The automotive supply chain is as broad as it is demanding, especially for tier two and tier three component providers. The constituents that go into truck and automobile construction range from plastic or rubber polymers to high-strength steel and aluminum. Even composite materials are gaining a foothold as EVs require lighter high strength materials. Other than aircraft building, the automotive industry is one of the most advanced in terms of the myriad of materials and process methodologies that are applied in high volumes with unmatched quality and repeatability. The modern automobile is about as complex as anything produced today – especially when considering the economic requirements to be a world-class competitor.
Metal injection molding (MIM) is one of those advancing material processing techniques that fulfill the demands of automotive engineers and supply chain managers. Precision, repeatable, high volume, economical all while offering a wide range of metallic product properties incorporating everything from stainless steel, tool steel, low alloy steels, tungsten, and even titanium. The MIM process stands alone in its ability to provide what any demanding automotive application requires.
Universally speaking the automotive market looks for these attributes, in terms of excellence, from any potential supplier no matter the part or process:
1. A Solutions Provider – an entity that envisions the entire process and how their component fits into the overall design and operation of the vehicle. A supplier that is up to speed and doesn’t only focus on “their” component.
2. A Quality Provider – quality today is a given. There isn’t time for rework, inspection, asking for deviations or exceptions. It must be right the first time and the millionth time – all the time.
3. A Collaborative Provider – the automotive market is collaborative; it must be because of the interconnectedness of all the systems that work together. Automotive is very much a team product and suppliers need to thrive in that environment.
4. A Lean Provider – the needs of the market hinge upon not just the language of lean but the actual culture of lean. There are participants of lean then there are those culturally inculcated in wiping out Muda. This also includes mitigating supply chain issues so prevalent in today’s world of just-in-time shortages.
5. A High-Tech Provider – automotive suppliers must be world-class leaders in not only their manufacturing processes and products but also how the latest advancements in technology can drive more performance to the end consumer.
Advanced Powder Products (APP) uniquely satisfies each of these five elements. Our founder and CEO literally authored the first textbook on MIM processing while serving as a professor of metallurgy at Penn State, so high tech is foundational to all that we do. Our Realization Thru Innovation™ process is at the core of being a solutions provider in a collaborative fashion. The high-volume markets we participate in demand a high degree of automation, lean by necessity high quality by design. APP understands the precision and complexity of the automotive markets.
MIM bridges several processing techniques well suited for the demands of automotive components. While not exhaustive some examples include:
Fuel/Energy Components – unit housings, injector parts and nozzles, metering gears.
Electrical Components – heat dissipative parts or sinks, connectors, EV battery components.
Safety Components – airbag, seat belt, braking, and sensor housings.
Propulsion/Powertrain Components-spools, vanes, rocker arms, turbocharger parts.
Finally, APP also supports the conceptualization of new products via ProtoMIM® and PrintAlloy® – two fully internalized capabilities to fast-track new designs or applications. Because of our leadership in MIM processing, APP also designs and formulates its own alloy feedstocks. This is critical from a technological perspective as well as mitigating supply chain risk. Let APP’s engineering and business development team collaborate to advance your MIM requirements – experience how we cover the five pillars of being a great automotive parts provider.