15th Jun, 2016
Winning parts in the Metal Powder Industry Federation (MPIF) 2016 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards competition was announced at POWDERMET2016, Boston, USA, June 5-8.
These award winning parts, stated the MPIF, focus on PM’s strong points to gain and extend their competitive advantage, push production capabilities and process tolerances to their very limits and bring originality to the conception of what is possible through creative design.
As can be seen in this year’s awards, conventional press and sinter PM technology is continuing to find new applications in many sectors, whilst also replacing traditional manufacturing processes thanks to the design, performance and economic advantages. The continuing growth in the Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) industry is also evident, reflected in the large number of prizes presented to this sector in this year’s awards.
Grand Prize Awards
Automotive-Transmission: GKN Sinter Metals
The Grand Prize in the Automotive-Transmission category was awarded to GKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, for a forged PM electronic locking differential gear set made for Ford Motor Company. Comprising five components, namely a side gear, two pinion gears, a locking side gear and a locking plate, the gear set is used in the rear axle differential of the Ford F-150 light truck, the first time forged PM differential gears have been used in such an application.
The higher performance delivered by the forged PM differential gears compared to that of competing metal-forming processes will help usher in downsized gear systems, satisfying a critical need in future automotive design.
Automotive –Chassis: Keystone Powdered Metal Co
The Grand Prize in the Automotive-Chassis Category was presented to Keystone Powdered Metal Co., St. Marys, Pennsylvania, USA, for a total of seven components used in the steering column of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks.
The rake cam, left-hand inner cam, retainer guide, right-hand rake teeth energy-absorbing eccentric strap cam, column mounting insert teeth and left-hand rake teeth are made for Nexteer Automotive. The heat-treated diffusion-alloyed steel components are key elements of the steering column’s tilt and telescope adjustment feature, serving a vital role in maintaining the column’s position during a crash event. The rake cam has features that allow for a mechanical lock of the plastic lever, which is overmolded in an operation performed by Agapé Plastics, Inc.
Aerospace/Military: Advanced Forming Technology
The Grand Prize in the Aerospace/Military Category was won by Advanced Forming Technology, an ARC Group Worldwide Company, Longmont, Colorado, USA, for a Metal Injection Moulded front sight base used on the AR-15 rifle.
The MIM-4605 low-alloy steel part is much larger than the typical MIM part and has a complex geometry. The switch from a part machined from bar stock to the MIM part yielded savings of more than 30%.
Medical/Dental: Parmatech Corporation
The Grand Prize in the Medical/Dental Category was won by Parmatech Corporation, Petaluma, California, USA, for four stainless steel MIM components used in an articulating endoscopic surgical device designed specifically for thoracic surgery.
The parts, an articulation lock bar, articulation connector, articulation drive block and knife guide, feature complex geometry that would be extremely difficult to machine. The MIM process saves an estimated 70% over a traditional machining method. The ability of the MIM process to produce parts of different alloys with tight tolerances enabled the design of a smaller endoscopic device, a critical benefit in thoracic surgery.
Awards of Distinction
Automotive-Engine: Cloyes Gear & Products Inc
The Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Engine Category was presented to Cloyes Gear & Products, Inc., Division of HHI/MPG, Subiaco, Arkansas, USA, for three steel sprockets made for Iwis Engine Systems LP. The components, a rubberized crankshaft sprocket and two rubberized oil pump sprockets, are used in a General Motors Generation II High-Feature V-6 Engine, currently installed in the Cadillac CT6 and ATS, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Camaro.
The patented rubber design used on the crankshaft sprocket provides improved noise, vibration, and harshness characteristics that exceed the engine manufacturer’s demands. Fabrication via PM provides an estimated 30% saving over parts machined from steel bar or forgings.
An Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Chassis Category was given to Capstan, Wrentham, Massachusetts, USA, for a drive pulley for an electronic power steering system. The iron-copper part is used in assemblies found in the Ford Focus and Escape vehicle platforms.
This unique six-level component requires tight tool-wear control. Powder Metallurgy was chosen as the fabrication method because it offered far better precision than the die-cast alternative at a competitive price.
Automotive-Chassis: GKN Sinter Metals
A further Award of Distinction in the Automotive-Chassis Category was won by GKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, for a copper-steel driven pulley for an electric power steering system made for Nexteer Automotive.
The pulley is a complex net-shape-compacted part with a unique helical geometry and tight tolerances. Close collaboration with the customer in the design of the part, which includes net-formed lightening holes, yielded savings of more than 10%.
Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd
The Award of Distinction in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category was given to Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, India, for a MIM 17-4 PH stainless steel diesel leak-off union made for Lombardini.
The part goes into the fuel injection of a line of Kohler diesel engines that are assembled in JCB midi and mini excavators, compact wheeled loaders, and Teletruk forklifts. A conversion from a previously used plastic part, whose performance suffered in the tough working environment, the MIM part delivered savings of around 10% through improved quality.
Aerospace/Military: Advanced Forming Technology
The Award of Distinction in the Aerospace/Military Category was presented to Advanced Forming Technology, an ARC Group Worldwide Company, Longmont, Colorado, USA, for an aerospace engine ferrule made for its customer Rolls Royce. Made of MIM 17-4 PH stainless steel, the part provides a conductive path between the screen and the engine, while offering support to the single cable and preventing the placement of cable loading on the screen.
The complex component is sintered exactly to net shape, with no secondary operations needed to meet required dimensional specifications. Cost savings were the primary driver for the switch to a MIM part from one machined from bar stock.
Hand Tools/Recreation: Parmatech Corporation
The Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category was given to Parmatech Corporation, Petaluma, California, USA, for a MIM 4605 low-alloy steel trigger used in an adjustable trigger system on a pump-action shotgun.
The extremely complex part geometry, which features multiple thickness changes and slots, required precise tooling to address sufficient machine stock for effective secondary operations. The MIM trigger delivers savings of around 50% over the machined version it replaced.
Electronic/Electrical: Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd
An Award of Distinction in the Electronic/Electrical Category was presented to Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, India, for three parts, a mirror cover, a base, and a middle, made for Optosense.
Moulded from MIM-316L stainless steel, the parts are assembled into an infrared gas sensor for methane and carbon dioxide detection that has extremely low power consumption. A new application designed specifically for the MIM process, these are medium-complexity parts that have an aesthetic requirement on a few reflective surfaces.
Electronic/Electrical: GKN Sinter Metals
A further Award of Distinction in the Electronic/Electrical Category went to GKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, for an aluminium heat sink made for Visteon. The heat sink is used in a high-volume automotive stereo application.
The part is produced to net shape with no secondary machining operations needed. The high material ductility of the special aluminium PM alloy, combined with the precise positioning of the tooled-in assembly holes, enables assembly of the heat sink without the need for attachment screws.
Medical/Dental: Flomet, LLC
An Award of Distinction in the Medical/Dental Category was presented to Flomet, LLC, an ARC Group Worldwide Company, DeLand, Florida, USA for a MIM tungsten electrode used in a surgical ablation device. The device uses high temperature for the removal of tissue and the use of tungsten enables the electrode to reach its operating temperature more efficiently, maintaining it for a longer time than with other alloys.
Medical/Dental: Advanced Forming Technology
A further Award of Distinction in the Medical/Dental Category was given to Advanced Forming Technology, an ARC Group Worldwide Company, Longmont, California, USA, for a MIM wedge blank used in an endoscopic staple gun.
Made from a MIM-440 stainless steel, the part has a complex and very small geometry that pushed the MIM process to the very limits of tolerance capabilities. The part’s 5 mm diameter, less than half the previous low of 12 mm, enables new procedures to be created and enhances procedures in smaller patients, particularly in the area of pediatrics.