The winners of the 2019 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), have been announced. The MPIF stated that the winners demonstrate outstanding examples of PM’s diversity as a manufacturing technology, and highlighted how each winning design uses PM’s flexibility to push forward new concepts and process controls, and demonstrates the capabilities offered by PM in the service of component design. Designers continue to choose PM for critical applications such as auto engines and transmissions, medical devices, consumer products, hardware, and more.
Nine Grand Prizes and seven Awards of Distinction were given in this year’s competition.
Automotive-Engine: Capstan Inc
A Grand Prize in the Automotive-Engine Category for Conventional PM components was awarded to Capstan Inc, USA, for a compact brushless DC actuator gear designed to optimise engine performance and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions for on- and off-road commercial diesel-engine vehicles. Made from 316L, all gear dimensions meet AGMA level 7 requirements. The stainless steel precision gear required unique carbide tooling for compaction.
Automotive-Engine: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
In the Automotive-Engine Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a turbo-charger vane. The part complexity includes a thin-walled, curved profile with a thick lug on top. A two-drop hot runner tool is used to produce twelve parts per shot without any slide involvement.
Automotive-Transmission: Stackpole International
A Grand Prize was awarded to Stackpole International, Canada, in the Automotive-Transmission Category for Conventional PM components for a clutch backing plate and pressure-apply piston used in the General Motors 9T50/65 Hydra-Matic transmission. The parts form a combined sub-assembly within the transmission together with a central hub and two roller-bearing races. Compaction of the parts involves the use of multiple element tooling, and a complex die design is needed to form the near-net-shape geometry.
Automotive-Chassis: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
In the Automotive-Chassis Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM-17-4 PH latching plate used in a collapsible roof assembly for passenger cars. A solid-film lubricant coating is applied to the part to reduce friction during operation of the collapsible roof. Moulding was reportedly a challenge, as the part has two thin features joined by a thicker slotted section.
Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: ASCO Sintering Co
A Grand Prize was awarded to ASCO Sintering Co., USA, in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category for Conventional PM components for a miniature planetary gear carrier set used in a commercial rotary irrigation system. The parts are made from SS-316N1,N2 compacted to a green density of 6.6 g/cm3.
Hand Tools/Recreation: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
A Grand Prize in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for MIM components was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for right- and left-hand bindings in ski shoes. The parts are made from MIM-4605 that is zinc-blue passivated for corrosion resistance. Previously, the parts were cast and required many secondary operations to meet the desired configuration and dimensional tolerances.
Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics: ASCO Sintering Co
In the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category for Conventional PM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to ASCO Sintering Co., USA, for its spring seat of a hydraulic valve actuator mechanism. The part is made from SS-316H-20 and is compacted to a green density of 6.5 g/cm3 prior to sintering. The five blades of the component are long and too thin to be compacted to net shape directly, so extra material is added in the region of the blades. A low-cost turning operation is needed to achieve the final part geometry.
Hardware/Appliances: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
A Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, in the Hardware/Appliances Category for MIM components for two MIM-17-4 PH parts, a keeper and a ramp used in a door-hinge assembly. The keeper has a thick but slotted, curved profile that extends 79 mm. By using three slides, two to form the hole running along the length, and another to form the slot at the centre, two parts are produced per shot. Previously, the parts were cast and required considerable machining to achieve the desired dimensions.
Medical/Dental: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd
In the Medical/Dental Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM-17-4 PH K-mount main part used in a digital surgical camera. The challenge in moulding was to develop a slide mechanism robust enough to form the y-section with ease and with precise matching to avoid flash. Previously, the part was made as two separate pieces that were subsequently welded. This tended to create sharp edges that damaged the cable during use.
Awards of Distinction
Automotive-Engine: Catalus Corporation
In the Automotive-Engine Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was given to Catalus Corporation, USA, for an access-hole cover used to transfer collected oil from the crankcase ventilation system at the top of the engine into the engine block. It had to use an existing bolt pattern and have a low profile to permit clearance to the nearby engine control module. The PM part replaced an assembly of multiple stamped, machined, and drawn components and resulted in a 27% weight saving.
Automotive-Engine: Nichols Portland LLC
Another Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Engine Category for Conventional PM components was won by Nichols Portland LLC, USA, for a rotor vane used in an engine lubrication oil-pump system. The part is sized, face ground, deburred, and cleaned. The product application requires high accuracy of rotor radial dimensions, ID spline and vane-slot features to reduce internal pump leakage and achieve the required system mechanical efficiency.
Automotive-Engine: Indo-MIM Pvt. Lt
An Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Engine Category for MIM components was made to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a valve poppet used in the fuel-injection system of a diesel engine for heavy trucks. The extremely small part has a tight tolerance on its outside diameter and the perpendicularity of the three legs. Part-specific forms were used during sintering to maintain part quality.
Automotive-Transmission: GKN Powder Metallurgy and Ford Motor Company
In the Automotive-Transmission Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was won by GKN Powder Metallurgy and Ford Motor Company for a transmission park-range-sensor control bracket that acts as a stop to prevent over travel of a transmission rod in the parking system. While mechanical properties are not a major concern, the positional tolerance of the part once bolted in place is critical.
Automotive-Chassis: FMS Corporation
An Award of Distinction was won by FMS Corporation, USA, in the Automotive-Chassis Category for Conventional PM components for fan clutch assembly components made for its customer Kit Masters Incorporated and used in cooling systems for semi-tractors and other large, diesel-engine vehicles. The six PM parts included a bushing-tensioner retainer and an index coupler. All six parts are made from FC0208-50. The PM parts replaced machined components and offered a 60% cost saving.
Hand Tools/Recreation Conventional: FMS Corporation
An Award of Distinction was won by FMS Corporation in the Hand Tools/Recreation Conventional PM components category for camshaft and water-pump sprockets made for its customer Polaris Industries Inc. The parts are used in the Polaris Slingshot, 3-wheel, side-by-side ‘moto roadster’. The water-pump sprocket was especially challenging, as the customer desired a one-piece shaft/sprocket design. The PM components represent a 40% cost saving compared with machining.
Hardware/Appliances: Webster-Hoff Corporation
In the Hardware/Appliances Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was won by Webster-Hoff Corporation, USA, and its customer Humanscale, for a ratcheting lock; part of the locking mechanism in an adjustable office chair arm. Unique fixturing is needed during sintering so that the part can meet the tolerances required for the post-sintering, drilling, and tapping operation.