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:

  • Powder Metallurgy’s challenge: How does automotive’s reliance on model-based decision making impact our industry?
  • How to make metal powders. Part 4: Centrifugal and other special atomisation methods
  • Precision and energy efficiency in PM press technology: Insights from Ceramitec 2022
  • Historic traditions and new innovations: refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Tailoring a speciality alloy for Additive Manufacturing: From powder production to parameter optimisation
  • Understanding the compaction and sintering effects of four commonly used lubricants in Powder Metallurgy

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From the industry…

Discover our magazine archive…

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?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our
advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of PM Review magazine.

  • Powders & materials
  • Powder process, classification & analysis
  • PM products
  • Atomisers & powder production technology
  • Compaction presses, tooling & ancillaries
  • Sintering equipment & ancillaries
  • Post-processing
  • Consulting & toll sintering
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