Stator Stakes Claim to Top Powder-Metal Prize

July 10, 2008
A stator used for variable-valve timing in a 1.4-liter engine captured the 2008 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition grand prize in the Automotive Engine category.

The Metal Powder Industries Federation, Princeton N.J., sponsors the annual competition and handed out awards at the recent PM2008 World Congress on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials.

The winning automotive parts — as well as those in hardware, appliances, medical, and dental — exemplify powder metallurgy’s (PM) precision, innovative design ability, superior performance, sustainable technology, and cost savings.

PMG Fssen GmbH, Fssen, Germany, and its customer Schaeffler Group Automotive, Hirschaid, Germany, built the complex, grand-prize-winning stator from a modified iron-copper PM material that is formed to a density of 7 gm/cm3. It has five intricate center holes and tight tolerances that minimize oil leaks between adjoining pressurized chambers. The stator reduces fuel consumption and the formation of exhaust gases, and improves engine performance, especially torque at low rpms. It has two splines, one for the timing-belt pulley and one for the VVT housing. The PM part is said to be substantially less expensive to make than its two-part predecessor despite the fact it needs finishing operations such as sizing, machining, deburring, and steam treating.

Cloyes Gear & Products Inc., Paris, Ark., received the automotive engine award of distinction for a timing sprocket that handles cam phasing. The PM low-alloy-steel intake and exhaust sprockets go in the VVT system of a highperformance, double-overhead cam V6 engine. The sprockets are formed using warm compaction to a density of 7.25 gm/cm3. The 7.7-mm fine-pitch inverted sprocket teeth are compacted to a near-net shape and heat treated and tempered to a 70 HRA typical hardness. Each sprocket has a tensile strength of 170 kpsi, a 52-kpsi fatigue limit, and compressive yield strength of 183 kpsi.

Burgess-Norton Mfg. Co., Geneva, Ill., and its customer, Means Industries, Saginaw, Mich., took home the automotive transmission grand prize for a notch/backing plate and a pocket plate used in a mechanical-diode one-way clutch for a six-speed automatic transmission. The PM plates are assembled with steel struts, coil springs, and a snap ring, which form the one-way clutch. The sintered-hardened PM steel notch/backing plate weighs 1.85 lb, has a tensile strength of 75 kpsi, and a density of 6.7 gm/cm3. The pocket plate has a similar density, a tensile strength of 90 kpsi, and weighs 2.54 lb. PM provided superior precision and cut costs 70% over wrought steel parts. Both parts are key to clutch performance. They let drive torque be applied to the transmission in second and sixth gear, as well as torque transfer in reverse gear.

Mitsubishi Materials PMG Corp., Tokyo, Japan, and its customer Fuji Kiko Co. Ltd., Shizuoka, Japan, captured the automotive chassis grand prize for a gear set used in a new tilting and telescoping steering column. The gear set consists of a tooth lock and two cams. Made from diffusion-alloyed PM steel, the parts have a density greater than 7.05 gm/cm3, tensile strength over 159 kpsi, and 57 HRA hardness. In replacing forged and machined parts, PM saved money with a net-shape design that eliminated the need for machining.

Asco Sintering Co., Commerce, Calif., and its customer Performance Friction Corp., Clover, S.C., took the automotive chassis award for a series of 316 stainless-steel bobbins used in a new braking system for race cars and high-performance vehicles. The two-level part is available in 14 variations with eight or more bobbins in a single brake rotor assembly. The bobbins aid in tripling the brake-rotor fatigue life and reducing drag (at elevated temperatures, vibration, and heat. The parts are made to a density of 7.0 gm/cm3 and have a 70 kpsi tensile strength, yield strength of 45 kpsi, 13% elongation, 48-ft-lb impact strength, and HRB 65 hardness.

Parmatech Corp., Petaluma, Calif., took home the medical/dental grand prize for its 17-4 PH stainless- steel articulation gear used in a surgical stapler. Made by metal injection molding (MIM) to a density of more than 7.65 gm/cm3, the gear has an ultimate tensile strength of 130 kpsi, yield strength of 106 kpsi, and a 25 HRC hardness. The MIM design is formed to net shape and requires no finishing operations. It has tight tolerances and provides a 70% cost savings compared to machining the gear from bar stock.

The grand-prize-winning hardware/ appliances award went to Capstan Atlantic, Wrentham, Mass. Its PM steel gear set goes into a highvolume printer. The gear is roll densified to a surface density of 7.8 gm/cm3 and has an AGMA quality 10 precision level. The pinion has an AGMA 8 level. The core density of the gear and pinion is 7.3 gm/cm3. The fatigue resistance of the gear-tooth surface equals that of a wrought-steel 8620 carburized gear. The part, which has opposing helix angles, is formed to net shape, except for the datum journals which are hard turned. A single pressed-PM gear replaced two machined gears at a cost savings of more than 40%.

The hardware/appliance award of distinction went to Kinetics Climax Inc., Wilsonville, Oreg., for three 17-4 PH stainless-steel lock-cylinder parts made by metal injection molding for Black & Decker Hardware and Home Improvement, Lake Forest, Calif. The MIM parts (a locking bar, pin, and rack) operate in the Kwikset SmartKey lock cylinder, which contains one locking bar, five pins, and five racks. The parts have a typical density of 7.7 gm/cm3 and a tensile strength of 128 kpsi and yield strength of 100 kpsi. The PM design lets consumers easily rekey the lock without removing it or getting professional help.

FloMet LLC, Deland, Fla., and its customer, Starkey Laboratories Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., took the electrical/ electronic award of distinction for their MIM hearing-aid receiver can. The thin-walled part is made from a nickeliron- molybdenum alloy that provides the magnetic shunt effect needed by the hearing aid to separate the internal receiver signal from the telecoil signal. The part was previously deep drawn and required several annealing steps to achieve the necessary depth, in addition to forming internal undercuts. MIM improved part performance and provided a 50% cost savings.

Make Contact Asco Sintering Co.
(323) 725-3550

Burgess-Norton Mfg. Co.
(630) 232-4100

Capstan Atlantic
(508) 384-3100

Cloyes Gear & Products Inc.
(479) 484-5555

FloMet LLC
(386) 736-4890

Fuji Kiko Co. Ltd.

Kinetics Climax Inc.
(503) 404-1200

Means Industries
(989) 754-1433

Metal Powder Industries Federation
(609) 452-7700

Mitsubishi Materials PMG Corp.

Parmatech Corp.
(800) 709-1555

Performance Friction Corp.
(800) 521-8874

PMG Fssen GmbH
+49 8362 506-0

Schaeffler Group Automotive

Starkey Laboratories Inc.
(800) 328-8602

Auto Market Still Looks Good for PM Parts

“While PM has suffered because of changes in the automotive market, along with cuts in vehicle production, there’s still cause for optimism,” says MPIF president Mark Paullin. High-visibility products like powderforged connecting rods, main bearing caps, and transmission carriers are still made in high volumes and used by both the domestic OEMs and transplants. Industry insiders report that Japanese transplant companies are opening their doors to PM applications as they seek to reduce costs.

On the upside, new engines and six-speed transmissions contain more PM parts, says Paullin. For example six-speed transmissions contain 18 to 26 lb of PM parts. The new GM High Feature 3.6-liter V6 DOHC engine contains about 36 lb, more than the total PM parts in the average U.S. vehicle in 1998. Another new PM component is the dual-clutch transmission which contains about 16 to 18 lb of PM parts.

Next-gen diesel engines built in North American are scheduled for introduction in 2009 to 2011. New PM applications here include cam gear drives, idler gears, timing-system sprockets, and fuel-injector gears. In addition, powder-forged connecting rods and PM bearing caps are currently undergoing validation testing and the outlook for acceptance looks promising.


PM Courses Go Online

Faced with marketplace challenges, the PM industry continues to invest in new technology. Developments in metal powders, equipment, and processes are leading the way, but the Metal Powder Industries Federation is also helping develop and maintain a highly skilled workforce through its online powder metallurgy courses. The MPIF e-learning program starts with three courses: Welcome to the world of PM, Introduction to compacting and primary press operations, and Introduction to sintering fundamentals and furnace design. More will follow.

Each course can be completed in about 30 min. They feature narration, colorful graphics, many illuminating animations, and interactive navigation. To learn about the e-learning program, including the ability to view a short demo and to see how easy registration is, visit the MPIF Web site.

PMG Fussen GmbH stator

PMG Fussen GmbH stator

Cloyes Gear & Products timing sprocket

Burgess- Norton Mfg. Co. notch/backing and pocket plates

Parmatech Corp. articulation gear

Asco Sintering Co. brake bobbins

Mitsubishi Materials PMG Corp. steering column

Capstan Atlantic gear for printer

Kinetics Climax Inc. lock-cylinder parts

FloMet LLC hearing-aide can

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