Metal injection molding (MIM)


Metal injection molding (MIM) is a metalworking process by which finely-powdered metal is mixed with a measured amount of binder material to comprise a ‘feedstock’ capable of being handled by plastic processing equipment through a process known as injection mold forming. The molding process allows complex parts to be shaped in a single operation and in high volume. End products are commonly component items used in various industries and applications. The nature of MIM feedstock flow is defined by a physics called rheology. Current equipment capability requires processing to stay limited to products that can be molded using typical volumes of 100 grams or less per “shot” into the mold. Rheology does allow this “shot” to be distributed into multiple cavities, thus becoming cost-effective for small, intricate, high-volume products which would otherwise be quite expensive to produce by alternate or classic methods. The variety of metals capable of implementation within MIM feedstock are referred to as powder metallurgy, and these contain the same alloying constituents found in industry standards for common and exotic metal applications. Subsequent conditioning operations are performed on the molded shape, where the binder material is removed and the metal particles are coalesced into the desired state for the metal alloy.

Metal Injection Molding market has grown from $ 382 million USD in 2004 to $985 million USD in 2009. Further the market is estimated to be about $1.5 billion USD in 2012 by BCC Research, with continued double digit growth expected through 2019.

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