Sintering – cost-effective manufacturing of complex components
With sintering, you can produce complex components that get their final shape with little or no processing. If you have components with complex geometry, you can profit a lot from sintering the component instead of using cutting processes such as turning or milling.
When sintering, a metal powder is pressed in a closed tool under high pressure, to the final shape of the component. The component is then heated in a sinter oven to such a high temperature (1 100-1 300 ° C) that the metal particles are welded together into a solid body. When the component comes out of the sinter oven it is ready to use and the strength of the grains now makes the component solid and strong.
In some cases processing or surface treatment must be done after the sintering process, but in general, the component is complete. There is also the possibility to fill the pores of the material with oil, which makes the component self-lubricating and sinter can then be used for self-lubricating layers.
Advantages of sintering
With sintering you can create irregular shapes in many different materials. Sintering provides components with fine surfaces, accurate tolerances and usually requires no finishing. The biggest advantage of sintering is that you can get quite complex geometries without having to waste expensive material – which makes sintering to a very cost-effective manufacturing method.
ESMA’s manufacturers and suppliers of sinter
ESMA has for many years been working with AMES, a Spanish specialist on sintering. We have also Asian suppliers, with possible manufacturing in China.
MIM provides components with complex shapes
MIM – metal injection molding, is a technics for producing components with very complex shapes. The technology is based on metal powder mixed with wax and polymer. The mixture is pressure formed into a tool with one or more cavities. Before the sintering, the wax / polymer is evaporated by heating.
Sintering is an excellent method for simple and straight geometries in metals such as copper, brass and steel. Sintering is best suited for series with large volumes up to thousands of components per year.
ESMA delivers for instance sintered components to the automotive industry, where examples of sintered components include gears, pulleys, synchronize rings for gearboxes, ABS wheels and cam lobes. Because you can control the porosity of sintered components, the method can also be used in the manufacturing of different types of filters.
Sintering is best suited for components that do not require much post-processing. With too much processing you lose the cost-effectiveness that sintering gives. Instead look at MIM or other processing methods such as cutting processes in the form of turning or milling.