About a decade ago, we took a look at the annual MPIF powder-metallurgy (PM) awards in this column. Much has changed in this field in that decade, so we thought revisiting the industry and the awards, announced during POWDERMET 2017 in Las Vegas in June, would be of interest to our readers.
Revealed about the same time as the awards was the 2017 PM Industry Roadmap, which updated the previous 2012 version. For those of us not directly involved in the industry, the Roadmap’s Executive Summary is helpful. It says, “The PM process can be broken down into four categories: conventional or press-and-sinter; metal injection molding (MIM); hot or cold isostatic pressing (HIP/CIP); and metal additive manufacturing (AM).”
Without intended pun, the Roadmap indicates that the PM industry is driven by automotive applications. The industry sees growth opportunities in the following fields: energy, aerospace, medical/dental, electrical and electromagnetics, defense, and industrial and consumer products. “The refinement and acceptance of AM will increase demand for new, unique metal powders, equipment and products/applications.” The second-largest PM market is currently industrial/consumer products, and AM will likely add to this position.
The Roadmap identified the four main focus areas of technology priorities over the next decade as high-density PM components, processing of lightweight materials, improvement in precision/accuracy/variation control and metal AM. For AM, the powder itself appears to be the biggest challenge. As the powder requirements are better understood, specifications need to be developed, test standards adopted and guidelines created for powder recycling.
MPIF Grand-Prize-Winning PM Parts
GKN Sinter Metals took awards in the categories of Automotive Transmission and Automotive Chassis. The transmission part was an assembly made for the all-new Ford F-150 10-speed transmission. The chassis part goes into an electric reclining mechanism for the rear seat of a minivan. Phillips-Medisize took the grand prize in the third automotive category (Engine). The part was a fuel-valve seat used for compressed natural gas, and it was made for Delphi.
The grand prize in the Aerospace/Military category was won by Dynacast Portland for a 17-4 PH rocket-guidance and control part for Raytheon. FMS Corporation also won two grand prizes. One was a motorcycle drive sprocket in the category of Hand Tools/Recreation, and the other was a stainless steel fitting for a hydraulic lever, which was in the category of Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics.
The final two grand-prize awards were in the categories of Hardware/Appliance (H/A) and Medical/Dental (M/D). Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. won for H/A with 316L stainless parts for a bath/shower temperature-control unit. ARC Group Worldwide won in the M/D category with a 17-4 PH part used to remove bone during knee surgery.
In addition to the eight grand-prize winners, 10 Awards of Distinction were selected. Industrial Heating congratulates all of this year’s award winners.
Reader Preference Profile
Every two years, Industrial Heating conducts a survey of its readers to find out about preferences. We asked readers if they felt they would be using, processing or producing AM parts in the next five years. A total of 65% of respondents said yes or were not sure.
By a large majority, our readers appreciate information on new products/technologies (like AM), as well as our articles and industry news. Fully 82% of readers prefer to receive either the print or the digital edition of the magazine. You can subscribe to either.
We very much appreciate the support of our readers and advertisers and look forward to a future filled with providing you with the best content available in the high-temperature thermal-processing industry. If you attend Heat Treat 2017, stop by booth 2834 and say hello. We’ll see you there.