Catalus Corporation began making powder metal components in the 1950’s and has since grown into a world-class company in the powder metallurgy industry, offering products across a wide range of industries and/or markets. Powder metallurgy manufacturing produces parts for a diverse range of industries, and it often offers designs or features not available or not cost effective with traditional manufacturing. Powder metallurgy designs can reduce weight and include additional features while cutting down on the amount of waste generated by the manufacturing process.

What is Powder Metallurgy?

Powder metallurgy (PM) has become an advanced manufacturing technology. Over the years, powder metallurgy has grown by leaps and bounds from its beginning, which involved the manufacture of relatively simple bushings and bearings. Presses can now produce multi-level powder metallurgy parts from very small to very large. The basis of the powder metallurgy process is making metal parts from metal powders. There are a wide variety of alloys to choose from, ranging from iron, to stainless steel, to brass, and bronze. There are hundreds of standard materials within these broad categories, each with well-defined material properties and processing requirements. New, more-specialized materials are being developed all the time.
At Catalus, we purchase our powders already blended from a select group of suppliers. Our process involves compacting metal powder to a specific density using specially designed tools. A sintering furnace heats the powders to near melting point, and this process bonds the powdered particles together into a desired shape. Certain materials are designed to be heat treated in a secondary operation to further enhance the parts physical properties.
powder metals used in powder metallurgy manufacturing at Catalus
powder metallurgy part manufactured by Catalus

Benefits of Using Powder Metal Components

Powder metallurgy is a very cost effective and efficient way to manufacture specialized parts. Compared to traditional manufacturing, these metal forming processes reduce waste and improve consistency.

Some of the advantages and benefits of using powder manufactured parts include:

● Improved product quality and consistency
● Cost effectiveness
● Parts at or near net shape thus reducing material costs and waste
● Reduced scrap
● Reduced secondary machining
● Excellent surface finish
● Automated processing
● Material specific properties established by the MPIF (Metal Powders Industry Federation)
● Faster speed to market
● Powder metallurgy is a “Green” Technology

Cost Effectiveness of Powder Metallurgy Manufacturing

Cost effectiveness is one of the key advantages of powder metallurgy processes. When compared to traditional manufacturing methods, powder metal manufacturing requires less energy, makes better use of the material, and requires less steps to produce a finished product. Many of the materials used today are made by melting scrap metal and using some highly specialized processes to make the powders. Because powder metal processes are so repeatable, the cost effectiveness increases with higher volumes. Once the parts are set up in the press, robots transfer the parts directly to the sintering furnace, reducing the need for handling and ensuring the parts off the press are handled with care. When production volumes require automation, parts can be taken from start to finish with very little operator contact. Today’s powder metal technology can also reduce or eliminate the need for machining. Pressing technology and mold design capabilities allow for many specialized features to be formed at the first step in this advanced manufacturing process and the net result is less machining, and that translates into less waste.
powder metallurgy parts for automobiles

Where is Powder Metallurgy Used?

Powder metal products are used in a broad range of industries, including aerospace, medical, computers and cell phones. The automotive industry uses more powder metal parts than any other segment. PM parts can also be found in lawn mowers, snow mobiles, ATV’s boats, trucks, motorcycles, security, firearms and more. While some of these fields are highly specialized, many powder metal parts are used in everyday life. Wondering how powder metallurgical engineering can help your project? Let our team at Catalus take a look and find out what powder metallurgy can do for your business.