Originally shared June 13, 2023

This week our article will focus on the importance and usefulness of temperature profiling in a powdered metal sintering operation. It will also touch on other good profiling and furnace setting practices to ensure a clean operation, and how TAT Technologies might be able to to help. (You’ll also see how TAT got its name!)

A positive electrocardiogram (EKG) result means a person’s heart is in good shape. It is a strong indicator that, along with positive habits like a healthy diet and regular exercise, a person can perform their daily functions well and live a long life. The same is true for the temperature profile of a sintering furnace - a good result on a furnace’s Temperature and Atmosphere profiles combined with the right belt speed to provide the needed Time suitable for each section and zone indicates a well-maintained, efficient sintering furnace.

There are two steps to ensure you can get those results with your temperature profiles:

Step 1: Develop the optimum combination of T.A.T. for each product to be sintered in a designated furnace to provide acceptable quality sintered parts at a desired throughput. There is always room to improve this T.A.T. combination for each product. It is recommended that the question “Is the T.A.T. combination optimum?” should be raised at least once a year as part of a continuous improvement strategy for an overall manufacturing operation to ensure the minimum possible cost and energy per lb. of sintered parts in an environmentally safer and cleaner manner.

As a general guide, see the diagram “Walk Through a Sintering Furnace” at the bottom. Please also view these two short YouTube videos:

    a.  A Walk Through the Powdered Metal Sintering Cycle

    b.  LBT by TAT Technologies - Shows Lubricant Burning Technology in action.

Step 2: Once the T.A.T. combination is selected for a given product line, step 2 is to ensure that it remains constant during the related furnace’s operation. It is TAT Technologies’ recommendation that this should be checked three times in the first year of a new operation and could be reduced to two checks in subsequent years depending upon the results seen in the first year. The key objective of step 2 is to ensure consistency in sintered part quality. If the parts going into the furnace are consistently of good quality, if parts are loaded consistently the same way, and the T.A.T.combination always remains consistent, then the reject rate of sintered parts will approach ZERO. In addition, furnace maintenance costs will be reduced.

TAT Technologies can assist with step 1 by helping you determine your optimum T.A.T. combination. We can help with step 2 by performing the suggested 2-3 consistency checks per year with temperature profiles, atmosphere profiles, and an assessment of all furnace settings. We will share this data and submit an overall report with recommendations from TAT Technologies president Harb Nayar.