An event that took place without much fanfare at the 1965 International Powder Metallurgy Conference held at New York’s Statler Hilton Hotel was the presentation of the awards to winners of the first design competition, called the “P/M Part of the Year,” sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation. From that humble beginning, over the succeeding five decades the competition has evolved into a prestigious event recognizing achievements in state-of-the-art design of components fabricated through powder metallurgy (PM).
In the process, the competition has helped promote the capabilities of this emerging technology worldwide, which was the true purpose of its creation. By today, the competition, since renamed the “PM Design Excellence Awards,” and the presentation of the winners have come to serve as a major component of the annual conference, with the special awards luncheon becoming a highlight attraction, and the physical display of the parts in the exhibition hall a consistent draw for attendees.
In the historical catalog of its award winners, one may trace the development of PM into the broadly accepted fabrication technology it is today, with milestones in applications and manufacturing methods clearly delineated. The occasion of the competition's 50-year anniversary is a propitious opportunity to look back at the path PM has traveled while simultaneously contemplating its future direction.
To mark the 50th year that the MPIF has held a competition for excellence in part design, a display featuring a 50-year timeline was produced at the PM2014 World Congress. The timeline has been reproduced for display on the website (www.mpif.org).