The Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) presented FMS Corporation with the Outstanding Powder Metallurgy Parts Grand Prize in the lawn and garden/off-highway category for a complex assembly of five PM steel parts used in the transmission of an ATV.
The assembly consists of two shift forks, two sector gears and a park pawl. Four of the parts are made from PM sinter-hardened steel to a density of 7.2 g/cm3 with a minimum ultimate tensile strength of 110,000 psi. One of the sector gears is made from 4300 steel with tensile strength of 160,000 psi and a 30 HRC minimum hardness. The parts were produced using the standard press and sinter process.
The Outstanding PM Parts Awards are presented each year at the MPIF annual trade show PowderMet. John F. Sweet, president of FMS Corporation, took home the award for its "high level of complexity and high quality requirements. The level of complexity allows for many different dimensions to be held," he said.
"Innovation is the key. It was a good application of powder metallurgy in a new market."
FMS has won the award in different categories seven times since 1998. Of all FMS's winning parts, this one had the highest number of components in an assembly. "We have produced other assemblies," Sweet says. This was certainly the highest level of complexity we have taken on as a company."
He says, "The entire development took over a year."
The customer, Team Industries of Bagley, MN, settled on FMS and the PM process due to cost savings, which they estimated at 60 percent. "They considered machining and casting and were convinced that the powder metal method would be the most cost effective," Sweet says.
FMS specializes in powder metal component parts with full CAD/CAM gear design and inspection capability. Sweet touts the benefits of using PM for transmission parts compared with traditional machining methods. "The cycle time is lower, and there is little or no material waste. It's a very efficient process," he says.
He notes that PM is the fastest growing metalworking process, with gear manufacturing as an area that has expanded significantly in use, and the technology has improved. "The powder metal process continues to make inroads in the manufacture of gears in an efficient way," Sweet says. "Where it was once thought of as strictly a cost cutting measure to be used with low performance gears, powder metallurgy continues to advance in material performance, and today we can compete in most high performance [applications], even 8620 carburized steel."