conventional powder metallurgy

Powder Metallurgy (PM) is an effective metal working technology. Applying unique materials, inventive techniques, and creative geometries enable engineers to reduce total manufacturing costs. In addition, the PM process is a minimal waste process. With these benefits combined, competing processes cannot match PM. 

Providing value through inventive processes, geometries and materials

  • Nearly 100 percent material utilization (no scrap) 
  • A wide variety of designs to satisfy a customer’s application needs with limited impact on production costs
  • Meeting a large range of material property demands by blending powders
  • Environmentally friendly

Preserving the natural resources of our planet

Preserving the natural resources of our planet

The PM process saves natural resources through recycling, conserves raw materials, and yields low emissions. Metal powder is more expensive than conventional steel, but the difference is offset by saving material. Nearly 100 percent of PM powder is used. This is true for the typical PM part of less than 1kg. Heavier parts can also benefit from this process if the steel blank requires a lot of machining.

The efficiency depends on the operating speed of the press, the flow properties of the powder, and the height of the components compacted. The sintering costs are influenced by the required material quality, sintering temperature and time, and protective atmosphere - but are fairly independent from part geometry.

The parameters of the manufacturing process are determined by the functional requirements of the component properties, related to the chemical composition, density, and precision. Cost comparison with competing technologies, such as stamping, cold extrusion, precision casting, precision forging, and plastic moulding is strongly influenced by requirements of material, shape, and production quantity.

Higher requirements on material properties will require tighter tolerances. The advantages of using a sintered component increase with production quantity. Even when machining is necessary, the overall economics of a sintered blank often turn out favourable.

The Conventional PM process

The PM process uses highly consistent, engineered elemental or alloyed metal powders.

Although the majority of products are manufactured from material compositions defined by national or international standards, GKN also focuses extensively on the development of unique materials for specialized applications.

The raw material powder is subsequently pressed or compacted in a closed die to form the near-net-shape (identical to or very similar to the final dimensions) and is called "green" compact. 

We leverage our internal tooling design and manufacturing capability to optimise this process. Our manufacturing facilities are equipped with advanced equipment as well as our own CNC presses, designed and built in-house.

The "green" compacts are heated in a continuous sintering furnace to an elevated temperature and in a protective atmosphere in order to form metallurgical integrity.

Consistency is assured by applying precise temperature and atmospheric controls. GKN has focused on the standardization of sintering equipment as a key element of best practice.

Secondary operations are selectively applied to either improve dimensional tolerance or to achieve geometries that cannot be formed in the compaction process. 

Sizing is a high-speed pressing operation which improves profile tolerance. Typical machining processes such as turning, milling, drilling, and threading can be applied when required. PM products can be successfully joined to other PM or non-PM products using various processes.

Conventional PM materials

Conventional PM materials

We provide the broadest material selection in the industry to meet a wide range of needs:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Composites
  • Iron
  • Low- and High-Alloy Steels
  • Stainless Steel
  • Special Alloys

Our metal powders are engineered to your needs and tailored to your applications. Our PM process technologies have been modified to achieve full densification and tight dimensional tolerances.

When selecting the best PM material for a particular application, consideration is given to customer-specific requirements such as strength, ductility, and wear-resistance. With our advanced specialty alloys and processing techniques, GKN PM components often exceed industry performance standards.

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Alan Lang
Alan Lang
Director Global Commercial Systems and Business Intelligence
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