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When most people think of the metal-making process, they picture a stream of molten metal pouring into a mold -- it makes a nice visual for films and commercials. But when you consider making parts with powder metal, it may be a little harder to picture the process -- or why one would bother with powder metal in the first place.
When order volume exceeds a few dozen, process economics dictate a near-net shape manufacturing process with little after-work necessary. Many engineers and buyers gravitate to die casting, but there are good reasons for considering powder metal -- especially as new uses, materials, and design possibilities are unlocked thanks to evolving technology and understanding of powder metallurgy (PM).
Engineers, and probably purchasers too, have been comparing powder metallurgy with competing processes for a long, long time. As for powder metal parts vs. forged parts, just like any other comparison of manufacturing methods, it helps to know the benefits and potential drawbacks of each process.