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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.
Except for higher-end gear applications found in automotive and aerospace transmissions, for example, high-performance, sintered-steel gears match wrought-steel gears in strength and geometrical quality. The enhanced P/M performance is due largely to advances in powder metallurgy over last two decades, such as selective surface densification, new materials and lubricants for high density and warm-die pressing. This paper is a review of the results of a decade of research and development of high- performance, sintered-steel gear prototypes.