Awards of Distinction
Cloyes Gear & Products, Inc., Paris, Arkansas, USA, won the Award of Distinction in the Automotive -Transmission Category for a ball ramp actuator comprising a sector gear and fixed ring, made for Magna Powertrain.
The actuator applies torque to the front wheels in the BMW high-performance X-Drive transfer case that goes into various BMW platforms.
Warm compacted from a hybrid low-alloy steel, the parts replaced forged components that had been used in an earlier transfer case design, and provided 35% cost savings over the forgings. The manufacturer delivers in excess of 700,000 actuators annually through this global program.
Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd., won the Award of Distinction in the Automotive – Chassis Category for this spur gear made for Magna Closures, Canada.
The gear is used in the rear-door assembly of SUVs to enable their opening in the event of loss of automatic control function.
Made via MIM from 4605 low-alloy steel, the part replaced a gear that was machined and had the pin welded on, achieving estimated savings of 30% in the process. This gear is an outstanding example of MIM’s ability to meet close tolerances on concentricity and perpendicularity on a part with such a lengthy gear profile. The manufacturer delivers 720,000 parts annually.
Lovejoy Powder Metal Group, Downers Grove, Illinois, USA, won the Award of Distinction in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category for a parking/emergency brake piston for hydraulic transmissions used in zero-turn-radius lawn maintenance equipment.
Made from FC-0208 iron-copper steel, the piston is compacted with three features on top and six on the bottom, using two upper and three lower punches plus a die shelf.
The part is an original design for PM, as its shape makes it impractical for traditional metal-cutting methods. It is pressed and sintered to net shape, requiring no secondary machining operations.
Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd., received the Award of Distinction in the Hardware/Appliances Category for three parts, an output shaft, lever and cover, that are assembled into the quick-change mechanism of a Dremel multitool.
The mechanism allows for the swapping of any tool bit within seconds. Made via MIM from 4605 low-alloy steel, the three parts, designed specifically for MIM, are made close to net shape, with only a few secondary operations performed to achieve close tolerances.
The highly complex geometry of the shaft, with three holes intercrossing at 120 degrees, required six side cores per moulding cavity.
A sinter-hardened steel retainer weight made by Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., Chiba, Japan, won an Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category. The part operates in the transmission of large motorcycles, controlling the on/off position of the clutch.
The challenge of attaining dimensional accuracy in a component with such a thin, large-diameter shape was overcome with process optimization and the choice of steam treatment. This redesign of a previous PM part achieved a 17% weight reduction.
The manufacturer anticipates this accomplishment could open the door to additional opportunities in the small to medium-size motorcycle market.
Advanced Forming Technology, an ARCMIM Company, Longmont, Colorado, won an Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/ Recreation Category for a lock hood for a muzzleloading rifle made for its customer Smith and Wesson.
Manufactured via MIM from 4605 low-alloy steel, the hood’s complex geometry presents a challenge for maintaining the large U-shape sufficiently undistorted so that it can be coined into final tolerance. This is accomplished using a unique sintering and staging approach that utilizes an “active” setter made of a feedstock having a similar shrink rate to the hood.
The MIM process allowed the customer to offer the rifle at the desired price point in this competitive market.
A further Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/ Recreation Category was given to MPP Ridgway, Ridgway, Pennsylvania, USA, for this bathtub drain tool made for ezXtractor. The tool is an assembly of five PM parts, two drain wings, drain top, drain bottom and drain shaft, all made from FN-0405 modified nickel steel.
The innovative design maximises the benefits of PM technology while simplifying complexity for easy assembly with two circlips and two dowel pins. The two integral cams on the shaft create the action that forces the grippers into the pipe ID.
The parts are produced to net shape with two machined grooves for the circlips being the only secondary operations needed.
Smith Metal Products, Center City, Minnesota, USA, won an Award of Distinction in the Medical/Dental Category for a MIM 17-4 PH stainless steel shaft assembly used in a novel surgical instrument for passing suture through difficult-to-reach tissue.
Unlike most surgical tools, this instrument is single-use so a precise fabrication process had to be developed that could be scaled up to deliver high volumes at low cost.
The process involves molding the 7” shaft in two parts, laser welding them together, and then performing finish machining, ID reaming, heat treating, sand blasting, and passivation to achieve the tightly toleranced dimensions.
This method was four to five times less expensive than Swiss CNC machining would have been.
Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd., won a final Award of Distinction in the Medical/Dental Category for a sound tube used in a hearing aid made by its customer Phonak, Germany.
The part’s function is to enhance sound frequency and improve hearing. Manufactured via MIM from 316 stainless steel, the highly complex part achieves all its features in the as-sintered condition, with only glass bead blasting for a better finish performed as a secondary operation.
An original design for MIM, it is estimated the part provides 20% cost savings over competing forming processes. The manufacturer delivers 500,000 parts annually.