How to Specify Powder Metallurgy Parts

The part or component designer and the powder metallurgy (PM) part fabricator are partners throughout the creation of a PM part. There are benefits for both part designer and fabricator if both parties begin to work together early in the design & development phase. In short, if you want a well-engineered and economical product, be willing to work together.

Once the design process reaches a point where quotes are needed, accurate specifications are essential—and this accuracy can depend on early interaction with a PM parts fabricator.

When requesting a quote, accurate part performance specifications must be provided. Refer to the MPIF Standard 35: Material Standards for PM Structural Parts for properties and specifications.

It is important to stress a part’s function, as critical requirements for satisfactory service. For optimum results and efficiency, give the PM parts fabricator the widest possible latitude in specifying material, design, physical characteristics, dimensional tolerances, etc. Widely differing costs may result from varying quality levels, a change in tolerances or design, or a failure to specify minimum properties. Additionally, there may be more than one MPIF material that can satisfy the requirements.

Checklist for Specifying Powder Metallurgy Parts (pdf)

  1. Order quantities which include initial needs and a future demand forecast. This enables the most economical approach to costs, manufacturing integration, and delivery.
  2. Detailed drawings of the part and any assembly drawings. Actual samples or prototypes would be helpful. Transmit any information such as knowledge of materials that have worked well in the application.
  3. Can part design be modified without affecting function? If so, where?
  4. Will the PM part replace one currently in production, or is this a new application? Is the application military, aerospace, medical, etc.?
  5. Actual service conditions: heat, moisture, impact, corrosiveness, etc.
  6. Necessary physical, mechanical, corrosion-resistance, or special properties (tensile, elongation, hardness, flatness, conductivity, impact energy, fatigue strength, leak tightness, etc.).
  7. The finish required (plating, oxide coating, surface finish).
  8. If any machining or secondary operations are required, will they be performed by the PM supplier?
  9. For bearings: load, shaft materials and finish, speed, service conditions, and diameter should be noted.

Powder metallurgy components are used throughout day-to-day life. You’ll find PM components in cars, used in aerospace and for the military, in agriculture, for countless medical purposes, for recreation and hand tools, and much more. Learn more about what everyday items are made with powder metallurgy by reading our case studies.