The average consumer doesn’t know about or care about things like parts consistency, production efficiencies, logistics, reducing scrap, etc. Those are the concerns of the manufacturer.
MIM gives a designer flexibility in piece geometry, for example, parts can be built with recesses for springs to eliminate the need for pins. This reduces manufacturing costs by eliminating a step.
Metal Injection Molding can be cost-effective for high-volume production, and the process works well with a wide range of materials. It also uses less raw material than machining, which can reduce manufacturing costs by cutting down on waste. In addition, the MIM process is highly automated and does not require assembly, which can significantly cut down on labor costs.
Additionally, MIM parts can be designed for tight tolerances and can use consolidated sections of the part to save on manufacturing time. This can improve cycle time and help reduce the need for secondary operations.
Additionally, MIM can produce a variety of complex metal components for medical devices and aerospace and defense applications. These components need to be strong and lightweight for optimal performance. This is possible with MIM, as the injection molding process evenly distributes the metal powder throughout the part, ensuring consistency and strength.
MIM parts have a high tolerance range without the need for secondary operations. They are also near-net shapes and 95% – 100% dense, depending on the alloy used. Unlike machining, which is subtractive, MIM is an additive process, which allows for a wide variety of design shapes. In addition, digital designs can be tinkered with immediately prior to printing, and multiple iterations can be printed simultaneously or in sequence.
MIM offers a more efficient production process than machining, since it eliminates waste and reduces the need for a large inventory of raw materials. However, there are still some challenges associated with MIM. For example, the process cannot be used for metals that require case hardening and coloration, such as carbon steel. This can make it difficult to achieve the attractive, bluish hues that customers are used to seeing on carbon parts.
Using a full-service contract manufacturer (CMO) that has experienced MIM engineers on staff can help ensure that the final part meets the required mechanical properties. This can reduce development cycles and production times, improving the overall efficiency of the process.
In addition to reducing manufacturing costs, MIM can provide excellent quality with very little variance in part-to-part consistency. This makes it an ideal solution for medical device manufacturers and other industries that require high-performance components with unique geometries and complex profiles.
As with plastic injection molding, the MIM process starts with a powdered metal carrier and heats it to fuse the metal particles together in a net shape. This is a highly efficient process that yields near fully dense parts that can be held to tight tolerances and are easier to finish than other processes. The biggest cost associated with MIM is the initial investment for creating the mold, but this can be quickly amortized over high-volume runs.
MIM can be a slower process than machining due to the time it takes for sintering. This can be mitigated by working with a USA based MIM supplier that has the part and mold design experience needed to cut per-part production costs.
MIM allows for complex designs that would be difficult or impossible to machine. This can include thin wall sections, exterior and interior threads, and holes for grooves or words.
The MIM process is ideal for parts that require high strength, hardness, and wear resistance, such as those found in automotive transmissions and drivetrain components. Additionally, safety systems within vehicles require small and complex geometries, many of which are made from specialized alloys that can be produced using MIM. These materials can be used to create components like sensors and electrical motor parts that ensure the proper functioning of an automobile’s safety system. Ultimately, MIM is an effective and time-tested manufacturing method that can save manufacturers money without sacrificing quality.