Japan’s Powder Metallurgy industry begins road to recovery

August 24, 2022

The production of structural parts and bearings in Japan from 2012 through 2021 (Courtesy METI/JPMA)
The production of structural parts and bearings in Japan from 2012 through 2021 (Courtesy METI/JPMA)

The Japan Powder Metallurgy Association (JPMA) has published statistics showing the production volumes of Powder Metallurgy structural parts and bearings in Japan in 2021, along with figures highlighting the production of metal powders in the country.

Structural parts and bearings

The trade association stated that in 2021, the volume of structural parts produced was 78,145 tons, a 13.5% increase from the previous year. The volume of PM bearings produced was 5,445 tons, a 16% increase from the previous year. Unsurprisingly, the automotive industry remained the largest consumer of PM structural parts and bearings by volume, with structural parts production for vehicles identified as 72,946 tons, a 12.2% increase from the previous year, and bearings production for vehicles at 3,721 tons, up 15%.

Demand for structural parts in Japan by sector (Courtesy METI/JPMA)
Demand for structural parts in Japan by sector (Courtesy METI/JPMA)
Demand for bearings in Japan by sector (Courtesy METI/JPMA)
Demand for bearings in Japan by sector (Courtesy METI/JPMA)

Of the other powder categories, the volume of friction materials was reported to be 881 tons – a 50.9% increase from the previous year. Electrical contacts volume was at 91 tons, a 33.8% increase from the previous year. Despite the ongoing issues with COVID-19, demands for MIM parts for medical appliances was said to be good.

Production of metal powders for PM

The increase in demand for structural parts and bearings resulted in an increase in the production of metal powders. An increase in demand from overseas was notable, with a 31.4% rise in iron powder exports from the previous year accounting for 42,197 tons.

Shipment of metal powders in Japan by sector (Courtesy JPMA)
Shipment of metal powders in Japan by sector (Courtesy JPMA)

Figures for MIM powders in 2021 are not yet available, but the JPMA believes that, following a decrease in 2020, MIM powder shipments will recover to the level of 2018.

Shipment of ‘other powders’ in Japan from 2016 through 2020 (Courtesy JPMA)
Shipment of ‘other powders’ in Japan from 2016 through 2020 (Courtesy JPMA)

www.jpma.gr.jp

The production of structural parts and bearings in Japan from 2012 through 2021 (Courtesy METI/JPMA)

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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