Metal Injection Molding: For Compatibility of Material and Shape
The goal of modern production processes is the manufacture of near net-shape components with minimum number of process steps.
A major advantage of powder-metallurgical processing is the fact that components require only minimum finishing.
Metal Injection Molding also enables a wide range of materials to be processed as well as the production of components with a high geometrical complexity at a large scale.
In the MIM process, thermoplastic polymers and waxes are added to metal powders to make them flowable. These are then molded in an injection molding process, after which the polymer is removed and the component is sintered.
MIM combines the shaping capabilities of plastic injection molding with the material options and properties of powder metallurgy.
Process development for new materials
The work of Fraunhofer IFAM involves materials and processes for all common powders and binder systems. This includes investigations into the suitability of powders, the sintering of new materials, and pilot series production of new components.
Our comprehensive and modern facilities allow all process steps to be performed, from powder preparation to feedstock manufacture and homogenization through to binder removal and sintering on both laboratory and pilot plant scales.
At our User Center for Metal Injection Molding we also carry out test and pilot series and provide training and instruction on the developed processes for personnel.
At Fraunhofer IFAM, processing parameters for the following material classes have been developed:
- Stainless steels, low-alloy steels
- Case hardening steel and tempering steel
- Intermetallic materials
- Nickel-based materials
- Magnetic materials
- Heavy metals based on tungsten
- Light metals based on titanium
- Noble materials
By two-component Metal Injection Molding, multiple materials can be combined in the same component.
From trouble shooting to quality assurance
Mold filling studies allow the effective design of injection molds. Thermal analysis and viscosity measurements are used for the quality assurance of injection molding feedstocks. Thermal gravimetric analysis and sinter dilatometry are used to optimize sintering cycles to achieve defect-free components.
Mold filling studies allow the effective design of the injection molds. Thermal analysis and viscosity measurements are used for the quality assurance of injection molding feedstocks. Our thermal gravimetric analysis and sinter dilatometry enable the swift design of optimal temperature programs to achieve defect-free components.