Metal injection molding (MIM) is a metalworking technique that is employed to manufacture small, intricate metal components in high volumes for use in a variety of productions and applications. The Metal Injection Molding (MIM) procedure is typically defined as the blend of powder metallurgy and the plastic injection molding method.
The procedure of the Metal Injection Molding started in the 1970s at a company called Parmatech in California. This process became popular with trade during the 1980s after it was refined and patented. Further improvements to the procedure in the 1990s granted more recognition to the MIM method, and the benefits of Metal Injection Molding (MIM) have upsurge over the last few decades. Metal Injection Molding has become a billion-dollar industry in the recent market, with over 500 parts manufacturers globally.
The MIM process comprises combining fine metal powders with plastic binders, which grants the metal to be injected into a mold employing instruments similar to general plastic injection molding machines. After the component is molded and before the binders are detached, the part is referred to as a ‘green part.’ After it, the binders are removed with solvents and thermal procedures. The resultant metal component is sintered at temperatures huge enough to bind the elements but not melt the metal. As visible in this MIM schematic, metal powders are mixed and blended with additives and polymer.
Later, they are processed on traditional injection molding machines employed for thermoplastic materials into so-called green parts. The polymers work as a binder that permits the metal powders to be injection-molded. The binder is eliminated from the green parts in a constant process under a well-defined and precise temperature-time profile. Afterward, the components are sintered to their final density. The selection of materials and alloying systems is almost infinite.
The MIM serves various advantages, some of them are discussed here:
- Through this method, small, intricate, and complex shapes are produced.
- High-volume production with cost-effective prices.
- Exceptional dimensional precision.
- Excellent surface finishing.
- The element of repeatability and consistency.
MIM (Metal Injection Molding) parts are employed in several sectors because of the unlimited benefits it serves. For instance, it is used in automotive components, office products, computers, home appliance parts, soft magnetic components, fittings and ornaments, as well as in medical equipment and other precision equipment components.