Trends and New Developments:
- Improved manufacturing processes such as hot isostatic pressing (HIPing), PM forging, metal injection molding (MIM), and direct powder rolling through increased scientific investigation of PM technology by government, academic and industrial R&D programs.
- Fully dense PM products for improved strength properties and quality in automobiles, diesel and turbine engines, aircraft parts and industrial cutting and forming tools.
- Commercialization of technologies such as metal injection molding (MIM), rapid solidification, PM forging, spray forming, high temperature vacuum sintering, warm compacting and both cold and hot isostatic pressing.
- The use of PM hot forged connecting rods in automobiles and a PM camshaft for automobile engines. The use of PM composite camshafts in auto engines and main bearing caps, and stainless steel ABS sensor rings and exhaust system flanges.
- New submicron and nanophase powders for cutting tools and other specialized applications.
PM parts are used in a variety of end products such as lock hardware, garden tractors, snowmobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, auto brake and steering systems, washing machines, power tools and hardware, sporting arms, copiers and postage meters, off-road equipment, hunting knives, hydraulic assemblies, x-ray shielding, oil and gas drilling wellhead components, fishing rods and wrist watches. Canadian nickels are made from strip rolled from pure nickel powder.
The typical U.S. passenger car contains about 45 pounds of PM parts. More than an estimated 850 million PM hot forged connecting rods have been made for cars produced in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Commercial aircraft engines contain 1,500-4,400 pounds of PM superalloy extruded forgings per engine. Iron powder is used as a carrier for toner in electrostatic copying machines. Americans consume more than two million pounds of iron powder annually in iron enriched cereals and bread. Iron powder is also used in hand warmers and waterproof cements.
Copper powder is used in anti-fouling paints for boat hulls and in metallic pigmented inks for packaging and printing. Aluminum powder is used in solid fuels for rockets such as the booster rockets for the space shuttle program.