Compare and contrast powdered metal (P/M) to forging – in terms of strength, part integrity, requirement for secondary operations, design flexibility, cost-effectiveness and supplier base.

Compare…

Powdered Metal (P/M)

Forging

Strength: Low standard mechanical properties (e.g. tensile strength) are typical of P/M parts. The grain flow of a forging ensures strength at critical stress points.
Part integrity: Costly part-density modification or infiltration is required to prevent P/M defects. Both processes add significant cost to production. The grain refinement of forged parts assures metal soundness and absence of defects.
 Requirement for secondary operations: Special P/M shapes, threads, holes and precision tolerances may require extensive machining. Secondary forging operations can be reduced to finish machining, hole drilling and other simple steps. The inherent soundness of forgings leads to consistent, excellent machined surface finishes.
Design flexibility: P/M shapes are limited to those that can be ejected in the pressing direction. Forging allows part designs that are not restricted to pressing direction.
Cost-effectiveness: Long production runs are often required to recoup initial P/M tooling investment. New P/M parts require long lead times. Forging can respond quickly to changes in product demand and remain cost effective once die tooling is available at the forge.
Broadness of supplier base: The powdered metal supplier base is limited. The large number of qualified forgers ensures a wider choice of the best possible service.

Compare…

Strength:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

Low standard mechanical properties (e.g. tensile strength) are typical of P/M parts.


Forging

The grain flow of a forging ensures strength at critical stress points.

Part integrity:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

Costly part-density modification or infiltration is required to prevent P/M defects. Both processes add significant cost to production.


Forging

The grain refinement of forged parts assures metal soundness and absence of defects.

Requirement for secondary operations:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

Special P/M shapes, threads, holes and precision tolerances may require extensive machining.


Forging

Secondary forging operations can be reduced to finish machining, hole drilling and other simple steps. The inherent soundness of forgings leads to consistent, excellent machined surface finishes.

Design flexibility:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

P/M shapes are limited to those that can be ejected in the pressing direction.


Forging

Forging allows part designs that are not restricted to pressing direction.

Cost-effectiveness:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

Long production runs are often required to recoup initial P/M tooling investment. New P/M parts require long lead times.


Forging

Forging can respond quickly to changes in product demand and remain cost effective once die tooling is available at the forge.

Broadness of supplier base:


Powdered Metal (P/M)

The powdered metal supplier base is limited.


Forging

The large number of qualified forgers ensures a wider choice of the best possible service.

For more information on forgings compared to powdered metal, visit the Forging Industry Association (FIA) website.