Compaction Tooling for Pressed Metal Parts
Tooling is crucial to all stages of the powder metal process. Compaction tooling involves taking a “stack” of metal powder that has been gravity fed into a die cavity that is then compressed under high pressure to form a net or near net shape part.
How Atlas "Stacks Up"
Atlas has experienced tool designers, die setters, tool and die makers, and process engineers involved in all tool designs.
Atlas is fortunate to have a very well-developed data base of our materials (powder) and the specific growth curves of that material under varying density and sintering conditions.
Additionally, our in-house tool and die makers have extensive experience in selecting the correct type of materials for the tools from the various grades of tool steel to the use of carbide for longer tool life.
Atlas employs a team of engineering and metallurgical professionals that understand the intricacies of the powder metal process and materials. This is especially advantageous while designing compaction tools for components containing multi-levels, tight tolerances and complex geometries.
Process Knowledge and capability
Atlas has over 45 years of delivering consistent quality parts. Our team has developed an expertise for tool design, product development and launch, and process assessment and improvement.
We meet your goals (and ours) when designing compaction tooling
- Create cost effective tools that optimize the entire PM process including material selection, die setter efficiency and compaction, automation strategy, sintering and required secondary operations.
- Fabricate robust tooling members that provide a long tool life.
- Produce a quality part that meets your requirements and Atlas’ standards of excellence.
Pictured at right is an example of a basic set of compaction tooling. A basic set of tools include the die cavity (this is where the powder goes to form the most of the parts geometry), and upper and lower punches (to compact the geometry to a specified density, as well as ejection of the component). A core rod is included when an inner diameter is required.
Useful vocabulary and design tips when discussing your compaction tools:
Compression Ratio – the amount of material required to make the specific length of the component under high density compaction. Typically, the ratio is a 2 to 1 fill meaning that if the part is 1” in length you will need 2” of fill. Synonymous with fill ratio.
Wall thickness – is the area between the tools that form an internal feature and an outside feature of the part. Components with long, thin walls can experience both fill and part ejection issues making them difficult to process. A wall thickness of a minimum of 0.060 inch (1.52mm) is recommended. When using multi-action tools, a wall thickness minimum of 0.100”is recommended however, wall thicknesses should be in the range of 0.125” to 0.200” if pushing to higher densities.
Die Cavity, punches, core rods – major tool set members for compaction of the component. Note that multiple upper and lower punches may be necessary to form multilevel components.
Levels – the number of steps in the component geometry. There are single level parts and as well as multilevel parts that require complex tooling and sophisticated compaction presses that allow the tooling components to move independently achieving uniform density within the part.
Tool factor – compressibility is the capacity of a metal powder to be compacted uniaxially in a closed die. Growth/Shrink factor of the specific material is used to target the dimensional requirements of the finished component.
Click here to read more of Wayne’s perspective as a tool designer and click here to see how Atlas keeps your tools ready for production.
Want to learn more about compaction tooling or PM in general?
- Schedule a PM101 course with our industry experts. Click here for more information, and our online request form.
- View our PM Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact us with your questions about Atlas Pressed Metals and Powdered Metal
125 Tom Mix Dr.
P.O. Box P
DuBois, PA 15801
"I have been working with Atlas Pressed Metals for about a year but find them very responsive to any issues (which are very infrequent). Their Quality and Production teams resolve issues and answer questions very quickly. I would rank their experience/technical expertise and product quality as very high! Our company has been happy with Atlas as a whole and would recommend them for PM.”