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Development status of metal injection molding in Europe (2018)

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Europe has made a great contribution to metal injection molding MIM global development, mainly in two aspects: First of all, it is the world's leading provider of MIM technology. Either for MIM - tailored injection molding machine(Arburg GmbH&Co KG is the world's leading supplier of injection molding machine), first feedstock (BASF), or continuous sintering furnace suitable for mass production (Cremer Thermoprozessanlagen GmbH MIM pioneered the continuous sintering furnace, the company's MIM Master has been the dominant sintering equipment), Europe is the pioneer of this field. People often called the combination of those three companies "ABC" (including A refers to Arburg, B refers to the BASF, C Cremer), they provide integrated solutions help Chinese metal injection molding rapid rise, also makes Apple and Samsung OEM business confidence that, ten millions of yearly demand can even be in a consistent standard among various manufacturers to produce MIM parts of their own design.

The second contribution to metal injection molding technology in Europe is thanks to some of major traditional powder metallurgy (pressing sintering) parts manufacturers have adopted metal injection molding technology to automobile industry in a relatively early time. Like Sintermetallwerk Krebsoge GmbH (now GKN Sinter Metals part of) and Schunk Sintermetalltechnik GmbH.

As major suppliers to automotive industry, these companies had access to new technologies like metal injection molding that were completely new to automotive designers of the day. The success of today’s metal injection molding in European automotive industry is largely due to these companies' early and visionary embrace of new metal injection molding technology. Now metal injection molding companies in other parts of the world are learning from Europe's success.

Although Japanese Piston Ring Company has been manufacturing metal injection molding rocker components in Japan for many years, the most prominent metal injection molding engine application is in Europe. It is Schunk Intermetalltechnik Gmbh's metal injection molding rocker components for BMW, which was announced in 2007, thanks to BMW's Halo, the product has made metal injection molding technology Much better known.

Those metal injection molding parts are installed in BMW's six-cylinder engines that use variable valve lift technology valvetronic and are made of heat-treatable 50nicrmo2.2 alloy, producing about 4.5 million units a year.The valve rocker arm parts are injected into a four-cavity mold, then debinded and sintered in a continuous sintering furnace, finally heat-treated. It is estimated that metal injection molding technology saves 58% cost of forging rocker arms. Unfortunately, metal injection molding lost its competitive edge due to changes in product specifications, and these products were replaced by cheaper competing technologies.

Metal injection molding in other applications include fuel injection system on automobile parts, turbocharger, transmission, shock absorber parts, hydraulic system, working in high temperature and high pressure conditions, such as exhaust system actuator and sensor shell, etc., some hybrid cooling system has adopted metal injection molding technology.

EPMA estimates that the annual turnover of metal injection molding manufacturers in Europe is about $500 million. In addition, according to the results of the EPMA survey in 2017, the automotive industry accounts for more than 40% of metal injection molding output value in Europe. Other major applications include consumer goods, light weapons, medical devices, construction, power tools and tools. In terms of material type, stainless steel accounts for more than 50% of part production.


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