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Current location: Home » Help Center » What is MIMWhat is MIM

What is MIM

MIM is the shorthand for Metal Injection Molding, it's a method of forming mixture of a metal powder and binder into a mold, and then the mixture is  granulated and then injection molding the desired shape of the initial parts,  and then through the high temperature sintering to get the expected metal parts with strength.

It's an advanced and supplementary technology of metal parts manufacturing. Different from traditional technology, when producing small size, complex shapes metal components in large quantities, MIM advantages has been maximized, so many small and complex metal parts we used today have a great chance made by MIM. 


MIM Process


In a nutshell, MIM process is melting the metal powder and binder materials into designed molds and then shape to solid metal parts. MIM process typically explained as four unique processing steps:

Compounding-Molding-Debinding-Sintering

 

MIM Feedstock


Metal powders

Powder particle size, tap density and particle shape are key performance indicators that determine whether the powder can be successfully used for MIM processes. The MIM process requires very fine powder (~ 10μm) to ensure uniform dispersion, good flow property and large sintering rates.
The ideal MIM powder is: powder particle size of 2 ~ 8μm; loose density of 40% to 50%; tap density of more than 50%; powder particles for the spherical.

 At present, MIM metal powder raw materials include iron, nickel, titanium, stainless steel, precious metals, super alloys and other materials. But also became diversification of development, such as structural materials, functional materials, magnetic materials.

Production metods of MIM powder: carbonyl method, ultra-high pressure water atomization, high pressure gas atomization, plasma atomization and laminar flow atomization. Different powder production techniques have different effects on the particle size, particle shape, microstructure, chemical properties, and manufacturing cost of the powder.


Binders

Binders are the core of MIM technology. The big difference between MIM with conventional powder metallurgy method is high capacity of binder. The main function of the binder is to act as a carrier for the flow of the bonded metal powder particles and to maintain the workpiece shape after molding.
MIM binders should meet the following requirements:
With strong adhesion and does not react with the powder;
Injection temperature range of viscosity changes little, but the viscosity change faster when cooling
Un-easy to stick mold;
With less binder can make the mixture to produce better flow performance;

Production of Feedstock

Mixing the metal powder and binder at a temperature of more than 100 ° C, followed by  kneading and granulating to produce a granular feedstock suitable for use in  an injection molding machine.
There are two points to note when feedstock store: Seal and Moisture.

Metal Molds


Metal molds are the reason that makes manufacturing more by Metal Injection Molding, the cost is cheaper. Depend on the different projects, every metal molds should be designed individually.

MIM Applications


Based on these raw materials and advantages of producing small size, complex shape parts, MIM applications could fit in many fields including but not limited with:

○ Automotive: Airbag parts, car lock parts, seat belt parts, car door lift system, pinion gear, automotive air conditioning system small parts, brake system racks, fuel supply system in the small parts of the sensor

○ Computer and IT industry: such as sim card slot, mobile phone structure parts, printer parts, magnetic core, collision pin, drive parts, optical communication ceramic plug;

○ Military parts: gun parts, bullet parts, fuze parts

○ Tools: such as drill bits, knife heads, nozzles, helical cutters, steam tools, fishing gear parts, etc.

○ Medical and dental instruments: such as orthodontic, scissors, tweezers

○ Hardware: such as jewrly chains, handbag hooks, decorations

○ Mechanical parts: such as gears, textile machines, crimping machines, office machinery parts


Cost Analysis


In most cases, degreasing, injection molding, mold loss are the three lower cost of parts, all of theses three parts is only 10% to 15% of total cost, less than 1/3 of the post-processing! (Of course, depending on the different products will have differences).

Compared to other production methods, MIM usually take 4-6 process which nearly save half process and cost. And the most cost in MIM process is feeding, sintering and surface treatment.


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