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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.
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.
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.
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.
The latest technology on display in Columbus, OH. October 24-26.
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.
Due to production by pressing and sintering, PM gears are porous. Since pores reduce the loaded area and are also probable crack initiators, the porosity determines the strength of the PM component. PM gears can be densified to increase their local density and, therefore, the load-carrying capacity. PM gears are compacted locally since they are mainly loaded directly at the surface. A common process to densify PM gears locally is the cold rolling process. The contact conditions in the cold rolling process determine the density profile and, therefore, the material properties of the PM component. The influence of the contact conditions in cold rolling of PM gears on the resulting density profile is yet to be investigated.