Award-Winning Powder Metal Parts Save Big Money
The Metal Powder Industries Federation (mpif.org) recently announced the winners of its 2013 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition, parts which show significant savings for their users. Here are the highlights:
Indo-US MIM (indo-mim.com) won the grand prize in the automotive engine category for a threaded port and support ring it supplies to Sensata Technologies. The parts are used in a sensor kit that measures the inlet pressure of the air–fuel mixture in each cylinder of a passenger car engine. The pieces are fabricated via metal injection molding (MIM) to near-net shape. Coining and passivation are required on all three parts and CNC thread cutting is performed on the port. This application is estimated to save Sensata Technologies 50% over the cost of fabrication using alternate technologies.
Indo-US MIM also won an award of distinction in the automotive engine category for a fuel-control gear segment. The part goes into a fuel-control device that regulates the entry of fuel into the engine. Converted from a machined part, the gear segment is fabricated using MIM from low-alloy steel, reaping a savings of 80% over the previous method. The company delivers approximately 3 million pieces annually to Bosch.
AMES (ames.es) took home the grand prize in the auto-motive chassis category for a compressor clutch that is part of a braking system assembly for heavy trucks and buses. The system stops the compressor once the necessary air pressure is reached, saving energy and reducing fuel consumption by 7%. The powder metallurgy design made from diffusion-alloyed steel integrates two separate toothed parts into a single component—the conical front, which connects to the crankshaft, and the opposite face, which connects to the compressor, and a coupling.
GKN Sinter Metals (gkn.com/sintermetals) won an award of distinction in the automotive engine category for an aluminum rear cam cap. The part serves a dual function of holding the camshaft in place as well as holding an auxiliary vacuum pump in a new engine. This is the first time an aluminum cam cap with “tombstone” geometry has been made using press-and-sinter powder metallurgy. Previously, this feature could only be formed by die casting.
Burgess-Norton (burgessnorton.com) earned an award of distinction in the automotive transmission category for a ramp plate used in an electronically activated locking differential in European light-commercial vehicles. These differentials significantly improve on-demand vehicle traction in adverse conditions by directing all of the drive torque simultaneously to both wheels. The use of powder metallurgy provided cost savings estimated at 20% to 40% compared to machining a component.
FMS Corporation (fmscorporation.com) won an award of distinction in the hand tools/recreation category for a star shifter used in Polaris Industries’ six-speed Victory motorcycle transmission. The shifter is the first powder metallurgy component in this six-speed transmission, functioning as the cam interface in a mechanism that enables the engagement and shifting among all gear combinations. Polaris estimates a 45% cost savings over the previously forged part.
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By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)