About Powdered Metallurgy

Powder metallurgy, or PM, is a process for forming metal parts by heating compacted metal powders to just below their melting points. Although the process has existed for more than 100 years, over the past quarter century it has become widely recognized as a superior way of producing high-quality parts for a variety of important applications. This success is due to the advantages the process offers over other metal forming technologies such as forging and metal casting, advantages in material utilization, shape complexity, near-net-shape dimensional control, among others. These, in turn, yield benefits in lower costs and greater versatility.

The PM process provides a host of advantages over competing metalworking technologies. These all add up to cost effectiveness, shape and material flexibility, application versatility, and part-to-part uniformity for improved product quality.  Advantages of the PM Process:

  • Eliminates or minimizes machining by producing parts at, or close to, final dimensions
  • Eliminates of minimizes scrap losses by typically using more than 97% of the starting raw material in the finished part
  • Permits a wide variety of alloy systems
  • Produces good surface finishes
  • Provides materials which may be heat treated for increased strength or increased wear resistance
  • Provides controlled porosity for self lubrication or filtration
  • Facilitates manufacture of complex or unique shapes which would be impractical or impossible with other metalworking processes
  • Is suited to moderate- to high-volume component production requirements
  • Offers long-term performance reliability in critical applications
  • Is cost effective

The PM industry is comprised of three major segments:

  • Companies that produce the powders, lubricants, industrial gases and other raw materials that go into making finished components
  • Companies that manufacture and provide the tooling, process equipment, and related services used in the making of finished components
  • Contract and in-house fabricators of finished component.

Of course, the most important segment of the industry—one not represented above—is made up of the end users of PM parts, the designers and specifiers for the OEMs who take advantage of PM’s superior capabilities in a wide range of applications.

The PM process consists of mixing elemental or alloy powders, compacting the mixture in a die, and then sintering, or heating, the resultant shapes in a controlled-atmosphere furnace to bond the particles metallurgically.

C-J Transportation Services is a licensed PM carrier and a member of APMI.  You can learn more about powdered metallurgy and APMI at the MPIF website.


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