Powder production equipment includes melt atomizers, plasma generators and CVD systems used to manufacture powders, nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanomaterial and other particulate materials. Melt atomizers are used to melt and atomize metals or other materials in order to produce a powder. Plasma generators can be used to melt or vaporize materials for formation of particulate products. Chemical vapor deposition equipment (CVD systems) react several chemical precusor to form a powder, nanotube, fullerene or nanomaterial. Powder production techniques are used to produce powders, fillers, nanomaterials or other particulates for manufacture of powdered metal parts, ceramics, plastic fillers and other specialized applications. Powder metallurgy is the discipline concerned with metallurgy powder production and powdered metal part fabrication. Powdered metal part fabrication is the technique that uses pressing and sintering (forming objects from a metal powder by heating the powder at a temperature below its melting point) to fabricate large materials and shape objects out of metal powder. The three stages of powder metallurgy include turning the primary material into a powder, injecting the powder into a mold or compacting in a die, and finally applying pressure, heat, and long setting times to consolidate the powder into a solid form.
Many types of powder production equipment and melting equipment are used in powder metallurgy. Two common types of power production equipment include melt atomizers and flakers. A melt atomizer is a piece of powder production equipment where metal is injected into the atomizer melting chamber. In this chamber, the metal is turned into tiny droplets that solidify into fine powder particles. Any material that is fusible can be atomized. Another common type of powder production equipment is a flaker, or a dryer/flaker, which is used to dry and solidify slurries, pastes, or melts. The material is then flaked off with a blade. In addition to flakers, other types of powder production equipment include mixers, compaction presses, and vacuums.
Many specialty products can be created using powder metallurgy technology. Powder processing is an economical technology that is useful for fabricating small lots of products and a wide range of product forms. Powder metallurgy and powder production equipment are used in a growing number of industrial sectors including the automobile industry (motors, gear assemblies), medical parts industries (implants), the aerospace industry (heat shields, motors, magnets, and parts), the energy industry (electrodes and fuel cells), and manufacturing (cutting and drilling tools).