Two-component Metal Injection Molding (2C-MIM)

Valve shell with magnetic separation, made by 2C-MIM
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Valve shell with magnetic separation, made by 2C-MIM

Functionalization of MIM components

A number of technical components today comprise two or more materials, which in general are manufactured through the joining of individual parts. However, particularly for components with complex geometries, the conventional manufacturing and joining processes are associated with high costs. The work at Fraunhofer IFAM involves increasing the functional density of components. Assembly injection molding, lost wax cores for defined cavities, porous regions combined with dense regions, and the combination of two different materials enhance the functionality, and thus the market position, of MIM components.

Two-component Metal Injection Molding

Two-component metal injection molding (2C-MIM) is a processing technology that combines the advantages of powder metallurgical processing with those of two-component plastic injection molding. It enables the manufacture of multi-component parts consisting of a number of metals with customized properties and can thus deliver new design possibilities for technical components. Possible material combinations are:

  • Magnetic – non-magnetic stainless steel
  • Low-alloy steel – cutting material
  • Titanium – stainless steel
  • Cemented carbides – stainless steel

However, two powder materials can only be combined by 2C-MIM if a material joint is formed at the interface and only small differences in shrinkage occur during co-sintering. Thus, commercially available MIM feedstocks are not feasible for 2C-MIM. Instead feedstocks are required that can be adjusted in shrinkage. A two-component Injection Molding machine with separate injection units enables the manufacture of two-component MIM prototype parts and components as well as pilot and small series production.