologies were explained by R Keller of EMAG.
During the intensive panel discussions chaired by Dr S Ashok, Höganäs India Pvt. Ltd, one user thanked the PM industry for providing oil pump rotors that provided a 30% cost saving along with much improved performance. He, as well as several others, hoped that the PoP centre will play a major role in developing improved components at lower cost.
The seminar ended with Deepak Grover, Höganäs India Pvt. Ltd, thanking all the participants and demonstrating a bicycle powered by an electric motor developed using SMC material.
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