The role of the designer can be classified as an essential part of the process of Powder Metallurgy Near Net Shape Hot Isostatic Pressing (PM NNS HIP). A Designer for PM HIP parts will not only need to have a full understanding of the internal process, how to design for manufacturability, but also an in-depth knowledge of various customer applications and components to be able to offer support that is more beneficial and far reaching than the original enquiry. In many ways PM HIP replaces conventional manufacturing technologies such as forging and casting to offer higher integrity, less fabrication or/and lower total cost of ownership. As such the original design received from customers is often designed with the restrictions in “design freedom” imposed by the conventional manufacturing technologies inability to produce complex shapes without the need of expensive post processing such as machining or/and welding.
“The key is to look beyond the original design to understand the function of the part. When the function is known our task is to create a NNS HIP design which is centred around the functionality and not restricted by the manufacturing process, as is the case with forgings, to achieve most optimal performance. Commented Johan Fahlborg, Design engineer at MTC PS.
What Johan describes is the very essence of what MTC PS strives for; understanding the customer’s needs and providing the customer with a selection of options that are tailor made to their needs and desired result. As such it means that the focus is always on the customer’s needs being matched with the MTC PS service and applying our know-how to the specifics of the request. As Steve Jobs put it, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” For MTC PS’ design team this is very much at the forefront of their thought process in relation to the customer, but also as an essential guiding factor for what the designers provide the factory. To achieve the excellent results for critical PM NNS products in demanding industries requires a detailed understanding of the desired results and how the manufacturing process is completed to reach those targets.
When you discuss the design process with the designers it’s clear that the process is a continuous development encompassing all areas. Anders Strandberg, another key member of the MTC PS’ design team, explained that a HIP NNS designer needs to make clear connections with the other departments, from Sheet metal bending, powder filling, right through to the HIP unit loading plan and heat treatment. This can result in key design changes that heavily reduce the time spent on processing and ensures that the finished product is delivered with a perfect result.
“As a designer we need to be flexible and listen to the input at all levels and at all stages to ensure we can bring everything together and always search for improvements in every aspect to always stay ahead of the game and continuing leading the NNS HIP industry” Commented Anders Strandberg, Design engineer at MTC PS.
So, the design team has an essential role in helping new and existing customers to push boundaries on what’s possible by converting critical applications from convectional manufacturing technologies to PM NNS HIP. Leading the way to help engineers in nuclear, oil & gas, chemical and other critical industries to get the most out of their metallic components in stainless steels, nickel alloys or other exotic materials by utilizing the advantages that PM HIP brings to the table.