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Capstan Atlantic, located in Wrentham, Massachusetts, produces powder metal gears, sprockets and complex structural components. The company has provided unique powder metal products in a variety of industries including automotive, business machines, appliances, lawn and garden equipment and recreational vehicles.
For metal replacement with powder metal (PM) of an automotive transmission, PM gear design differs from its wrought counterpart. Indeed, complete reverse-engineering and re-design is required so to better understand and document the performance parameters of solid-steel vs. PM gears. Presented here is a re-design (re-building a 6-speed manual transmission for an Opel Insignia 4-cylinder, turbocharged 2-liter engine delivering 220 hp/320 N-m) showing that substituting a different microgeometry of the PM gear teeth -- coupled with lower Young’s modulus -- theoretically enhances performance when compared to the solid-steel design.
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.
Increasingly gear designers and product engineers are capitalizing on the economic advantages of powder metallurgy (P/M) for new and existing gear applications. Powder metal gears are found in automobiles, outdoor power equipment transmissions and office machinery applications as well as power hand tools, appliances and medial components.
Powder metallurgy (P/M) is a precision metal forming technology for the manufacture of parts to net or near-net shape, and it is particularly well-suited to the production of gears. Spur, bevel and helical gears all may be made by made by powder metallurgy processing.
Surface-hardened, sintered powder metal gears are increasingly used in power transmissions to reduce the cost of gear production. One important problem is how to design with surface durability, given the porous nature of sintered gears. Many articles have been written about mechanical characteristics, such as tensile and bending strength, of sintered materials, and it is well-known that the pores existing on and below their surfaces affect their characteristics (Refs. 1-3). Power transmission gears are frequently employed under conditions of high speed and high load, and tooth surfaces are in contact with each other under a sliding-rolling contact condition. Therefore it is necessary to consider not only their mechanical, but also their tribological characteristics when designing sintered gears for surface durability.
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.
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."
When manufacturing powder metal (PM) gears lead crowning is not achievable in the compaction process. This has to be accomplished either by shaving, grinding or honing. Each of these processes has their merits and draw backs. When employing rolling using a roll burnishing machine lead crowning can be accomplished but due to errors in profile a hard finishing operation such as grinding is used by the industry. In this paper a helical PM gear that has sufficient tolerance class after rolling has been tested in a test rig for durability and the wear has been studied.
The data discussed in this article was taken from an upright vacuum cleaner. This was a prototype cleaner that was self-propelled by a geared transmission. It was the first time that the manufacturer had used a geared transmission in this application.
Powder metallurgy (P/M) techniques have proven successful in displacing many components within the automobile drive train, such as: connecting rods, carriers, main bearing caps, etc. The reason for P/M’s success is its ability to offer the design engineer the required mechanical properties with reduced component cost.
Despite economic uncertainty, the future looks promising for PM Gears.
This paper will provide examples of stress levels from conventional root design using a hob and stress levels using an optimized root design that is now possible with PM manufacturing. The paper will also investigate how PM can reduce stresses in the root from transient loads generated by abusive driving.
This article focuses on bending fatigue strength improvements of P/M gearing from recent improvements in P/M technology, combined with shot peening.
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.
Design innovation, superior engineering properties, high end-market visibility and sustainability distinguish the winners of the 2011 Design Excellence awards, the annual powder metallurgy (PM) design competition sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation.
This article examines the dry hobbing capabilities of two cutting tool materials—powder metallurgical high-speed steel (PM-HSS) and cemented carbide. Cutting trials were carried out to analyze applicable cutting parameters and possible tool lives as well as the process reliability. To consider the influences of the machinability of different workpiece materials, a case hardening steel and a tempered steel were examined.
The powder metal (P/M) process is making inroads in automotive transmission applications due to substantially lower costs of P/M-steel components for high-volume production, as compared to wrought or forged steel parts. Although P/M gears are increasingly used in powered hand tools, gear pumps and as accessory components in automotive transmissions, P/M-steel gears are currently in limited use in vehicle transmission applications. The primary objective of this project was to develop high-strength P/M-steel gears with bending fatigue, impact resistance and pitting fatigue performance equivalent to current wrought steel gears.
The heat treatment processing of powder metal (PM) materials like Astaloy requires four steps -- de-waxing, HT sintering, carburizing and surface hardening -- which are usually achieved in dedicated, atmospheric furnaces for sintering and heat treat, respectively, leading to intermediate handling operations and repeated heating and cooling cycles. This paper presents the concept of the multi-purpose batch vacuum furnace, one that is able to realize all of these steps in one unique cycle. The multiple benefits brought by this technology are summarized here, the main goal being to use this technology to manufacture high-load transmission gears in PM materials.
PowderMet 2009, plus the full technical calendar for Gear Technology's June 2009 issue.
Gear Technology hosts dinner for technical contributors to the gear industry during this year's AGMA Fall Technical Meeting and Gear Expo in Columbus, OH. Plus other news from around the industry.
This is part II of a two-part paper that presents the results of extensive test programs on the RCF strength of PM steels.
This article summarizes results of research programs on RCF strength of wrought steels and PM steels.
The metal powder industry gathered in force this past June for PowderMet 2010, the 2010 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy and Particulate Materials.
Technology investments lead to product innovation at gear materials suppliers.
the gear industry is awash in manufacturing technologies that promise to eliminate waste by producing gears in near-net shape, cut production and labor costs and permit gear designers greater freedom in materials. These methods can be broken down into the following categories: alternative ways to cut, alternative ways to form and new, exotic alternatives. Some are new, some are old and some are simply amazing.
The implementation of powder metal (PM)components in automotive applications increases continuously, in particular for more highly loaded gear components like synchromesh mechanisms. Porosity and frequently inadequate material properties of PM materials currently rule out PM for automobile gears that are subject to high loads. By increasing the density of the sintered gears, the mechanical properties are improved. New and optimized materials designed to allow the production of high-density PM gears by single sintering may change the situation in the future.
Why Brushes? In this age of hi-tech, robots, automatic machines, machining cells, etc., is there a niche somewhere for power brushes? Let me answer by asking another question. What tool does the gear manufacturer have in his arsenal that allows him to deburr green gears, hardened gears, hobbed gears, ground gears and shaved gears? What tool allows him to deburr powder metal gears - green and sintered - brass gears, bronze gears, stainless gears made of exotic materials such as inconel, waspaloy, or hastaloy, and fiber and plastic gears? How about spur gears, helical gears, sprockets, both internal and external splines, clutch teeth and pump gears?
The complete Events section from May/June 2006, including profiles of the University of Wisconsin gear seminars and the MPIF international conference on powder metallurgy.
The complete Industry News section from the November/December 2013 issue of Gear Technology.
The complete Product News section from the June/July 2013 issue of Gear Technology.
An overview of the latest technology and trends in heat treating.
Tiger stripes on a high-speed pinion made of a carburized SAE 9310 steel were investigated. The morphology of the damage was typical of electric discharge damage. The cause of the stripes and potential damage to the gear tooth were analyzed and are presented in this report.
This special edition of Product News includes highlights from Gear Expo 2017 of new products that caught the editors' eyes.
This paper introduces mandatory improvements in design, manufacturing and inspection - from material elaboration to final machining - with special focus on today's large and powerful gearing.
News about new Products in the Industry
In this special section, our editors have gathered recent news and information related to the heat treatment of gears. Here you’ll find a comprehensive assortment of news and upcoming events that will help you understand the various heat treatment processes available for gears and choose the best option for your projects, whether you heat treat in-house or send your gears to a commercial heat treating provider.
The complete Product News section from the July 2014 issue of Gear Technology.
In his Handbook of Gear Design (Ref.1), Dudley states (or understates): "The best gear people around the world are now coming to realize that metallurgical quality is just as important as geometric quality." Geometric accuracy without metallurgical integrity in any highly stressed gear or shaft would only result in wasted effort for all concerned - the gear designer, the manufacturer, and the customer - as the component's life cycle would be prematurely cut short. A carburized automotive gear or shaft with the wrong surface hardness, case depth or core hardness may not even complete its basic warranty period before failing totally at considerable expense and loss of prestige for the producer and the customer. The unexpected early failure of a large industrial gear or shaft in a coal mine or mill could result in lost production and income while the machine is down since replacement components may not be readily available. Fortunately, this scenario is not common. Most reputable gear and shaft manufacturers around the world would never neglect the metallurgical quality of their products.
This paper addresses Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) as an emerging Itechnology and defines its challenge by describing the state-of-the-art of incumbent materials. The writing is more philosophical in nature than technical and is presented to establish a perspective.
The performance of carburized components can be improved simply by changing the alloy content of the steel.
Austempering heat treatments (austenitizing followed by rapid cooling to the tempering temperature) have been applied to nodular irons on an experimental basis for a number of years, but commercial interest in the process has only recently come to the surface.
The approximate tensile strength of any steel is measured by its hardness, Table 1. Since hardness is determined by both chemical composition and heat treatment, these are the two important metallurgical considerations in selecting gear steels.
Understanding the morphology of micropitting is critical in determining the root cause of failure. Examples of micropitting in gears and rolling-element bearings are presented to illustrate morphological variations that can occur in practice.
The manufacturing process to produce a gear essentially consist of: material selection, blank preshaping, tooth shaping, heat treatment, and final shaping. Only by carefully integrating of the various operations into a complete manufacturing system can an optimum gear be obtained. The final application of the gear will determine what strength characteristics will be required which subsequently determine the material and heat treatments.
The complete Industry News section from the October 2012 issue of Gear Technology.
Plane strain fracture toughness of twelve high-carbon steels has been evaluated to study the influence of alloying elements, carbon content and retained austenite. The steels were especially designed to simulate the carburized case microstructure of commonly used automotive type gear steels. Results show that a small variation in carbon can influence the K IC significantly. The beneficial effect of retained austenite depends both on its amount and distribution. The alloy effect, particularly nickel, becomes significant only after the alloy content exceeds a minimum amount. Small amounts of boron also appear beneficial.
Gears are designed to be manufactured, processed and used without failure throughout the design life of the gear. One of INFAC's objectives (*see p.24) is to help manufacture of gears to optimize performance and life. One way to achieve this is to identify failure mechanisms and then devise strategies to overcome them by modifying the manufacturing parameters.
How do we know when the gear material we buy is metallurgically correct? How can we judge material quality when all gear material looks alike?
Ausforming, the plastic deformation of heat treatment steels in their metastable, austentic condition, was shown several decades ago to lead to quenched and tempered steels that were harder, tougher and more durable under fatigue-type loading than conventionally heat-treated steels. To circumvent the large forces required to ausform entire components such as gears, cams and bearings, the ausforming process imparts added mechanical strength and durability only to those contact surfaces that are critically loaded. The ausrolling process, as utilized for finishing the loaded surfaces of machine elements, imparts high quality surface texture and geometry control. The near-net-shape geometry and surface topography of the machine elements must be controlled to be compatible with the network dimensional finish and the rolling die design requirements (Ref. 1).
Results from the 2017 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards, plus other news from around the industry.
2008 World Congress on Powder Metallurgy, plus the technical calendar. Complete Events section from May 2008 Gear Technology.
News Items About powder metal
1 Powder Metallurgy Market Expected to Approach 30 Billion by 2012 (October 31, 2007)
According to a recent study by Materials Technology Publications, the powder metallurgy market should approach $30 billion by 2012, growi... Read News
2 NTN Develops Technology for Powder Metal Gears (March 28, 2012)
NTN Corporation has developed a manufacturing technology for sintered alloy, capable of manufacturing alloy with an absolute density rati... Read News
3 MPIF Announces Award-Winning Powder Metal Parts (June 21, 2016)
The winners in the 2016 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation ... Read News
4 MPIF Announces Award-Winning Powder Metal Parts (June 27, 2017)
The winners in the 2017 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation ... Read News