Over recent decades the economic and technical advantages of producing metal components from powders, has led to the steady displacement of conventional casting by near net shape (NNS) manufacturing techniques such as metal injection moulding (MIM), additive manufacturing (AM) and isostatic pressing. Such processes minimise requirements for grinding and machining and can be used to produce complex components with unique properties. Material utilisation is typically high and energy input low giving rise to overall production costs that can be as much as 60% lower than those associated with traditional manufacturing routes.
Exploitation of the full potential of NNS processes relies on being able to characterise metal powders to predict and optimise manufacturing performance. In a recent article in Powder Metallurgy Review, Jamie Clayton (Operations Director, Freeman Technology) and Jason Dawes (Technology Manager – Materials Engineering, Manufacturing Technology Centre) consider which properties are influential in defining the performance of powders in NNS processes. They focus on cold isostatic pressing (CIP), and highlight powder testing techniques that can provide relevant information. An experimental evaluation of different iron alloy powders in a CIP process illustrates the value of dynamic powder testing.
Click here, and turn to page 61, to read the article in full.