Sustainability Practices in Powdered Metal Manufacturing
Sustainability Practices in
Powdered Metal Manufacturing
Over recent decades, there has been an increased push for improved sustainability across the manufacturing industry. The result has been the development of new manufacturing techniques, common practices, and equipment that uses energy more efficiently. Powdered metal manufacturers have been around for a long time, but powder metallurgy only recently has been recognized as a green technology and an environmentally conscious manufacturing technique.
Reducing Material Waste
The most well-known characteristic of powdered metal manufacturing is its ability to significantly reduce material waste. Powdered metal involves building parts from, as the name suggests, a metal powder, and uses the exact amount of material necessary. The powder is then compacted at room temperature, heated, and cooled to form the part. This creates a near-net shape without the significant waste of metal that results from traditional machining. In other words, the original shape is close to the end-shape, meaning that the powdered metal parts require much less additional processing in order to achieve the desired shape. This in turn means less material waste and much more efficient use of the material at the same time.
Material scrap waste is a major issue in metal manufacturing and fabrication. Recycling that scrap is one answer, but powder metal manufacturers go another step, by nearly eliminating the amount of scrap being produced in the first place. Powder metal components have a quality surface finish that requires little secondary processing and machining, so much less waste is produced.
In addition, powdered metal parts are much easier to ‘design for recyclability’ than parts made through other techniques. This means that powdered metal parts are more easily broken down in a way that materials can be reused.
Improved Environmental Impact
The environmental impact of a manufacturing process includes not only the amount of waste produced, but also the energy usage of the equipment, the amount of byproducts and emissions generated, and the long-term durability of the parts produced.
Powder metal manufacturing is relatively more energy efficient than other types of manufacturing. Not only is less energy required for subsequent machining of powdered metal parts, but the compaction and heating that occurs during the manufacturing process also requires significantly less energy than other casting and compaction methods.
This type of manufacturing also generates fewer harmful emissions and byproducts than other types, providing not only less environmental impact, but also a safer working environment for powder metal manufacturers.
And finally, powdered metal parts are often lighter in weight, durable, and strong. They tend to be long-lasting, requiring less maintenance and replacement, and the process is excellent for any type of production volume, prototype to high-volume manufacturing. Overall, powdered metal manufacturing offers a sustainable alternative to conventional machining and has been growing in popularity over the past decades as a green technology and a sustainable manufacturing technique of metal parts in many different industries.
Looking for an experienced Powder Metal Manufacturer
Sterling Sintered Technologies, Inc. has been a leading manufacturer of powdered metal parts since 1955. Check out our website to learn more about how we can serve you and to request a quote today!