Sintering is a solid-state thermal process that converts the mechanical bonds of the particles formed during the molding process into metallurgical bonds that provide the desired mechanical properties. During sintering,the individual particles are reduced to their pure elemental state and coalesce into a bonded structure. Particle to particle bonding and the diffusion of the particulate alloys is typically completed in a protective atmosphere. The cooling rate can be precisely controlled to produce the desired microstructure, including fully martensitic, without need for a conventional heat-treat operation. ASM has continuous sintering ability for both high temperature sintering up to 2600°F (1400°C) or conventional sintering up to 2150°F (1176°C).