The winners in the 2019 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), demonstrate outstanding examples of PM’s diversity. These component fabricators use PM’s flexibility to push forward new concepts and process controls, and demonstrate the inexhaustible well of capabilities PM can marshal in the service of component design. Designers continue to choose PM for critical applications such as auto engines and transmissions, medical devices, consumer products, hardware, and more.
Nine Grand Prizes and seven Awards of Distinction have been given in this year’s competition.
Grand prize awards
• A Grand Prize in the Automotive–Engine Category for Conventional PM components was awarded to Capstan for a compact brushless dc actuator gear designed to optimize engine performance and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions for on- and off-road commercial diesel-engine vehicles. Made from SS-316L all gear dimensions meet AGMA level 7 requirements. This stainless-steel precision gear required unique carbide tooling for compaction.
• In the Automotive–Engine Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a turbo charger vane. The part complexity includes a thin-walled, curved profile with a thick lug on top. A two-drop, hot runner tool is used to produce 12 parts per shot without any slide involvement.
• A Grand Prize was awarded to Stackpole International, Canada, in the Automotive—Transmission Category for Conventional PM components for a clutch backing plate and pressure-apply piston used in the General Motors 9T50/65 Hydra-Matic transmission. The parts form a combined sub-assembly within the transmission together with a central hub and two roller-bearing races. Compaction of the parts involves the use of multiple-element tooling, and a complex die design is needed to form the near-net- shape geometry.
• In the Automotive–Chassis Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM-17-4 PH latching plate used in a collapsible roof assembly for passenger cars. A solid-film lubricant coating is applied to the part to reduce friction during operation of the collapsible roof. Molding was a challenge as the part has two thin features joined by a thicker slotted section.
• ASCO Sintering Co. was awarded a Grand Prize in the Lawn & Garden/Off Highway Category for Conventional PM components for a miniature planetary gear carrier set used in a commercial rotary irrigation system. The parts are made from SS-316N1,N2 compacted to a green density of 6.6 g/cm3.
• A Grand Prize in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for MIM components was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for right- and left-hand bindings in ski shoes. The parts are made from MIM-4605 that is zinc-blue passivated for corrosion resistance. Previously the parts were cast and required many secondary operations to meet the desired configuration and dimensional tolerances.
• In the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category for Conventional PM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to ASCO Sintering Co. for the spring seat of a hydraulic valve actuator mechanism. The part is made from SS-316H-20 and is compacted to a green density of 6.5 g/cm3 prior to sintering. The five blades of the component are long and too thin to be compacted to net shape directly, so extra material is added in the region of the blades. A low-cost turning operation is needed to achieve the final part geometry.
• A Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, in the Hardware/Appliances Category for MIM components for two MIM-17-4 PH parts, a keeper and a ramp used in a door-hinge assembly. The keeper has a thick but slotted, curved profile that extends 79 mm (∼3 inch). By using three slides, two to form the hole running along the length, and another to form the slot at the center, two parts are produced per shot. Previously, the parts were cast and required considerable machining to achieve the desired dimensions.
• In the Medical/Dental Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM-17-4 PH K-mount main part used in a digital surgical camera. The challenge in molding was to develop a slide mechanism robust enough to form the y-section with ease and with precise matching to avoid flash. Previously, the part was made as two separate pieces that were subsequently welded. This tended to create sharp edges that damaged the cable during use.
Awards of distinction
• In the Automotive—Engine Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was awarded to Catalus Corporation for an access-hole cover used to transfer collected oil from the crankcase ventilation system at the top of the engine into the engine block. It had to use an existing bolt pattern and have a low profile to permit clearance to the nearby engine control module. The PM part replaced an assembly of multiple stamped, machined, and drawn components and resulted in a 27 percent weight saving.
• Another Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Engine Category for Conventional PM components was won by Nichols Portland LLC for a rotor vane used in an engine lubrication oil-pump system. The part is sized, face ground, deburred, and cleaned. The product application requires high accuracy of rotor radial dimensions, ID spline and vane-slot features to reduce internal pump leakage and achieve the required system mechanical efficiency.
• An Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Engine Category for MIM components was made to Indo- MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a valve poppet used in the fuel-injection system of a diesel engine for heavy trucks. The extremely small part has a tight tolerance on its outside diameter and the perpendicularity of the three legs. Part-specific forms were used during sintering to maintain part quality.
• In the Automotive—Transmission Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was won by GKN Powder Metallurgy and Ford Motor Company for a transmission park-range-sensor control bracket that acts as a stop to prevent over travel of a transmission rod in the parking system. While mechanical properties are not a major concern, the positional tolerance of the part once bolted in place is critical.
• An Award of Distinction was won by FMS Corporation in the Automotive—Chassis Category, for Conventional PM components for fan clutch assembly components made for their customer Kit Masters Incorporated and used in cooling systems for semi-tractors and other large, diesel-engine vehicles. The six PM parts included a bushing-tensioner retainer and an index coupler. All six parts are made from FC- 0208-50. The PM parts replaced machined components and offered a 60 percent cost saving.
• An Award of Distinction was won by FMS Corporation in the Hand Tools/Recreation Conventional PM components Category for camshaft and water-pump sprockets made for their customer Polaris Industries Inc. The parts are used in the Polaris Slingshot, 3-wheel, side-by-side “moto roadster.” The water-pump sprocket was especially challenging, as the customer desired a one-piece shaft/sprocket design. The PM components represent a 40 percent cost saving compared with machining.
• In the Hardware/Appliances Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction was won by Webster-Hoff Corporation, and their customer Humanscale, for a ratcheting lock; part of the locking mechanism in an adjustable office chair arm. Unique fixturing is needed during sintering so that the part can meet the tolerances required for the post-sintering, drilling, and tapping operation.
The awards were presented during the 2019 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials (Powdermet2019) and co-located conference Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy (AMPM2019).
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