Many of the emerging production methods that produce net shape components (components close to final geometry without the need for extensive machining) begin with powdered metals. The powder metallurgy industry has witnessed a steady expansion since the 1980s and continues to reinvent itself, introducing new materials, products and services.
Today, powder metallurgy continues to evolve and encompasses most metallic and alloy materials and a wide variety of shapes. Created by mixing elemental or alloy powders and compacting the mixture in a die, the resultant shapes are then heated or “sintered” in a controlled atmosphere furnace to bond the particles metallurgically. The high precision forming capability of powder metallurgy generates components with near net shape, intricate features and good dimensional precision pieces with good finish and without the need for machining.
Across the HVM Catapult, processes include laser powder bed, electron beam powder bed and hot isostatic pressing. Processes currently under investigation at the MTC include powder moulding processes such as net shape powder HIP and Metal Injection Moulding (MIM).