MPIF Announces Design Excellence Award Winners

A collection of the 2021 grand prize winners.

A collection of the 2021 grand prize winners.

July 1, 2021—
The winners in the 2021 Powder Metallurgy (PM) Design Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), demonstrate outstanding examples of PM’s diversity. From electric vehicles to golf putters, these components use PM’s flexibility to push forward new concepts and process controls to demonstrate the inexhaustible well of capabilities PM can marshal in the service of component design. Designers continue to choose PM for complex and critical applications such as automotive, medical devices, consumer products, hardware, and more. Six Grand Prizes and sixteen Awards of Distinction have been given in this year's competition.

GRAND PRIZE AWARDS

A Grand Prize in the Automotive—Chassis Category for Conventional PM components was awarded to Phoenix Sintered Metals LLC, and customer Dana Incorporated, for a stepped planetary gear used in a ridged rear axle gear box for battery electric light commercial vehicles. It was essential to be able to deliver tight dimensional control for this complex shaped part. The five-level pinion is made using FL-4405-100HT. No other metal forming technology could provide the part geometry at a commercially competitive price.

In the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize has been awarded to ARC Group Worldwide for an enclosed striker used in the firing mechanism of a commercial handgun. The part is made in a 2-cavity mold, and strategic tool design and staging was implemented. Postsintering, HIP and heat treatment are performed to increase mechanical properties. The position of the tip to the primary body of the component is critical for part functionality. The parts are finished with an Enickel coating.

A Grand Prize has been awarded to Parmatech Corporation in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for Metal AM components for a 316L stainless steel putter head and hosel, made for Cobra Puma Golf, and used in the King Supersport-35 golf putter. The use of AM technology allowed designers to place or remove material strategically to optimize mass distribution, stiffness, and the development of the unique lattice structure eliminated the need for supports during the sintering process. The flexibility also allowed production of both right- and left-hand versions of the putter head and hosel without the need for tooling changes.

A Grand Prize has been awarded to ARC Group Worldwide in the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for MIM components, for a quick disconnect assembly used for a variety of small handheld devices like binoculars, cameras, and firearms. Utilizing MIM allowed for a near-net-shape molded assembly and enabled the incorporation of smooth transitions and rounded edges as well as the elimination of any machining marks on the visible portions of the parts.

In the Hardware/Appliances Category for Conventional PM components, a Grand Prize has been awarded to Metalpo Ind e Com Ltda and their customer Groupe SEB – Arno Clock Krups Panex Penedo Rochedo, for a soft-magnetic composite (SMC) superior and inferior stator for a mono-phase induction motor for a ceiling fan. The component was specifically designed for the PM process to take advantage of the 3D magnetic flux, resulting in less copper wiring, a 76% reduction in the mass of the motor, and 35% less energy consumption and quieter operation.

In the Medical/Dental Category for MIM components, a Grand Prize has been awarded to OptiMIM for a compression frame used in Nextremity Solutions Lapidus System for holding and aligning the targeting drill guide during tarsometatarsal fusion. The parts are produced using MIM-420 stainless steel in a
single cavity open and shut mold with two slides. The first forms the rectangular opening and the second the two holes at a 60º angle on the opposite end of the frame. The parts are sized in a die with two slides so that forces can be applied in perpendicular directions to the parts.

AWARDS OF DISTINCTION

In the Automotive—Transmission Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to ARC Group Worldwide for a worm gear used in a transmission locking mechanism. MIM processing was selected because of the complexity of the helical gear teeth and the adjacent shaft geometry. Custom staging furniture is used for sintering the parts which require no secondary operations to be functional in the mating assembly.

In the Automotive—Transmission Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has also been given to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. for an oil spray piston cooler. The MIM-4605 parts are used in the engine of heavy vehicles and were previously made by machining. Holes are formed by two different slide pins at different angles in the tool, and the side core has to travel through the center pin with a delay mechanism.

In the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category for Metal AM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to 3DEO Inc. for a 17-4 PH stainless steel casing extractor for Glock brand pistols. A hybrid AM approach is used to make the parts that offers the robustness and accuracy of CNC machining and the scalability of MIM while overcoming the drawbacks of each process. The part has a complex geometry with several small, critical features.

In the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. for a frame chassis, part of a pistol assembly. The parts are made using MIM-17-4 PH in the H900 condition. Prior to MIM the parts were machined from bar stock by the customer. The MIM parts meet 80% of the required part features with the remainder being machined by the customer, reducing the machining cycle by 70%.

In the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has also been given to Advanced Powder Products Inc. and their customer Savage Arms for a bolt handle for a hunting rifle. The part assists with loading the next round of ammunition and in removing the shell after it has been fired. The complex curvature and intricate design presented challenges with molding and sintering. MIM processing was able to convert a two-piece design machined from bar stock to a single piece MIM part.

In the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Conventional PM components Category, an Award of Distinction has been given to Sintergy Inc. and their customer Knott Brake Company for a drum brake shoe for off highway units. The parts have localized infiltration to improve the region subject to wear. The PM parts replaced a three-piece weldment and passed extensive durability and performance testing.

In the Lawn & Garden/Off-Highway Conventional PM components Category, an Award of Distinction has also been given to Singhal Sintered Pvt. Ltd. for bush speed gears for tractor transmissions. The previously forged parts have an inner diameter spline with a step. Maintaining the tight spline tolerance during the heat-treatment process was challenging. Finishing operations include OD grinding and face grinding.

In the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for Metal AM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to 3DEO Inc. and their customer Blackland Razors for an open comb base plate used in a double-edge safety razor. A hybrid AM approach is used to make the parts that offer extremely tight dimensional tolerances that set the blade gap for this shaving razor.

In the Hand Tools/Recreation Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to Nichols Portland LLC for a positive displacement gerotor assembly for customized performance-racing fuel pumps. Racing applications require higher delivery pressures with fuel formulations that provide very low levels of lubricity. A novel material was developed to meet these needs in which a wear resistant hard phase is dispersed within a matrix.

In the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category for Conventional PM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to Capstan for a coupling handle used to prevent accidental disconnects. Previously a casting, conversion to PM permitted elimination of the casting gate, incorporation of a locational pin-button hole, and lettering. The coupling handles are used to provide improved pressure and temperature control capabilities in fluid power controls for a wide variety of applications.

An Award of Distinction has been given to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. in the Industrial Motors/Controls & Hydraulics Category for MIM components for a casing and ground used in industrial gas sensors. Both parts require high magnetic permeability and low coercive field strength. The ground has many holes and threads, and the casing is a complex part with thin walls, sectional differences, and three threaded holes on the outer walls.

In the Hardware/Appliances Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has been awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. for a knob shaft, clutch, knob shield, core plug, core body, and control sleeve actuator used in door locks. The previously machined stainless-steel parts have intricate profiles, thin walls, multiple holes, blind threads, aesthetic requirements, and sectional differences adding to the complexity of the part.

In the Hardware/Appliances Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has also been awarded to ARC Group Worldwide for a key blade used in an electronic security system. Sintering requires custom staging to minimize distortion of the delicate geometries critical to part functionality. The parts require two sizing steps to ensure twelve critical dimensions meet the customer specifications. Fitment to the mating part and the aesthetic appearance of the primary visual surface was essential.

In the Medical/Dental Category for MIM components, an Award of Distinction has been given to ARC Group Worldwide for a pusher used in the ratcheting assembly for the consistent placement of high viscosity adhesives in incisions, used as an alternative to sutures or staples in surgical procedures. Strategic tool design, venting, and a 3-plate pin gate allow complete material fill of the complex part geometry, keeping distortion to a minimum and allowing tight profile and dimensional requirements to be maintained.

An Award of Distinction has also been awarded in the Medical/Dental Category for MIM components to Alpha Precision Group – Metal Injection Molding and their customer Elite Biomedical Solutions for an LVP door latch for an IV pump. The component has a tight tolerance on the hole position for the assembled roller. In use, the roller is latched on to a mating component that the company also makes to complete the latch/hook mechanism. The parts are made in-house from start to finish and the machining and multi-stage assembly are considered value added to the customer.

In the Electronics/Electrical Components category for MIM components an Award of Distinction has been awarded to Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd. for a ceramic sensor used in an electronic device. Previously machined, the complex, mostly hollow parts have a U-shaped geometry with an open slot at the rear end and a through-hole at the front, with another hole passing horizontally through the slot.

The awards were presented here during the 2021 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials (PowderMet2021) and co-located conference Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy (AMPM2021) and Tungsten2021.

MPIF
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