An Introduction to Powder Metallurgy: Why use Powdered Metal?

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Powdered metal is a great material because of its scalability, high quality surface finish, and more.
Powdered Metal

If you are new to the manufacturing industry and powdered metal (PM) sounds foreign, you’re not alone. We chose gerotors as our Featured Product for this week, as powdered metal is an excellent process for this part. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this process, as well as the simplified steps of powdered metal part production.

Parts made by powdered metal offer many advantages and can be found in numerous industries, such as engine components, pumps, lawn and garden, computer, electronics, hardware, jewelry, and automotive manufacturing.

Here are simplified steps of powdered metal part production to help increase your knowledge:

1. The manufacturer will select a metal in powdered form, based on the properties and function of the customer’s part. The material can be: Ferrous, Non-ferrous (oil or resin infiltrated), and stainless steel depending on the demands of your product.

2. The metal powder is fed into the press.

3. The press compacts (with massive force) the powder into a formed shape die. At this point, the component only has “green strength,” which means the part will maintain its form, but it still will not have enough strength to stand up to real-world demands.

4. The component is deburred, which is the removal of any leftover metal protrusions.

5. The “green part” is sintered. This is a process that heats up the manufactured part just below the melting point of the chosen material to transform the powder to a solid.

6. An important step is the controlled cool down. This assures the parts maintain their mechanical properties.

7. Some parts may need to go through secondary processes, such as machining, steam, heat treatment, or Resin or Oil infiltration. The GREATEST STRENGTH of powdered metal is that less than 30% will require any of these secondary operations!

Always do your research before assuming a certain manufacturing process is a good fit for your project. POWDER METALLURGY can produce HIGH VOLUMES of parts quickly, consistently, and with unique properties or features. While this process is amazing for numerous applications, there are times this would not be viable.

Some major disadvantages of Powdered Metal include: It does not take coatings well, has limited geometry due to linear pressing, is limited by compaction ratios, and has no elasticity.

If powdered metal sounds like the right fit for you and your project or if you have concerns about the potential disadvantages, contact Todd at:

The reasons why GlobalTECH used PM process for this part include: scalability, zero draft, elimination of machining, close dimensional tolerances, high quality surface finish, can be used in a wide variety of alloy systems, can be easily heat treated for increased strength, ability to produce complex and unique shapes, and is well-suited high volume production requirements.

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