Powder Metallurgy – Like Alchemy, Only No Magic Needed
There are many advantages to using powder metallurgy, but is it really the best solution for your project? Powder metal can be applied as a coating or used as the layers of 3D-printed-objects. Powder metal can also be integrated into a single step in the manufacturing process, or used from start to finished product.
When powder metallurgy is used in manufacturing, you will still often see metal being compacted into a cookie-cutter-like die to mold it into the desired shape. With powder metallurgy, though, you never heat the metal to the point of liquefaction. Designers and engineers sometimes replace metal that liquifies with powder metal when they want to reduce weight without sacrificing structural strength.
While not all metals can be made into powder, mixes of powder metals, lubricants, and bonding-additives allow designers to create a wide array of highly customized, multi-dimensional parts and products ranging from fine meshes and thin-walled components, to baking ware and metal plating.
Spray-On Smooth or Granular Textures
Some powder metal coatings are so fine, they can be applied with a spray gun that bonds the metal coat to the surface like an impermeable new layer of skin. A powder metal coating provides a tough finish that is more durable than paint or plastic. Many cooking, baking, and food service products are covered with a powder metal coating that is food-safe, non-stick, easy-to-clean, and tolerant of repeated use in extreme temperatures. An ice-cream scooper may made by filling a mold with powder metal, while a non-stick pan may be finished by spraying on a non-stick, powder metal coat.
Iterative Design Process for the Perfect Fit
Powder metallurgy allows for an iterative design process, quick testing of new parts and designs, and automated production in small quantities. For these reasons, powder metal is often favored by manufacturers who want to gain a competitive advantage by being the first to market.
Final products made with powder metal typically do not require additional finishing steps to remove excess metal. This means the number of steps in manufacturing are reduced, as well as labor costs and risk of injury, making it easier to automate and scale-up the manufacturing process, and easier to reduce the costs per unit of production (i.e., create economies of scale).
If you want to produce a part that results in the perfect fit, powder metals might just be the perfect fit for your project.
Get More Help Choosing the Right Powder Metal for Your Job.
Mayer Alloys stocks and supplies a full line of the highest quality, non-ferrous metals specializing in tin and lead-based alloys, and lead free alloys for manufacturing and/or fabrication. Buy what you want when you want it and we will ship your material the same day it is ordered in most cases.
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