According to the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), North American metal powder shipments hit record levels of 562,633 short tons in 2000, marking nine years of continuous growth. During this nine-year period, the powder metallurgy industry has generated more awareness in the marketplace among engineers, witnessed improvements in raw materials, processing techniques, and improvements in mechanical properties of P/M parts. The iron powder market increased just short of .5% in 2000, rising to 445,343 short tons, compared to 443,253 short tons. Shipments of copper and copper alloys were almost even with 1999, up slightly to 25,279 short tons, compared to 25,238 short tons in 1999. Stainless steel powder shipments increased more than 18% in 2000 to an estimated 8,500 short tons, compared to 7,157 short tons in 1999. Other powders experiencing growth in 2000 include aluminum, tungsten, tungsten carbide, tin and nickel powders.