Award-Winning Powder Metal Parts

The winners in the 2017 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), demonstrate outstanding examples of PM’s diversity. These component fabricators use PM’s flexibility to push forward new concepts and process controls and demonstrate the inexhaustible well of capabilities PM can marshal in the service of component design. Designers continue to choose PM for critical applications such as auto engines and transmissions, medical devices, consumer products, military applications, and more.

Eight Grand Prizes and ten Awards of Distinction have been given in this year’s competition.


MPIF-2017-grand-prize-winnersThe Grand Prize in the Automotive—Transmission Category was awarded to GKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Michigan, for a planetary carrier assembly made for Ford Motor Company. The sinter-brazed copper-steel assembly, comprised of a cage and a flanged hub, goes into the all-new 10-speed transmission for the Ford F-150 pickup. The finished carrier assembly requires only simple milling and turning operations to hold the tight tolerances on the bearing bores, pinion pin shaft holes, and thrust faces.

The Grand Prize in the Automotive—Engine Category went to Phillips-Medisize, Menomonie, Wisconsin, for a four-slot fuel valve seat made for Delphi. The metal injection molded (MIM) part goes into the Multec3.5 compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel injector that satisfies the market’s need for a low-cost, low-pressure port fuel injector. It is currently used by several small-engine and automotive applications, including aftermarket CNG conversions for trucks and cars, helping contribute to a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Grand Prize in the Automotive—Chassis Category was won by GKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Michigan, for a copper-steel output pulley made for Nidec Automotive Motor Americas. The part goes into an electric reclining mechanism in a minivan-rear-seat application. The part offers a lot of functionality in the small-footprint mechanism—the groove for cable retention, the cam for radial movement, and stops at both ends.

The Grand Prize in the Aerospace/Military Category was won by Dynacast Portland, Wilsonville, Oregon, for a MIM 17-4 PH canard made for UTC Aerospace Systems and Raytheon Company. The stainless steel part is used on the Talon, an add-on guidance and control package that transforms a legacy 2.75-inch Hydra-70 unguided rocket into a low-cost, precision-guided weapon. Three canards on each Talon act as the primary flight control surfaces. The MIM canard underwent a stringent qualification process.

The Grand Prize in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category went to FMS Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a 30-tooth drive sprocket fabricated from sinter-hardened steel with a proprietary machining additive, made for Polaris Industries, Inc. The part goes into a motorcycle where it is driven by the output shaft of the transmission and in turn drives the rear wheel via a toothed pulley. Other than tapping, the part is formed completely net shape, which offered cost savings over the previously machined part.

The Grand Prize in the Hardware/Appliance Category was awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd, India, for three MIM parts—upper stop ring, stop ring, and stop sleeve—made for Grohe, Germany. The parts go into the valve of a bath shower temperature controller unit. Made of MIM-316L stainless steel, all three complex parts are fabricated close to net shape, and special ceramic setters are employed for enhanced shape retention during sintering.

The Grand Prize in the Medical/Dental Category went to ARC Group Worldwide, Longmont, Colorado, for a MIM surgical keel punch made for Paragon Medical. The part functions as a broach to remove bone during knee surgery. Made from MIM 17-4 PH stainless steel, the part is molded and sintered to net shape with no additional coining, machining, or other post-processing to alter its shape.

The Grand Prize in the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category was won by FMS Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a stainless steel fitting. The fitting provides a latching mechanism to easily move a safety pin on a hydraulic lever up and out of the way. An innovative ramp design acts as a cam surface to move the pin from one position to the other.


An Award of Distinction in the Automotive— Transmission Category was given to Stackpole International, Canada, for a sinter-brazed planetary carrier made for ZF, Germany. The assembly, consisting of a guide plate and a spider, goes into a new 9-speed automotive transmission. The PM design solution for a lightweight carrier met all the customer’s design and durability requirements.

Another Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Transmission Category went to Keystone Powdered Metal Co., St. Marys, Pennsylvania, for an oil pump drive sprocket made of prealloyed steel and fabricated for Linamar Corporation, Canada. The part is used in a new 10-speed automatic transmission that goes into the Ford F-150 truck. The part passed extensive durability testing with particular emphasis on noise, vibration and harshness
requirements, so critical in automatic transmissions.

The final Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Transmission Category was won by Burgess-Norton Mfg. Co. Inc., Geneva, Illinois, for a sinter-hardened steel pocket plate made for Means Industries Inc. The part is a major component of a controllable clutch, a new design for multi-speed transmissions.

The Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Engine Category was given to NetShape Technologies, Floyds Knobs, Indiana, for a copper steel duplex cam sprocket made for US Tsubaki Automotive, LLC. The part goes into the the 4.4L Big Lion diesel engine in Land Rover’s flagship vehicle. An original PM design, the part offers an estimated 30% savings over the cost of machining it from wrought.

The Award of Distinction in the Automotive—Chassis Category went to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a MIM-4605 low-alloy steel top plate and check shim stop made for its customer Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions. The mating parts go into shock absorbers on the Chevrolet Camaro sports car. The MIM design provided increased repeatability and accuracy, providing an estimated 25% cost savings.

The Award of Distinction in the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Category was given to FMS Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a sinter-hardened steel pivot shift fork made for Team Industries. The part goes into a shifting mechanism in an all-terrain vehicle transmission. The two sets of journals are an absolute requirement as they enable the fork to pivot, which is its very function.

An Award of Distinction in the Aerospace/Military Category was earned by ARC Group Worldwide, Longmont, Colorado, for a MIM-4140 low-alloy steel latch made for Sig Sauer Inc. The internal latch drives a subassembly for the telescoping feature of the collapsible stock on MCX and MPX rifles. The part was designed for metal injection molding as it could not be economically made using any other fabrication method.

An Award of Distinction in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category went to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for a set of metal injection molded parts—barrel block, gas block, bolt catch, 7.62 NATO mag conversion bar, ejector retainer, and extractor link—that go into an MDR rifle made by Deserttech. The MIM-designed parts replaced ones that were machined, and reduced the cost by 30% while manufacturing lead-time was cut in half.

An Award of Distinction in the Hardware/Appliance Category went to ASCO Sintering Co., Commerce, California, for a copper-infiltrated steel bolt used in a commercial door lock system. The part’s complexity, with its 9 levels, rivals that which is more typically seen in parts produced via MIM. The bolt is pressed and sintered to its final shape without any secondary operations. It is estimated to save 60% over the cost of other manufacturing

An Award of Distinction in the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category went to Capstan, Wrentham, Massachusetts, for a copper-steel clutch piston. The part is used in an industrial power takeoff system, a relatively new development for PM pistons. It is a multi-level compacted part that, combined with multiple secondary processing steps, yields a highly precise, machined, and sealed PM component, an economically attractive alternative to a machined die cast one. This component is a prime example of how innovative machining
techniques, performed on precise, near-net as-sintered blanks, can add great value and open up new markets for the PM industry.

The awards were presented here during the 2017 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials (POWDERMET2017).

Metal Power Industries Federation

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