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Metal Injection Molding (MIM)

Metal Injection Molding Icon

Are your parts small and complex? Metal Injection Molding (MIM) might be your answer. APP’s proprietary MIM technology maximizes the performance of your design. Our extensive understanding of the MIM process and alloys permits rapid engineering and production of quality MIM components.

Metal injection molding (MIM) is a manufacturing process that combines the most useful characteristics of powdered metallurgy and plastic injection molding to facilitate the production of small, complex-shaped metal components with outstanding mechanical properties.

Adopted by a variety of industries MIM manufacturing is well-suited to produce medium to high volume components by increasing the number of mold cavities. Ideal candidates include those that weigh less than 100 grams, have complex geometries and tight tolerances, and can fit in the palm of your hand.

Typical Attributes Produced by the MIM Process

Attribute Minimum Typical Maximum
Component Mass (g) 0.030 10-15 300
Max Dimension (mm) 2 (0a.08 in) 25 (1 in) 150 (6 in)
Min Wall Thickness (mm) 0.025 (0.001 in)* 5 (0.2 in) 15 (0.6 in)
Tolerance (%) 0.2% 0.5% 1%
Density 93% 98% 100%
Production Quantity 1000 100,000 100,000,000

APP’s custom metallurgy and metal injection molding process produces high density, net shaped components. All parts are designed to meet your manufacturing needs, saving you time and money.

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MIM PROCESS

  1. 01

    Feedstock Compounding

    The MIM process starts with mixing APP’s proprietary MIM Feedstock, a combination of metal powder and binder.

  2. 02

    Injection Molding

    The MIM feedstock is injected into a mold with multiple mold cavities using automated injection molding machines to produce a “green part” that is 20% larger than the finished component.

  3. 03

    Debinding

    The parts then move through the first stage debinding. This removes most, but not all, of binders part and the part prepared for sintering. This part is considered a “brown part”.

  4. 04

    Sintering

    During the high temperature sintering process, the part is heated near its melting point, all binder removal is completed, the part densifies, and the final part geometry is formed.

  5. 05

    Secondary Operations

    After sintering, parts can then be sent to secondary operations to improve dimension control, mechanical properties, and visual appearance, such as sizing, heat treating and coating.

How does Metal Injection Molding Stack Up?

Materials used in metal injection molding are superior to most cast products and slightly inferior to wrought. Although traditionally machined components are produced from wrought products, MIM parts are manufactured to just under theoretical density at around 98% resulting in similar mechanical properties and smooth surface finishes.

MIM Sweet Spot Chart
MIM

MIM BENEFITS

  • Cost effective
  • Scalable and repeatable automated manufacturing
  • Design freedom
  • Material flexibility
  • Complex geometries
  • High performing
  • Minimal or no expensive machining operations
  • Ability to manufacture micro-sized parts

MIM APPLICATIONS

APP’s Metal Injection Molding (MIM) process and metallurgical expertise can produce a wide variety of materials, such as stainless steels, low-alloy steel, and stool steels, that solve performance problems for medical device, military and defense, sporting goods, industrial, oil and gas, and aerospace applications. If the metal powders are available in the appropriate size and can achieve high density through the sintering process, then the material can be manufactured using the MIM process. If you have a performance or an application challenge, APP can develop a solution in our state-of-the-art facility.

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