Powder Metallurgy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Powder Metal (PM) is a unique manufacturing process, and we realize there are some out there that may require a better understanding of this Quality Process. Below we answer some common questions to help you better understand the Process, and Vision Quality Components’ capabilities when using the powdered metal process as a means for making our High Quality Components for you.

(Clicking on a question will take you to its answer below.)

 

Is the Powder Metal production process a complicated one?

Like any method of manufacturing quality components, it is a never ending learning experience as we keep up with the latest of technological advancements. Once mastered, producing powder metal components is neither a complicated process nor an excessively expensive means of producing quality components.

It can be a complicated process, though, if you do not have available experienced people, a good tool design, and a quality press to compact the components in. In most cases, Vision is able to compact/mold the component to its net, or near net shape, and then sinter it at elevated temperatures and time at temperature, to provide a molecular bonding of the material particles which develops the PM components strength and hardness.  Once coming out of the sintering furnace and properly cooled, in many cases the part is essentially complete.  If we are unable to form the part to your print’s net shape, there are also many optional processes to further refine the part such as heat treating, turning, grinding, tapping, or many coating and plating options available if needed.

Click here for a detailed look at the full production process in our manufacturing plant.

 

Can you produce cost effective components for both low volume and high volume production quantities?

The powder metal (PM) process is well suited for both high volume and low volume production.  The quantity a PM company is willing to make varies from company to company. Vision Quality Components has Customers with annual quantity requirement across a broad spectrum. We produce components with as little as 2,500 pcs a year, to 500,000 pcs a year.

Whether a low volume component makes business sense for both parties is how much can PM save the Customers over a year’s period and how long does it take that Customer to pay back the tools that must be purchased to produce the part.  In general, if there is enough savings by converting to PM, to pay back the tools needed, in one year or less, most Customers feel it makes good sense to change. We would be glad to review your applications for you.

 

Why would one choose Powdered Metal over other production methods?

Powder metal offers many advantages over traditional production methods. Some key reasons are cost savings, producing lower scrap, part to part consistency, and the variety of material selections we have to offer.

To see all the reasons, please visit our “Why Powder Metal Gears?” page.

 

Are Powdered Metal parts as strong as wrought parts?

In most cases, yes they are.  It is very important, though, to discuss the applications use, environment, life cycles, mating component types, and any further processing the Customer may do, to ensure the PM vendor selects the best fit from the many types of materials and processes that may be needed to produce a quality part that will perform as your application requires.

 

What parts do you make from Powdered Metal?

Vision produces a wide array of gears and structural components from our extensive range of raw materials including alloy steel, brass, and stainless steel.

More examples can be seen on our “What we Make” page.

 

What is the best use for VISION 736 MAX STRENGTH?

VISION 736 MAX STRENGTH is a proprietary alloy steel and process combination.  It was developed at Vision Quality Components for manufacturing simple structure, but high strength spur gears, and other structural components.  It can also be used for manufacturing some dual gears, and some helical gears. It is used where you need higher strengths and where extended wear is needed, to replace copper infiltration, or double press double sinter components. For more information, see our “Materials” page.

 

Are there careers in powder metal at Vision Quality Components?

Visit our Careers page to find out more.

 

How can I ask you a specific question about my component needs?

That’s an easy one!  Please contact Lesley Kline by phone at (814) 765-1903 x208 or email at lkline@visionqci.com.

If you want to speak directly to our engineering, quality, or production control people, more contacts can be found on our “Contact Us” page.