PM-13 India: Pre-conference events reveal potential of Powder Metallurgy in India

March 19, 2013

As highlighted in our first report on the “PM-13 International Conference & Exhibition on PM for Automotive and Engineering Industries”, 7-9 February 2013, India, organised by the PMAI, there were a number of notable pre-conference events.

These included a “Power of Powder” seminar organised by Höganäs and a panel discussion hosted by Battelle India. Professor Ramamohan Tallapragada reports exclusively for ipmd.net.

Power of Powder-2 Seminar

PM powder producer Höganäs organised a “Power of Powder-2” seminar on 6th February 2013 at the Hotel Westin, Pune. The event attracted around 150 delegates from automotive and non automotive OEM’s, Tier 1 suppliers and component manufacturers.

The seminar began with a presentation from Srini V Srinivasan, CEO of Höganäs India, who after welcoming participants explained how Höganäs India is actively encouraging ‘PM entrepreneurs’ whilst also helping existing components manufactures with new grades of powders and component technologies.

The versatility of Powder Metallurgy technology and its global nature was discussed in detail by Hans Söderhjelm, Vice President, Marketing & Product Development, Höganäs AB Sweden.

Dr Anders Flodin, a gear expert at Höganäs AB Sweden, illustrated the design and development process in adapting a Smart Car to use PM gears, highlighting the fact that PM offers lighter and stronger gears. The car, he stated, was up and running with over 120,000 km on the odometer, having a goal of 200,000 km. Reverse engineering had indicated that all gears can be made with Powder Metallurgy except for those cut on shaft, and the redesign shows an 8-20% weight reduction depending on the gear. The energy savings during acceleration with the light weight gear design are around 6%, added Flodin.

An overview of Japanese PM technology was presented by Dr Yoshinobu Takeda of Höganäs Japan, with overviews of the Korean and Chinese markets presented by Paul Skoglund, Höganäs AB.

fig-1_1

Fig. 1 Cost comparison of the processing technologies for connecting rods (courtesy Metaldyne LLC) 

The status and overview of the North American Powder Forged (PF) con rod business was discussed by Dr Edmund Ilia of Metaldyne LLC. As can be seen in Fig.1, the use of powder forging for the manufacture of automotive con rods can result in considerable cost savings. Net shape forming improves material utilisation by up to 40% compared with conventional forged steel and can offer improvements in fatigue strength, stiffness and weight variation.

Nagarjuna Nandivada, Höganäs India, then presented an overview of PM technology in India (Fig. 2). Following analysis of the production statistics of two, three and four wheeler vehicles in India, Nandivada had enumerated the current level and type of components produced by the Indian PM industry. Nandivada predicted that the next level of PM components would include higher strength gears, helical gears, PF con rods, wear components, assembled camshafts with PM cam lobes and stainless steel flanges for exhaust systems etc.

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Fig. 2 Automotive sales in India (courtesy Höganäs)

Nandivada suggested that future contributions from Höganäs India could be in the areas of special products for wear alloys and stainless steels, capability for the manufacture of prealloyed Ni-Mo materials, the development of cost effective lean alloys, machinable clean mixes, bonded mixes, low AD atomised iron powders and last but not the least technical services and PM promotion.

Eckart Schneider, Global Marketing Manager PM Components, Höganäs AB, Sweden, described the “Power of Powder” concept as providing value added services to customers and OEMs, and helping to identify and develop new business opportunities. The aim, stated Schneider, is to improve the competitiveness of PM versus other manufacturing processes, whilst at the same time reducing time, cost and risk for new PM applications and process developments.

Auto application trends and opportunities for PM were discussed by Thomas Schmidtseifer of Höganäs Germany. Camshafts assembled from PM components, stated Schmidtseifer, are almost 50% lighter than those manufactured from conventional technologies, with lower inertia and emissions. Schmidtseifer identified the use of PM variable valve timing (VVT) components in hydraulic systems and electrical systems of the engine, along with current and future trends of PM in manual transmissions. Various initiatives being undertaken for the use of PM in electrical drives were also discussed.

A presentation by Jean-Marie Pierson, Dorst Technologies, looked at advances in compaction technology in the areas of metal powders, technical ceramics, magnetic materials, hardmetals and special materials. Pierson discussed the applications of high speed mechanical presses from 6 to 450 tons, hydraulic presses from 15 to 2000 tons, electric presses from 15 to 160 tons and sizing presses of various tonnages. The latest developments illustrated included helical part sizing, multilevel closed loop control sizing, synchronizing hubs with 15 strokes per minute, a high speed adaptor transfer system for large presses and new applications such as interconnector plates for fuel cells.

Tooling solutions were discussed by Peter Rauch, CEO of Alvier PM Technology. A detailed presentation covered various tooling options and included the special tooling developed for the Höganäs PoP Center and the latest achievements in helical gear compaction.

The recent developments in sintering and heat treatment technologies to achieve high densities and hardness were discussed by Narasimhan Gopinath, Managing Director, Fluidtherm, India. The seminar ended with a presentation from Deepak Grover of Höganäs India, discussing the various ways in which Höganäs can provide ‘PoP’ support to the PM industry.

 

Innovation and product development in India: Special focus on particulate materials

A second event, also held on February 6, was hosted by Battelle India and consisted of a panel discussion on ‘Innovation and Product Development in India – with special focus on particulate materials’. More than 40 CEO’s and R&D heads from various organisations associated with particulate materials attended the meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Pune.

Battelle India MD and CEO, Shalendra Porwal, showcased their R&D expertise and discussed the utility of a multi client approach. Battelle India is a nonprofit organization set up to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Porwal discussed Battelle’s model of contract R&D as a way to bring faster innovation and product development. Battelle protects the client’s interest by maintaining secrecy, stated Porwal.

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Fig. 3 Shalendra Porwal, MD & CEO Battelle India, and Dr Abhay Firodia, Chairman Force Motors

Dr Abhay Firodia, Chairman Force Motors, was the chief guest for the evening. He talked about the need for carrying out cost-effective R&D which has use in a final product. He emphasised the importance of going from concept to incubation and finally industrialisation. He discussed how products in India should be developed keeping in mind the requirements of India, particularly rural areas. Battelle has a great role to play in this field by not only solving problems but also by instilling the importance of carrying out research with an end result in mind.

Prof T R Rama Mohan, retired professor IIT Bombay, discussed the need for decentralising R&D. He talked about the product development chain in the particulate material industry and challenges faced by the industry.

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Fig. 4 The panel included (left to right) S Panse, T R Rama Mohan, Sunil Earath, D Varshney and V Srinivasan

Srini V Srinivasan, CEO of Höganäs India, Deepak Varshney, Chairman, Star Group of Companies, S. Panse (Retired GM Materials Technology Tata Motors) and Prof T R Rama Mohan served as panelists for the event, representing the various areas of particulate materials namely powder production, manufacturing of components and end use of powder metallurgical parts. Battelle India’s VP Operations, Sunil Earath, moderated the panel discussion. Battelle India scientists discussed R&D requirements and needs with representatives from various organisations.

It was an exciting evening that showed great promise for future R&D collaborations in the field of particulate materials. The event was followed by a dinner hosted by Battelle India.

 

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March 19, 2013

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