Paullin said that the PM industry can be of service to manufacturers of conventional power trains, diesel engines and hybrid vehicles. “We can offer innovative engineering/materials solutions, cost savings, and a technology that is environmentally safe,” he said. Future PM parts usage in light vehicles is projected to grow from between 590,000 to 900,000 tons globally by 2015, based on an estimated global market of almost 77 million vehicles, while potential new applications include connecting rods for diesel engines and electric traction drives and electric motor gears in hybrid vehicle.

Renewable green energy, particularly in wind turbines and solar panels also presents opportunities for conventional PM, metal injection moulding, and nanotechnology, he suggested, while although still in their infancy, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing offer opportunities for PM as well.

“While the PM industry faces many challenges, it will still be an important materials technology and manufacturing process,” Paullin said. “As the current recession subsides, the PM market will return and grow. The US automotive and industrial markets will still need innovative suppliers that offer precision productions and cost savings.”