Despite the continuing strength of the automotive market in China in 2012, which saw total vehicle production rise by 4.3% to 19.3 million vehicles, the Chinese Powder Metallurgy (PM) market suffered a 2.7% year-on-year decline according to preliminary figures submitted by a core group of 34 members of the China Machine Powder Metallurgy Association (CMPMA).
Ferrous PM production in 2012 fell by 3.8% to 129,484 mt whilst copper-based PM products recorded a 12.6% gain to reach 10,011 mt, making a combined total of 139,496 mt. However, as there are around 90 PM enterprises operating in China the overall total production figure is expected to be significantly higher.
Just over 58% of Chinese ferrous PM parts find applications in the automotive sector (47.1% vehicles and 11.2% motor cycles), up from 56% in 2011. However, the 12.5% fall in production of motor cycles to 23.6 million in 2012 is said to have impacted negatively on PM shipments to this sector. Some 23.8% of PM parts went to the appliance sector, 5.7% for power tools, 3.4% construction machinery, 2.3% agricultural machinery and others at 6.5%.
Sintered self-lubricating bearings also saw a decline in production in China in 2012, down 13.3% year-on-year to 12,751 mt. Of this total, 71% comprised ferrous based PM bearings with copper-based bearings the remainder. Copper-based structural parts made up just 1.5% of total PM production in China.