The growing use of powder metallurgy (PM) processes is directly attributable to the opportunities they offer to reduce costs and/or enable the manufacture of components with properties that cannot be accessed via conventional subtractive techniques.

PM processes typically use up to 97% of the starting material in the finished component, achieve precise tolerances and are relatively energy efficient compared with processes such as machining. However, successful manufacture is directly dependent on the quality of the metal powders used, with particle size and shape critical to performance. Learning how to produce high-quality powders as cost-efficiently as possible, and manage them during processing, is crucial to further improve the economics of PM processes and extend their application.

In this article, we consider the value of real-time particle sizing technology within this context, focusing on established process analytical technology with proven potential to enhance production economics – both for metal powder manufacturers and PM processors.

This article appeared in the July–August 2018 issue of Metal Powder Report.

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