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The first course, Preparation for Better Sintering, helps students learn how to prepare green parts for better sintering by heating the parts from room temperature to about 1900°F under controlled and optimized temperature and atmosphere profiles. The key objective of course 2 is to empower the students with solid, practical production-oriented knowledge of the conventional Ferrous PM sintering process. More specifically, they should be able to apply this newly acquired knowledge and data in order to:

 

1. Be able to troubleshoot existing problems such as part discoloration, decarb, frosty parts, loss in hardness, soot on parts, part warpage, lube residue inside the furnace muffle and/or under the belt, belt damage, belt discoloration, muffle and belt lifetime, occasional fire in the exhaust system, excessive variations in properties from batch to batch or week to week, safety in the use of combustibles containing sintering atmospheres, and other common but solvable issues.

 

2. Be able to examine existing furnaces and practices to increase production rate by 20-40% and reduce costs of sintering, energy and maintenance while still running the sintering operation in a manner that is clean and environmentally safe.

 

3. Understand the complex role of variables such as initial green part composition, lubricant type, compacted density, sintering temperature/atmosphere/time combination and final heat treat on the ultimate mechanical properties like strength, dimensions and hardness.

 

Just as in course 1, students in course 2 learn to “take a walk” from about 1900°F to the peak sintering temperature and down to the cooling section. They learn to figure out the optimum combination of temperature, atmosphere and time required to meet the above stated objectives. The above mentioned objectives are covered during the 4 day long hands-on course through a combination of:

 

  • 12 predesigned experiments on the 6 inch belt furnace

  • A half dozen or more short lectures between the experiments

  • Two lectures from industry experts

  • Students doing all the measurements and data recording with class computers

  • Students working as a team to analyze the data, make graphs and presentations

  • Interactions, discussions and Q/A periods with lecturers and students themselves

  • Discussions on the issues expressed by students from their own plants  

  • Reading of published selected articles on the subject matter of the course

  • Students writing down what they learned at the end of each day and end of the course

  • Discussion topics with extra focus such as: Is peak temperature more important than time at temperature?