Metal injection molding is a process used in metalworking to shape and solidify powdered metal into molds. The process allows complicated parts to be shaped in a single step instead of multiple steps. MIM provides companies with a cost-effective way to mass-produce goods or components of larger products. In the 1970s, the technology of MIM was refined by Dr. Raymond E. Wiech Jr. MIM, who was the co-founder of California-based Parmatech. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that MIM really gained recognition as improvements to the process were made.
How Is the Process Performed?
MIM is performed by blending metal powders and polymers or polypropylene binders together to create a liquid “feedstock” mix. The mix is injected or poured into a mold with the help of specialized machines designed for the purpose. Next, the molded part is removed from the mold and part of the binder is taken away through a catalytic process, thermal furnace or combination of preferred methods. The porous part that remains behind goes through a sintering and/or debinding process to make the particles more dense. The end result is a metal product that is comparable in its physical and mechanical properties to metal parts created with classical metalworking approaches.
Benefits of MIM
MIM is ideal for creating complex metal shapes and parts in high quantities. Depending on the volume of parts being created, MIM can potentially be cheaper than machining and can help businesses save on production costs. MIM also has benefits over investment casting when it comes to creating non-castable alloys. When compared with investment casting, MIM offers reduced production times and minimal material waste. Many businesses and industries are opting to use MIM in their processes, and market size is on track to reach over 6.5 billion by the year 2025.
If you’re interested in cost-effective ways to produce more molded metal products, you may want to learn more about MIM.