Hyundai Motor Group in Korea has recently completed the construction of a 25,000 tonnes/year water atomisation plant near the Hyundai Steel complex in Dangjin, South Chungcheong, to produce Powder Metallurgy (PM) grades of pure iron powders. Hyundai Motors plans to use the iron powders for existing PM automotive components as well as for new applications in the next generation of automobiles being developed by the company.
Hyundai Steel Co. told Powder Metallurgy Review that the entire demand for PM grade iron powders in Korea of around 70,000 tonnes/year has to date been met with imported powders, mainly from the United States and Sweden. With the new iron powder plant in Dangjin, Hyundai Motors will be able to supply much of the group’s needs for iron powders for its PM components requirements.
The company also stated that the new plant will help to create a stable iron powder supply situation and will enable it to develop and optimise iron powder grades for specific automotive components. Hyundai Motors hopes in this way to achieve improvements in the quality and performance of its automobiles.
The Dangjin Iron Powder Plant commenced pre-production trials for iron powders in March 2014, and has been in volume production of high quality water atomised iron powders since July. The pure iron powder produced by the new plant has already been applied to a number of automotive PM components. It is expected that production will be increased rapidly next year.
Hyundai Motors also states that it expects to adopt more automotive parts using alloyed iron powders which will help to bring the current Korean average of 6 kg of PM parts per car closer to the levels of the United States (20 kg/car) and Japan (10kg). The company has been developing new technology in conjunction with Hangyang University in Korea, to produce new grades of partially alloyed iron powders having less segregation and better compressibility than some currently available alloyed iron powder grades. It expects to complete this development over the next two or three years.