Addressing delegates at the PowderMet show in San Francisco, Lutheran said that total North American metal powder shipments in 2010 increased about 35% to an estimated 451,000 short tons.

At the same time, iron powder shipments soared to 353,121 short tons, a 44.23% increase. The PM parts share represented 315,192 short tons, a 50% jump over 2009 levels. However, Lutheran stressed that since 2009 was such a dismal year, the increases only brought the industry to levels still well below its peak year of 2004, when iron powder shipments reached almost 474,000 tons.

Copper powder shipments in 2010 also advanced to an estimated 18,000 short tons, a 36% increase. Stainless steel powder shipments gained as well, to an estimated 6,700 short tons, an increase of almost 50%. North American MIM-grade powder shipments increased to almost 29% to over one million pounds. Shipments of PM tool steel, high-alloy materials, and tungsten also registered gains.

 Based on the first quarter of 2011, the MPIF suggests that PM industry executives remain optimistic about the business outlook and believe that the PM business is well on its way to recovery.