Thanks to material development and additive manufacturing opportunities, it’s important for the gear and power transmission industries to monitor the trends, technologies and future forecasts in the powder metal market.
20/20 is considered to be perfect vision, but the year 2020 outlook is quite obscure. We can view the current state of the PM industry through short-term, fear-tinted glasses or gain a clearer picture of long-range opportunities. Just like U.S. manufacturing in general, the PM industry has been impacted negatively by the pandemic.
First, the facts: powder metallurgy is a cost-effective method of forming precision net-shape metal components that allows for more efficiently designed products. It saves valuable raw materials through recycling and the elimination of costly secondary-machining. PM competes with wrought steel gears as the technology continues to advance. You'll find PM components in everything from automobile transmissions to aircraft turbine engines, surgical equipment and power tools.
Powder metal. To gear makers today, the phrase conjures images of low power applications in non-critical systems. As powder metal technology advances, as the materials increase in density and strength, such opinions are changing. It is an ongoing, evolutionary process and one that will continue for some time. According to Donald G. White, the executive director of the Metal Powder Industries Federation, in his State-of-the-P/M Industry - 1999 report. "The P/M world is changing rapidly and P/M needs to be recognized as a world-class process - national, continental and even human barriers and prejudices must be eliminated - we must join forces as a world process - unified in approach and goals."
AGMA and members of the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) are three years into a joint project to develop specifications and an information sheet on rating powder metal gears. According to committee vice chairman Glen A. Moore of Burgess-Norton Mfg. Co., the first phase of the project, the publication of AGMA Standard "6009-AXX, Specifications for Powder Metallurgy Gears," should be completed in late 1996 or early 1997.