PLM is applying powder metallurgical processing techniques to generate new and/or improved material properties.
Powder metallurgy offers the opportunity to go beyond the limits of alloy design and structuring as given by conventional casting technology in order to generate strongly improved properties for aluminum by sophisticated alloying and processing techniques.
Powder metallurgy and especially rapid solidification techniques offer best opportunities to adjust the desired property improvements precisely. For producing the feedstock material on industrial scale PLM applies the Melt Spinning technology (MS), also known as Planar Flow Casting (PFC). These processes provide the highest solidification speeds ever (approx. 106 K/sec) and by that the basic premises for best alloy quality are guaranteed.
In addition to the intermediate products from MS / PFC processing PLM also processes gas atomized powders, ground granules, powder blends as well as spray-formed aluminum alloys. Depending on the desired properties and the price-performance relation the one or the other feedstock material will be deployed.
The additional degrees of freedom compared to conventional casting processes are:
higher alloying contents
addition of "unalloyable" elements
more homogeneous microstructures
micro-, nano- or quasi-crystalline microstructures