Awards of Distinction
Automotive-Transmission: Stackpole International
An Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Transmission Category was given to Stackpole International, Canada, for a copper-steel rear planetary carrier. The component is used in a new ten-speed automotive transmission, developed jointly by Ford and General Motors and found in such vehicles as the Ford Mustang and GM Camaro.
The assembly consists of a clutch hub and a spider, which are joined using a novel sinter- brazing concept. The creative design of the ferrous carrier enabled it to win out over an aluminium casting design by delivering lighter weight and superior strength.
Automotive-Engine: AAM Powertrain
An Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Engine Category went to AAM Powertrain, Detroit, Michigan, USA, for a pre-alloyed steel VVT sprocket, which is used in overhead camshaft GM inline three- and four-cylinder engines in cars such as the Buick Encore and Envision, and the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu, among others. The six pitch inverted tooth was specifically selected to address concerns with NVH-noise, vibration, and harshness-as well as with durability and rotating mass. The part demands very consistent powder filling to achieve the extremely tight tolerances required.
Automotive-Engine: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
Another Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Engine Category was won by Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM stainless steel fuel-inlet orifice used in fuel rail systems of diesel engines in Ford vehicles. The metal injection moulded part is formed close to net shape, requiring only bright annealing to remove surface oxidation and enhance brazing.
The previously machined part was redesigned for MIM in order to overcome the difficulty of producing tapered holes from opposite ends that are free of burrs at their meeting point. The two perfectly aligned holes are achieved using two slides.
Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: SMC Powder Metallurgy Inc
An Award of Distinction in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category was given to SMC Powder Metallurgy Inc., St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, USA, for a copper-steel spacer used in a tilt steering mechanism as a pivot on an ATV/SSV application. The part is over-moulded with plastic and sees very little stress in the application. A collaborative design engineering effort converted the machined wrought part into a successful over-moulding process delivered at a competitive cost.
Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: MPP
Another Award of Distinction in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category went to MPP, Westfield, Indiana, USA, for a heat-treated nickel-steel clutch housing made for Hilliard Company. The part goes into a differential unit used in such applications as lawn/garden tractors and recreational vehicles. The high-density, high-surface-area part is symmetrical, with high hubs on each end, which are critically required to be equal in density.
Aerospace/Military/Firearms: ARC Group Worldwide
An Award of Distinction in the Aerospace/ Military/Firearms Category was presented to ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM low-alloy steel trigger bar made for Honor Defense. The nearly 75 mm (3 in) long pistol part is made up of several complex contours with thin cross-sectional areas, making it impossible to hold distortion free through sintering. Several secondary processes, utilising a high-resolution multi-view camera system, were optimised to allow micro-adjustment of each contour to meet the profile requirement, while still delivering cost effectiveness compared with the original machined part.
Aerospace/Military/Firearms: ARC Group Worldwide
A further Award of Distinction in the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category was presented to ARC Group Worldwide for two MIM stainless steel compensator brakes – a 5.56 and a 7.16 calibre – made for Sig Sauer. The parts are attached to short-barrelled rifles to redirect gases and reduce the effects of recoil. Innovative gating and sintering strategies enabled tolerances to be maintained without secondary sizing or bending operations. In a relatively untapped market for MIM, this new part demonstrates perfectly the complexity, overall size and cost-effectiveness that MIM offers.
Hand Tools/Recreation: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
An Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category went to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM stainless steel passive plus body that goes into a safety assembly of mountaineering equipment. Together with a Kevlar rope and a carabiner to which it is assembled, the part helps to lock the rope in the event of a slip.
Sophisticated shut-offs in the tooling were required in order to achieve the complex internal geometry, which is produced to net shape. A small sizing operation and heat treatment, as well as grit blasting for the part’s finish, are the only secondary operations.
Hardware/Appliance: ASCO Sintering Co.
An Award of Distinction in the Hardware/Appliance Category went to ASCO Sintering Co., Commerce, California, USA, for a stainless-steel radius-adjust head. The part goes into commercial water sprinklers where it is used to adjust the water pattern. The part’s complex shape, with a deep-cored hole opposing a deep feature, was achieved by complex tool design and press control. Significant savings were realised in both tooling costs and production rates. The part is pressed to net shape with only resin impregnating and nickel plating as secondary operations.
Hardware/Appliance: FMS Corporation
Another Award of Distinction in the Hardware/Appliance Category was given to FMS Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, for a stainless steel spindle used in a shower valve assembly, linking the handle to the cold-and-hot-water mixing valve. To avoid impractical tooling to form a step from the gear root diameter to the sealing diameter, the part is designed as a two-part assembly: a gear and a spindle that are first compacted and sintered, then assembled using automated equipment and re-sintered to bond the two parts together.
Medical/Dental: Indo-MIM Pvt., Ltd
An Award of Distinction in the Medical/Dental Category went to Indo-MIM Pvt., Ltd., India, for two permalloy parts – a cup and a cover – that are assembled to form a hearing aid enclosure. Both MIM parts are fabricated to near-net shape, with the cup only having a sizing operation to bring its overall dimensions within specification and the cover finish undergoing glass-bead blasting.
The extremely thin walls of the parts, as well as complex features such as holes, pips, and pips with holes, would make this component more difficult and more expensive to produce using any other conventional method.
Electronic/Electrical: ARC Group Worldwide
An Award of Distinction in the Electronic/Electrical Category was presented to ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM stainless steel upper beam handle made for Cutsforth, Inc. The part goes into an EASYCHANGE Removable Brush Holder assembly used in turbine generators in the power industry. Redesigned from a previously 100%-machined part, the as-moulded component, with its many intricate details, needs only one slight machining operation to meet tolerance and functional requirements. The MIM process reduced the per part cost by 60%.