Award-Winning Powder Metal Parts Save Big Money

Winners of the 2013 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition are announced.

The Metal Powder Industries Federation ( recently announced the winners of its 2013 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition, parts which show significant savings for their users. Here are the highlights:

Indo-US MIM ( won the grand prize in the automotive engine category for a threaded port and support ring it supplies to Sensata Technologies. The parts are used in a sensor kit that measures the inlet pressure of the air–fuel mixture in each cylinder of a passenger car engine. The pieces are fabricated via metal injection molding (MIM) to near-net shape. Coining and passivation are required on all three parts and CNC thread cutting is performed on the port. This application is estimated to save Sensata Technologies 50% over the cost of fabrication using alternate technologies.

Indo-US MIM also won an award of distinction in the automotive engine category for a fuel-control gear segment. The part goes into a fuel-control device that regulates the entry of fuel into the engine. Converted from a machined part, the gear segment is fabricated using MIM from low-alloy steel, reaping a savings of 80% over the previous method. The company delivers approximately 3 million pieces annually to Bosch. 

AMES ( took home the grand prize in the auto-motive chassis category for a compressor clutch that is part of a braking system assembly for heavy trucks and buses. The system stops the compressor once the necessary air pressure is reached, saving energy and reducing fuel consumption by 7%. The powder metallurgy design made from diffusion-alloyed steel integrates two separate toothed parts into a single component—the conical front, which connects to the crankshaft, and the opposite face, which connects to the compressor, and a coupling.

GKN Sinter Metals ( won an award of distinction in the automotive engine category for an aluminum rear cam cap. The part serves a dual function of holding the camshaft in place as well as holding an auxiliary vacuum pump in a new engine. This is the first time an aluminum cam cap with “tombstone” geometry has been made using press-and-sinter powder metallurgy. Previously, this feature could only be formed by die casting.

Burgess-Norton ( earned an award of distinction in the automotive transmission category for a ramp plate used in an electronically activated locking differential in European light-commercial vehicles. These differentials significantly improve on-demand vehicle traction in adverse conditions by directing all of the drive torque simultaneously to both wheels. The use of powder metallurgy provided cost savings estimated at 20% to 40% compared to machining a component.

FMS Corporation ( won an award of distinction in the hand tools/recreation category for a star shifter used in Polaris Industries’ six-speed Victory motorcycle transmission. The shifter is the first powder metallurgy component in this six-speed transmission, functioning as the cam interface in a mechanism that enables the engagement and shifting among all gear combinations. Polaris estimates a 45% cost savings over the previously forged part.