Sintering is a thermal process largely exclusive to powder metallurgy (PM). The powder metallurgy sintering process frees engineers from many limitations inherent to traditional design in both structural and magnetic applications:
Today, advanced powder metallurgy processes can provide strength and design flexibility superior to casting. And PM requires less secondary machining, allowing for more material flexibility than forging.
If you still don’t have a good handle of whether sintering can expand your design options and improve material properties, ask our world-class team directly. You can also keep learning on your own by scrolling to the resources below.
Our team includes Senior Advanced Materials Engineer Fran Hanejko and Director of Technology & Business Development Tom Freemer. Fran is a highly respected industry expert who’s published several research papers on sintering and powder metallurgy. Tom has collaborated with design engineers across several industries to create innovative PM solutions through advanced manufacturing techniques and material alloys.
Fran and Tom have extensive experience in powder metallurgy, including several years with a world-leading raw material supplier. If you have design or performance questions for them, get in touch here.
Different branches of powder metallurgy (PM) materials have very different design considerations. It’s a fact of life for PM manufacturers but sometimes a hard lesson for the OEM buyer/engineer.
In powder metallurgy, there are two branches of magnetic materials. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll say that one serves DC electromagnetic applications, and the other AC.
Soft magnetic composites (SMCs) are an excellent, energy-efficient option for AC electromagnetic applications. However, they're not suitable for DC components because they lack the rapid magnetic response of sintered materials. By the same token, sintered soft magnetic materials are unsuitable for AC applications because they generate significant heat and core losses.
(If your project calls for an AC machine, refer to Part 1 of this series, where we explored designing for manufacturability for soft magnetic composites.)
As an engineer tasked with bringing your product into the future, you probably have many decisions to make when choosing the motor design of your AC project.
The most common applications of electrical motors fall into two main categories -- axial flux motors vs. radial flux motors. There’s also a third category -- transverse flux motors -- but this configuration is not as widespread (yet).
For decades, radial flux motors were the most common solution. However, for reasons we’ll discuss below, axial flux machines are becoming the standard for AC motor quality.
“Conventional” sintering is synonymous with structural powder metallurgy components.
The majority of today’s powder metal parts are sintered at 2050° in a nitrogen-hydrogen atmosphere. This has proven satisfactory for legacy applications, and will remain “good enough” for many future applications.
With the ongoing “electrification” of transportation, many engineers are leaving the world of “good enough.”