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%.
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.
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.