By Kari Williamson

Several key industries, including automotive, electrical and electronic, and machinery manufacturing, will be the primary drivers of growth for powder metals. Improved cost to performance ratios from parts, along with lower waste and closer tolerances have enticed many manufacturers to switch production of many parts to press and sinter techniques.

Ferrous metal powders remain volume leader

Ferrous powders accounted for 62% of the total metal powder market by volume, in 2010, and are projected to reach £917m of demand in 2015.

Non-ferrous powders include a much wider variety of metals and could reach demand of £539m in 2015. While non-ferrous metals held only 38% of the 2010 market by volume, they represented 79% of the total market value.

Platinum group metals prices rise

Prices of metal powders have increased at record rates over the past decade, but it is expected that price growth will slow, to an average of about 1% annually through 2015. There are, however, several notable exceptions, including platinum group metals and silver, both of which are expected to see price increases well over 6% per year. Ferrous metals will record slower price growth than the average.

Powder metals in vehicles to increase

In 2010, the US used 42 pounds of powder metals in every vehicle it produced, and this number is expected to grow.

Machinery manufacturers use powder metals to produce wear parts and those parts that are too complex to produce by traditional methods. Electrical equipment made with powder metals include a variety of primary rechargeable lithium-ion and alkaline batteries.

Other products, such as motors and brushes used in household appliances and industrial processes also consume significant amounts of sintered goods. Many more markets, including electronics and computers, chemical and related, and aerospace and other transportation equipment depend on metal powders for complex components with very specific materials properties, ReportLinker says.