Metal Powder Industry Rebounds
Jun 27, 2011
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After a "dismal" 2009, the North American powder metallurgy (PM) industry regained growth momentum in 2010, with shipments up 35%, according to Michael E. Lutheran, president of the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) speaking at PowderMet2011.

Speaking at the conference, Lutheran said the 2010's rebound could be largely attributed to increased light-vehicle sales, other end markets also gained.

After five years of declining demand, Lutheran said, the industry’s real turnaround began in the last quarter of 2009.

MPIF estimates that total 2010 North American metal powder shipments increased about 35%, from 334,521 short tons in 2009 to 451,021 short tons in 2010 (1 short ton is equal to 0.90723 metric ton).

North American Metal Powder Shipments
• Iron and Steel metal powder shipments grew from 244,839 short tons in 2009 to 4,500 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Stainless Steel shipments grew from 4,500 short tons (estimated) in 2009 to 6,700 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Copper and Copper Base shipments grew from 13,239 short tons in 2009 to 18,000 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Aluminum shipments were flat at an estimated 55,000 short tons in both 2009 and in 2010
• Molybdenum shipments were flat an estimated 2000 short tons in both 2009 and 2010
• Tungsten shipments grew from 4000 short tons (estimated) in 2009 to 4500 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Tungsten Carbide shipments grew from 5900 short tons (estimated) in 2009 to 6000 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Nickel shipments grew from 4500 short tons (estimated) in 2009 to 5000 short tons (estimated) in 2010
• Tin shipments grew from 543 short tons in 2009 to 700 short tons (estimated) in 2010

Lutheran reported that total iron powder shipments grew 44.23% in 2010 to 353,121 short tons. PM parts representing 315,192 short tons of the total, up 50% over 2009.

MPIF figures show that 2009 was the worst year in a decade for North American iron powder shipments and the 2010 increase left the industry at levels still far below its 2004 peak, when iron powder shipments hit almost 474,000 short tons.

“Nevertheless, we are back on the growth track, regaining momentum in nearly every quarter,” Lutheran said.

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