The MPIF’s Grand Prize Winners 2018.
The MPIF’s Grand Prize Winners 2018.

The MPIF has announced the winners of the 2018 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition. The Grand Prize and Awards of Distinction are named below.

Grand Prize Awards

Automotive – Transmission: GKN Powder Metallurgy for an aluminum PM planetary reaction carrier made for General Motors. The carrier goes into the GM 9T50 9-speed transmission offered in such vehicles as the Chevrolet Malibu and the Equinox crossover. Compacted of a metal-matrix-composite (MMC) aluminum alloy system and mated to an overdrive carrier, the twopiece design required industry-first tolerances.

Automotive – Engine: GKN Powder Metallurgy for a copper steel main bearing cap made for FCA US LLC. The part is used in the 2.0 L aluminum turbocharged four-cylinder FCA engine launched in the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Requirements for engine weight reduction drove the designers to an ‘upside down’ sculpted version. The design delivers a part that is 23% lighter than previous versions and offers a 10% better fatigue strength.

Aerospace/Military/Firearms: Indo-MIM Pvt Ltd for three MIM stainless steel parts: a rear insert, a slide stop, and a trigger lever. Together, the three parts form an assembly that goes into the P10 9-mm pistol. All three parts have complex geometries that would present great difficulties for machining operations to achieve.

Hand Tools/Recreation: FMS Corporation for three sinter-hardened steel parts made for Graco Inc: an eccentric gear, a combination gear, and a connecting rod that incorporates a bronze bearing. The parts comprise an assembly that drives a piston pump within a paint sprayer. The eccentric gear, which is compacted using cored holes on one side to balance the moment of inertia around the center shaft, features AGMA class 6 gear quality. The combination gear combines a helical gear and a spur gear. The bronze bearing is compacted, sintered, and sized in place inside the connecting rod, then oil impregnated. The combination gear and connecting rod are manufactured completely net-shape.

Hardware/Appliance: AMT Pte Ltd for a MIM stainless steel EPR flow block single sensor. It is part of the specimen inlet module of gas chromatography analytical equipment. Two internal channels manage gas in and out of the five ports without permitting leakages. Forming these 90-degree internal channels required the use of a hydraulic core-pull slider system. By integrating multiple, formerly cast and-machined parts into one MIM component, the complex geometry became quite challenging for tool design as well as for the MIM process. The sensor is processed close to net-shape, with the tapping of threads in the pre-formed holes being the only secondary operation performed.

Medical/Dental: ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM-17-4 PH size 5 cutting block made for Smith & Nephew. The block goes into the recently launched Visionaire FastPak Single Use Instruments used in knee-replacement surgery. The extreme complexity created by the overall size of the component, which weighs in at nearly a 3 pound, combined with non-uniform wall thicknesses and the need for stress mitigation for finished machining operations, makes this a challenging part to process via MIM. The MIM component is estimated to save 60% in cost over traditional manufacturing methods.

Electronic/Electrical: ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM stainless steel shaft grounding guide section made for Cutsforth Inc. The guide section is part of the customer’s shaft grounding system used in brush excitation maintenance on turbine generators in the nuclear, gas, coal, wind, and hydro industries. Although the part design has many undercuts due to the nature of the sliding track features, its design still allows for a twoplate mold without any slides. By controlling features such as gate location, fill time, hold pressure, and barrel temperature, the MIM process was optimized to produce near final netshape components with great aesthetics.

The winners of the 2018 Awards of Distinction.
The winners of the 2018 Awards of Distinction.

Awards of Distinction

Automotive – Transmission: Stackpole International, Canada, for a copper-steel rear planetary carrier made for Ford Motor Company. It’s used in the new 10-speed automotive transmission developed by Ford jointly with General Motors that was launched in such vehicles as the Ford Mustang and GM Camaro. The assembly consists of a clutch hub and a spider, which are joined using a sinterbrazing concept. The design of the ferrous carrier enabled it to win out over an aluminum casting design by delivering lighter weight and superior strength.

Automotive – Engine: AAM Powertrain for a prealloyed steel VVT sprocket, which is used in overhead camshaft GM inline 3- and 4-cylinder engines in cars such as the Buick Encore and Envision, and the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu, among others. The 6 pitch inverted tooth was selected to address concerns with NVH – noise, vibration, and harshness – as well as with durability and rotating mass. The part demands consistent powder filling to achieve the extremely tight tolerances required.

Automotive – Engine: Indo-MIM Pvt Ltd for a MIM stainless steel fuel-inlet orifice used in fuel rail systems of diesel engines in Ford vehicles. The metal injection molded part is formed close to net shape except for bright 4 annealing to remove surface oxidation and improve brazing. The previously machined part was redesigned for MIM in order to overcome the difficulty of producing tapered holes from opposite ends that are free of burrs at their meeting point. The two aligned holes are achieved using two slides.

Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: SMC Powder Metallurgy Inc, for a copper-steel spacer that is used in a tilt steering mechanism as a pivot on an ATV/SSV application. The part is overmolded with plastic and sees very little stress in the application. A collaborative design engineering effort converted the machined wrought part into a successful overmolding process.

Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway: MPP for a heat-treated nickel-steel clutch housing made for Hilliard Company. The part goes into a differential unit used in such applications as lawn & garden tractors and recreational vehicles. The part is symmetrical, with high hubs on each end, which are required to be equal in density. It is compacted, sintered, and heat-treated to print.

Aerospace/Military/Firearms: ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM low-alloy steel trigger bar made for Honor Defense. The nearly 75 mm (3 inch) long pistol part is made up of several complex contours with thin cross-sectional areas, making it impossible to hold distortion free through sintering. Several secondary processes, utilizing a high-resolution multi-view camera system, were optimized to allow micro-adjustment of each contour to meet the profile requirement, while still delivering cost effectiveness compared with the original machined part.

Aerospace/Military/Firearms: ARC Group Worldwide for two MIM stainless steel compensator brakes – a 5.56 and a 7.16 caliber – made for Sig Sauer. The parts are attached to short-barreled rifles to redirect gases and reduce the effects of recoil. Gating and sintering strategies enabled print tolerances to be maintained without secondary sizing or bending operations.

Hand Tools/Recreation: Indo-MIM Pvt Ltd for a MIM stainless steel passive plus body that goes into a safety assembly of mountaineering equipment. Together with a Kevlar rope and a carabiner to which it is assembled, the part helps to lock the rope in the event of a slip. Sophisticated shut-offs in the tooling were required in order to achieve the complex internal geometry, which is produced to net shape. A small sizing operation and heat treatment, as well as grit blasting for the part’s finish, are the only secondary operations.

Hardware/Appliance: ASCO Sintering Co for a stainless steel radius-adjust head. The part goes into commercial water sprinklers where it is used to adjust the water pattern. The part’s shape complexity, with a deep cored hole opposing a deep feature, was achieved by tool design and press control. Significant savings were realized in both tooling costs and production rates. The part is pressed to net shape with resin impregnating and nickel plating as secondary operations.

Hardware/Appliance: FMS Corporation for a stainless steel spindle used in a shower valve assembly, linking the handle to the cold-and-hot-water mixing valve. To avoid tooling to form a step from the gearroot diameter to the sealing diameter, the part is designed as a two-part assembly: a gear and a spindle that are first compacted and sintered, then assembled using automated equipment and re-sintered to bond the two parts together.

Medical/Dental: Indo-MIM Pvt Ltd for two permalloy parts – a cup and a cover – that are assembled to form a hearing aid enclosure. Both MIM parts are fabricated to near-net shape, with the cup only having a sizing operation to bring its overall dimensions within specification and the cover finish undergoing glass-bead blasting. The thin walls of the parts, as well as complex features such as holes, pips, and pips with holes, would make this application more difficult, thus more expensive, to produce using any other conventional method.

Electronic/Electrical: ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM stainless steel upper beam handle made for Cutsforth Inc. The part goes into an Easychange removable brush holder assembly used in turbine generators in 6 the power industry. Redesigned from a previously 100%-machined part, the as-molded component, with its many intricate details, needs only one slight machining operation to meet tolerance and functional requirements. The re-design to MIM reduced the per part cost by 60%.

This story uses material from the MPIF, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.