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Sintering-In order to achieve desired final strength, density and dimensional stability, the green parts are sent through a sintering furnace. During sintering, the metal powder particles of the part are molecularly bonded by heating in a protective atmosphere to temperatures below the melting point of the major powder constituent of the part. The contacts points between the compacted particles increase in size and strength to improve the techanical properties of the component.

Sintering, depending up the process design, can shrink, expand, increase conductivity and/or make the part harder in order to achieve the final part specifications.

In a sintering furnace, the parts are placed on a continuous conveyor and moved slowly through the chambers of the furnace to achieve three major functions. First, the parts are slowly preheated to remove unwanted lubricants introduced into the powder for the compaction process. Next, the parts move through the high heat zone of the furnace where carefully controlled temperatures ranging from 1450° to 2400° are used to determine the final properties of the parts. The atmosphere inside this chamber of the furnace is carefully balanced by adding specific gases to reduce existing oxides and prevent further oxidation of the parts during this high heat phase. Finally, the parts pass through a cooling chamber to finish them or prepare them for any secondary procedures needed. This whole cycle can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending upon the materials used and the size of the parts.

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