Around 200 participants from the world of Powder Metallurgy, as well as key guests from the automotive industry, gathered in Höganäs, Sweden, on September 18 to take part in Höganäs AB’s PoP Day 2013. A comprehensive all-day programme included presentations, technical demonstrations, tours and discussions as well as a lively social programme.
Alrik Danielson, CEO of Höganäs, welcomed participants stating, “Our common goal is to expand the market for metal powder technology by finding new applications through improved performance and technological advancement. Through close cooperation and partnerships, thorough understanding of application requirements and design aspects, and by adding process development and powder material innovations to the equation.”
“I know that we can create wonders together. Everyone involved has acquired a lot of experience during the PoP Centre’s four years of operation. Together with the recent technology investments made, we are in a unique position to push for even higher growth to the benefit of everyone involved. That is the whole purpose of this initiative.”
A global perspective on the development of PM automotive gears
The PoP Day 2013 commenced with six presentations by leading figures in the automotive and PM business. Speakers included representatives from Mazda, Getrag International GmbH, Miba Sinter and PMG USA as well as Höganäs itself and the main focus was on using PM technology to produce car transmission gears. The message was clear that the potential is huge, but several challenges have to be overcome.
In the presentation “System integration with PM: Gear system design using powder metal” Anders Flodin, Höganäs AB, and Peter Karlsson, Vicura, gave a detailed overview of the advantages of PM gears as well as the development challenges. “Transmission gear system design requires full control of both design and manufacturing in order to accommodate the full potential of gear optimisation,” stated Flodin. The importance of being able to predict transmission system behaviour and having access to statistically correct material data was also emphasised.
“By utilising powder metal’s lower Young’s modulus, gear geometry can be optimised to theoretically improve the performance compared to conventional steel designs.” The opportunity to reduce number of parts and production steps, the possibility to decrease transmission error as well as future possibilities to further improve transmission efficiency and gear manufacturing processes were also presented.
One participant commenting on the presentations stated, “A highlight for me was to hear that Getrag, the world’s largest independent gearbox manufacturer, will start industrialising their PM gear manufacturing. That’s a fantastic sign that the PM industry is on the right track. If they start doing it, others will follow.”
Following the technical presentations, visitors witnessed the unveiling of the company’s “Soon Powered by Powder Metal Transmission Gears” medium sized estate/station wagon car. This development, in cooperation with some of the leading companies in the entire PM value chain, is set to be a major breakthrough with one enthusiastic visitor commenting, “We could never imagine that all the gearbox gears could be made from powder metal. This is the future of PM manufacturing.”
Advanced production technologies on display in the PoP centre
Many of the technical innovations that have enabled Höganäs and its partners to progress PM gear technology to its current level were on display on an 11-stop tour of the PoP Centre. Each of the 11-stops featured presentations by experts in the relevant technology. The stops included helical gear compaction, novel sinter and low pressure carburising technology, PM gears, FZG gear testing, machinability and prototyping, Metal Injection Moulding (MIM), Additive Manufacturing (AM) and others.
“As a PM producer I was impressed by the new equipment and capabilities, but also by the 3D printing,” said one visitor. “The ways Höganäs finds to increase the PM business is fantastic.”
Hans Söderhjelm, Vice President, Marketing & Product Development, concluded, “The ‘Power of Powder’ campaign has been running for four years. We wanted to show customers and end-users what we can actually achieve at our PoP Centre when working closely together, and hopefully they will get inspired to collaborate with us on future projects and to jointly develop new business opportunities.”
During the PoP Day Höganäs presented its latest video promoting the current and future use of metal powders, PM’s environmental credentials and the opportunities for PM in gear applications. The full video can be viewed below.