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Three ways to update your manufacturing process with sintered metal 13 April 2015

Even now, in this age of technological progress and efficiency, there are manufacturers whose methods and designs have not evolved. These organizations have stuck with the componentry they've been using for years - granted, these may work, but not always with optimum efficiency, flexibility and price point. In other words, these manufacturers are settling for what's worked rather than including part design and material among their continuous improvement methods.

In some industries, this thinking may be forgivable - but in every sector, the ability to maximize profits without sacrificing quality has immeasurable benefit. In evaluating cost and performance improvement, manufacturers would be wise to consider the opportunities that powdered metal can provide.

Three primary draws come to mind:

1. Strength to rival other processes

There is an unwarranted opinion among veterans of manufacturing that the powdered metallurgy process does not yield strong, reliable parts. Perhaps when the industry was brand new, over a hundred years ago, that may have been the case. But nowadays, powdered metals offer just as much tensile strength as other comparable processes.

That isn't to say that powdered metal parts are the ideal solution for every situation. But in many cases, it is - that's why manufacturers should work closely with a dependable metal products company to determine the best approach to parts design.

Powdered metal's design flexibility can benefit the end product.

2. Flexible design options

Speaking of working with a sintered metal parts provider, an organization can also improve the very size and shape of the metal components they use with the right guidance. In some instances, the design team may reconfigure two parts that could be cheaper and more effective as a single unit, or vice versa. However, their process could be tailored to create that part as is and might not allow for that type of design change.

The best powdered metal manufacturers work with clients to determine the best possible design for the parts needed. That includes price point, implementation, quantity - all of it. In this way, a company can get an outside recommendation that could point them in a previously unknown direction.

3. High quality, low price

The above reasons are nice, but they won't always sway a manufacturer to convert its parts to powder metal materials. However, the price point will. In a perfect world, a company - let's say a car manufacturer - will purchase a large order of automobile components at a reasonable cost with confidence that the parts will hold up. The last thing a car maker needs is for its bearings in the engine to sabotage a vehicle's performance.

Powder metals offer that quality control in a more affordable package than wrought metals or other metalworking processes can. A few industries have already made the switch over to powder metals for these very reasons, including automotive and engineering systems. However, a number of manufacturers have yet to realize the powder metal advantage. But these companies would be well-served to conduct some research of their own and reach out to a sintered metal products company and discuss how alternatives to machining and casting can improve their products or reduce their costs.