Powder Metallurgy (PM) is a method of mixing fine powdered metals or alloy materials and compressing them into a desired form or shape and then heating it in a controlled environment to bond the compressed material. The process generally involves four steps, viz., powder manufacturing, blending, compacting and sintering. The highly precise forging capability of PM helps build components with net shape, dimensional precision and elaborate features.
The key driver for PM is their large application base in the automotive industry and majority of applications worldwide for this technology are directed at automotive industry. PM offers enhanced performance and better design flexibility as compared to traditional metal working techniques such as casting, forging or extrusion. Increased choices as well as high quality of metal powders offers a wide variety of PM materials to cater to the specialized necessities of parts such as bearings, gears, bushings and pistons, utilized in various industries, including automotive, aerospace and medical. The global PM market has been witnessing rising commercialization of technologies. However, the growing number of low-cost vendors might pose a challenge to the growth of PM market.
Changing lifestyle and increasing disposable income of consumers in countries such as China and India is expected to affect the automotive industry in this region. Furthermore, increased regulations on emission control, especially in developed economies of Europe and North America is expected to drive the PM market. Moreover, reduction of carbon footprint of automobiles requires better light weight parts, which subsequently is expected to be a driving factor for the growth of the market. In addition, there is an increasing scope of application of powder metallurgy processes as manufacturers are looking at replacing traditional methods of casting, forging and extrusion due to the lower tooling costs and high-speed production.
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Some of the major manufacturers in the thermoformed plastic industry include GKN plc, H.C. Starck GmbH, Hoganas AB and Metaldyne LLC Allegheny Technologies Inc. Other key vendors include Bohler-Uddeholm AG, Federal Mogul In., Carpenter Technology Corp. Fine Sinter Co Ltd., Sandvik AB, Hitachi Powdered Metals Co. Ltd. and SMC Powder Metallurgy Inc.
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