The Powder Metallurgy Process

The basic Powder Metallurgy process for structural press and sintered components

 

Powder Metallurgy comprises a family of production technologies, which process a feedstock in powder form to manufacture components of various types. These production technologies generally involve all or most of the following process steps:

 

Powder production

Virtually all iron powders for PM structural part production are manufactured using either the sponge iron process or water atomisation. Non ferrous metal powders used for other PM applications can be produced via a number of methods.

Mixing of powders

This can often involve the introduction of alloying additions in elemental powder form or the incorporation of a pressing lubricant.

Forming of the mixed powder into a compact

The dominant consolidation process involves pressing in a rigid toolset, comprising a die, punches and, possibly, mandrels or core rods. However, there are several other consolidation processes that are used in niche applications.

Sintering of the compact to enhance integrity and strength

This process step involves heating of the material, usually in a protective atmosphere, to a temperature that is below the melting point of the major constituent. In some cases, a minor constituent can form a liquid phase at sintering temperature; such cases are described as liquid phase sintering. The mechanisms involved in solid phase and liquid phase sintering are discussed briefly in a later section.

Secondary operations

The application of finishing processes to the sintered part. In the Powder Metallurgy industry, such processes are often referred to as “secondary operations”.

 

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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:

  • Burgess-Norton and Amsted Automotive: How a legacy automotive supplier is growing with, not despite, electrification
  • Meeting sustainability demands in PM: High-temperature sintering of nickel- and copper-free powder mixtures for low alloyed PM parts
  • World PM2022: An overview of the status and trends in the global PM industry
  • A novel approach for the production of metal powders with tailored chemical compositions: Amazemet’s rePowder
  • Productivity, flexibility, reliability: SACMI’s new press technologies for the changing PM industry
  • Understanding the thermal properties of metal powders: Characterisation of powders using the Hot Disk technique
  • World PM2022: Views on the potential of Field Assisted Sintering for advanced materials

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The free-to-access PM Review magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of Powder Metallurgy from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading PM part manufacturers, metal powder manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

 

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Looking for PM production equipment, metal powders, R&D support and more?

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  • Powders & materials
  • Powder process, classification & analysis
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  • Sintering equipment & ancillaries
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