Project Background

Sintered parts obtained by the powder metallurgy process are employed in several industry sectors, especially automotive. They are typically intricate, complex shaped parts produced in near net shape by compaction of powders into a geometry followed by sintering of the compacts for consolidation, where particles are bonded upon heating. The powder metallurgy process, by nature, is suited to high volume production and therefore any flaws/defects in the parts can have a significant impact on the production output for example loss of material and efficiency, as well as potential failures in use later. Therefore, there is a need for automated inspection by non-destructive means, for determining and separating the good and bad batches during production, preferably as early as possible, without having to seek destructive examination carried out manually, which can have a negative impact on the production flow and output. More critically, any faulty part that is overlooked may cause more problems later on such as unexpected premature failures in application. Depending on the component and the criticality of the application, this can have drastic consequences such as accidents.

In this project, we have developed a digital radiographic system for on-line inspection of powder metallurgy components in the sintered state. This technique allows fast inspection and application of image processing for the detection of small cracks, flaws and density variations in-situ.

Powder metallurgy parts Making poweder metallurgy parts flow chart MIM Technology