Commerce, California – A sinter-hardened steel planetary gear system, featuring a carrier with an integrated sun gear and three planetary gears, earned the grand prize in the medical/dental category for ASCO Sintering Co. at the 2015 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF). The system is used in multiple stacks for gear reduction in a single-use, portable, physician-operated surgical device. In addition to the integrated pinion gear, the carrier includes three posts that extend above the flange with a 2-to-1 length-to-diameter ratio. Proprietary press mechanisms were required to achieve the post density, as well as a proper post-to-flange bond. The carrier is pressed, sintered, and tempered to net shape.
The part had originally been fabricated as an assembly of a powder metallurgy (PM) part and wrought posts. By integrating the posts to the flange through advanced PM manufacturing techniques, and by the elimination of a secondary heat-treating operation through the use of modern sinter-hardening materials, the new part design achieved a 60% cost reduction. The part is an outstanding example of a PM medical application, unique in that it is not made of stainless steel nor fabricated through metal injection molding.
Winners of the MPIF awards competition were announced at the POWDERMET2015 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials. Receiving grand prizes and awards of distinction, the winning parts are outstanding examples of PM’s precision, performance, complexity, economy, innovation, and sustainability. The winning parts show how customers from around the world are taking advantage of PM’s remarkable design advantages.