Sinter hardening - a big market and technology potential in China
Sinter hardening has been more and more applied in the PM component manufactures worldwide, due to its pronounced advantages: good hardening effect, cost saving, better dimensional control and environmental friendly. In this paper, the present situation of sinter hardening in mainland China is reviewed. The mechanism of sinter hardening is discussed in terms of both material and process effects. Among other sinter hardening materials, Cr-containing PM steels have shown a good market potential due to their high hardenability effect and low cost for raw materials. Combined with other technologies in PM such as warm compaction and high temperature sintering, Astaloy CrM can reach a tensile strength of 1400MPa, an elongation of 1.5%. A bending fatigue strength of 437MPa can also be reached after sinter hardening and tempering. In addition, sinter hardening gives a less dimensional change for this material. Finally, some suggestions are proposed regarding how to promote the sinter hardening technique in the Chinese PM market.