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How does the Powdered Metal Process Work?
Powdered Metal Parts
There are several steps involved in how the powdered metal process works. Similar to investment casting there are several steps, but the end result can be a low-cost, high-quality powdered metal part, also called metal injection molding (MIM). Listed below is the typical sintered metal casting process in order:
Blending - This is the process of combining metal powders or alloys together with lubricants to produce a homogeneous mix.
Briquetting - This process is where metal powders or alloys are compressed while restricted in a die, at pressures as low as 10 to 45 tons per square inch.
Sintering - Here each individual particle bonds into a mass. The parts are heated in a protective atmosphere furnace to a high relative temperature below the melting point of the particular metal or alloy.
Repressing - This is the final pressing of a sintered metal part to obtain proper size and physical properties.
Infiltrating - This process of fills the pores of a sintered metal part with a metal or alloy of a lower melting point.
Impregnation - This process fills the pores of a sintered metal part with a lubricant.
Heat Treating - This is the heating of a sintered metal part in a protective atmosphere and then oil quenching the part. The results are usually improved strength and hardness.
Machining - If required powdered metal parts can be machined to obtain the desired shape before or after heat-treating is completed.