What Is Powder Metallurgy
Before starting an in-depth discussion of powder metallurgy advantages, it’s essential to answer the question: What is powder metallurgy? This metalforming process comprises two main steps: compression and sintering.
Powder metallurgy manufacturers place metal powders in a die and compress them with axial or isostatic pressing. Axial compression uses a rod that acts as a piston and presses on the powder, while isostatic compression presses on the powder from all directions.
The sintering process in powder metallurgy heats the metal powder to just below its melting point, fusing the metal. This process, which requires special sintering ovens, involves variables such as atmosphere, temperature and cooling rate. Sintering in powder metallurgy provides specific benefits like enhanced strength.
Powder Metallurgy Advantages
The advantages of powder metallurgy derive directly from the twin processes of compression and sintering. The resulting high density of the material contributes to better yield strength, tensile strength and durability. Other advantages include:
One of the advantages of powder metallurgy is that the process lends itself to a wide range of applications. Manufacturers use it to create diverse products, such as:
- Watch dial cases
- Air conditioner blowers
- Bronze brushes
- Self-lubricating bearings
- Surgical implants
- Business machine components
The types of products are limited only by the imagination of the designer.
Another powder metallurgy advantage is that the process is well-suited to a broad array of ferrous and non-ferrous materials. It’s instrumental in processing refractory metals like tungsten or molybdenum, which are hard to cast because of their high melting temperatures. Sintering soft magnetic materials also improves magnetic efficiency compared to other processes like electrical lamination.
3. Lower Costs
Several powder metallurgy advantages result in reduced costs. The process produces less scrap and waste than machining and casting since 97% of the material put into a powder metallurgy process is contained in the final product. In addition to lower waste costs, powder metallurgy also helps decrease costs because its near-net shape parts require few, if any, secondary machining processes. Other cost savings are achieved because powder metallurgy requires single-piece tooling compared to the multi-part assemblies used in other metalforming methods. It also consumes less energy than processes like casting and allows for large production volumes.
4. Precise Forming Capabilities
Besides creating near-net shapes, powder metallurgy also allows for designing intricate parts, and it offers good dimensional precision. It provides a high degree of part-to-part uniformity, boosting overall product quality.
5. Extensive Physical Properties
Among powder metallurgy’s advantages is the ability to tailor physical characteristics to match specific performance and property requirements. It allows you to control the porosity of the part and improve stress performance and vibration absorption. Powder metallurgy also offers:
- Outstanding hardness
- Excellent wear resistance
- Good surface finish
- Excellent impact strength
- Resistance to cratering
These properties are controlled by the powder’s particle size, the amount of binder metal and the sintering conditions.
6. Green Manufacturing
A chief advantage of powder metallurgy is that it can be considered a green manufacturing technology. As mentioned earlier, it produces little scrap and consumes less energy. The process also creates less air and liquid pollution and less solid waste compared to foundries.
Contact Sentro Tech for the Sintering Ovens You Need
Now that you understand the advantages of powder metallurgy, you’re ready for a sintering oven from Sentro Tech. Our standard ovens operate at maximum temperatures of 1400°C to 1700°C in air, vacuum or argon/nitrogen atmospheres. We can also custom-build sintering ovens to your exact specifications. You can depend on our sintering furnaces for the reliability and performance your operation demands. Contact us today to speak with a Sentro Tech expert about your sintering oven needs.