EPMA launches R&D project on sustainability of press & sinter PM

April 29, 2020

Certain processes in the production of Powder Metallurgy parts, such as sintering, are energy intensive. The study aims to assess Powder Metallurgy’s overall environmental performance (courtesy CREMER Thermoprozessanlagen GmbH)

The European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA), along with consulting companies PM Solutions and PM Consulting, have announced a new R&D project, the Life Cycle Assessment for Low Alloy PM Steel (LCA-LAPS) Club Project, which will quantify the environmental sustainability of press & sinter Powder Metallurgy.

The objective of the twelve-month project will be to quantify the life cycle analysis for a high-volume press & sinter material (low-alloy steel from water atomised powders) in order to make a direct comparison to competing technologies possible, with parts subdivided into three weight classes (small, medium, and large). The project will also produce individual company and site reports for the powder and parts producers participating.

According to the EPMA, the main consumers of Powder Metallurgy parts, such as the automotive industry, are meeting sustainability pressures towards carbon-neutral production and the new EU Green Deal, and many have plans to reduce their carbon footprint and the carbon footprint of the vehicles they manufacture. 

This implies that their suppliers in the PM industry will also have to reduce their carbon footprint, and that suppliers will in future be selected based on their sustainability in addition to the quality and price of their products. Suppliers will have to give quantitative support to their sustainability claims, in competition with other technologies.

PM generally claims to be a ‘greener’ technology, especially because of the very efficient raw material utilisation of net and near-net shape processing. However, the EPMA explains, some processes like powder atomisation and part sintering are energy intensive, and this may affect quantitative analysis of sustainability.

A study like the LCA-LAPS project, although it will be refined and updated over the coming years, may serve as  a useful starting point to assess Powder Metallurgy’s environmental performance, and to help the participating companies to understand their position among PM competitors. 

Participants will have the chance to receive a site-by-site analysis of their production sites, and will then be able to compare the results for their sites internally and towards the averages taken over the whole consortium.

Further information and the project roadmap are available via the EPMA.


In the latest issue of PM Review…

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Extensive Powder Metallurgy industry news coverage, and the following exclusive deep-dive articles and reports:

  • From powder modification to rejuvenation: Fluidised Bed Reactors in metal powder production and Additive Manufacturing
  • Retech: Enabling the atomisation of reactive and refractory alloys at substantially higher levels of productivity and lower cost
  • Sustainability in Powder Metallurgy: Highlights from the 41st Hagen Symposium
  • Innovations from Japan’s Powder Metallurgy industry: award winners highlight novel automotive and healthcare applications

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