Powder metallurgy products are found in many fields of technology. Cost-effective, functional and flexible, powder metallurgy parts have made great strides in recent decades in the automotive, aerospace, engineering, medical technology and electronics industries.
Almost four-fifths of all powder metallurgy (PM) products are used in vehicle manufacture. An average European car contains around 8.4kg of sintered parts. In comparison, in Japan PM parts account for approximately 8kg of the total weight, but in the US, 19kg.
Other applications for PM parts are found in steel and ferrous sintered parts, oil impregnated sintered bearings, filters, friction materials, complex injection molding (MIM) – where annual growth rates are in double-digit percentages.
Also in sintered hard metals for cutting tools and wearing parts – including ones with additional hard coatings (e.g. diamond) – in high-speed steels, heavy metals, super alloys and in rare earth magnets based on, for example, neodymium-iron-boron (Nd-Fe-B). Without magnet groups with very high energy densities, many innovative applications would simply not be possible, for example, the manufacture of micromotors with a tiny diameter of <2mm. And without hard metals it would be very hard or impossible to machine many of today's new materials.
Following the economic crisis of 2009 global demand for PM products rose again rapidly. In 2010 global annual output of PM products (excluding ceramics) listed here was already more or less back to the same level as before the crisis, at around 30 billion Euros. Hard metals account for the major portion of this, at approximately 13 billion Euros. Worldwide production of ferrous PM parts is now worth over 6.5 billion Euros (source: IPMA), of which around 23 percent is accounted for in Europe. Business in metal injection molding (MIM) has also expanded continuously over recent years. Global turnover in MIM is put at 650 million Euros for 2010 (Source: PIM International).
Information on the current status of powder metallurgy and on the outlook for the future of new technologies in this segment of industry is being offered by Germany’s Fachverband Pulvermetallurgie (FPM, powder metallurgy trade association) at CERAMITEC 2012.
Because powder metallurgy is such an important area worldwide, it will again have a strong showing at CERAMITEC 2012. Many exhibitors, among them key players such as Atlas-Press, Dorst, Komage-Gellner, Krautzberger, Lauffer and Osterwalder, have already registered for the show.
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