Powder metallurgy is a process of making parts from materials such as stainless steel, carbon steel, tungsten or aluminum. By this operation is possible manufacture pieces of materials with high melting points, such as tungsten, or even mix powders of different natures.
This process is suitable for the production of a large number of pieces that, due to their small size or complicated design, require high precision. It is also suitable as needed further controlling the permeability or porosity of the final piece. The use of such parts is very common in machinery and industrial equipment, automotive or the armory. More specifically, are parts such as bearings, pistons or valves.
Powder metallurgy requires a multistep process, as follows.
- Get the powders. From various processes (for example, condense the vapor of the metal or metal oxides to reduce), powders are obtained from metals like aluminum, copper or iron.
- Measure and match. According to the final piece and its characteristics, powders of different dimensions and compositions are mixed.
- Cold Shrink. For this step you need very specific tools, which are mechanical presses or hydraulic presses. These presses apply unidirectional pressures.
- Sintering. The materials are heated with an electric furnace, whose atmosphere must be selected and monitored all the time.
- Finishing Processes. This step consists in treating the pieces to improve its final properties. The heat treatment and the impregnation are some of these processes.