The Metal Injection Molding, or MIM, technology
is identical to the technology of plastic injection. The only difference is the raw material, which is metal. This feature makes the MIM technology
the best solution for the manufacture of high
volume complicated parts.
The raw material (feedstock) is a mixture of metal powder with organic binders - typically wax, thermoplastic resins and other materials. The ingredients are mixed hot until a homogenous mixture is obtained. After cooling, the mixture is granulated, to allow it to be fed into an injection molding machine. If necessary, it can then be stored for a practically
unlimited amount of time. This mixture is used to obtain plastic-like characteristics and then injected into molds.
The parts then go through a debinding process to remove the organic binders.
The final stage is sintering, where the parts shrink to their final dimensions and density. The parts can then undergo various surface and other required treatments, resulting in a completed ready-to-assemble component, or a final product.
This method for producing powdered metal parts is applicable where complex shapes are required to be manufactured out of metal alloys. MIM technology offers significant manufacturing advantages over other technologies for parts with the following features:
● Complicated and intricate shapes
● High volume (from 5,000 up to millions
● Small in size