Manufacturing of High-Grade Micro Components by Powder Injection Molding
Powder injection molding (MicroPIM) has a considerable potential for the production of high-value metal and ceramic micro components. This does not only apply to technical aspects but, due to the deployability of mass production, also to economic ones. The current status can be summed up by the following key data: latest trials revealed smallest struc-tural details in the 10µm range or lower. Theoretical densities of up to 99% were achieved depend-ing on the particular powder applied. Typical materials processed are metals (Fe, Cu, 316L, 17-4PH, W and W-alloys etc.) or ceramics (aluminum/zirconium oxide etc.). Best surface qualities were obtained with ultrafine or even nano-doped ceramic powders. Another major line of development is multi-component or assembly injection molding. These proc-esses do not only reduce assembly expenditure, but also allow for the use of new functional material combinations. Interesting examples are ceramic micro heating elements or gear wheel/shaft samples which can be performed as fixed or movable combinations. Micro inmold-labelling using PIM feed-stocks offers further promising opportunities.
Jianhong Zhao, Masanori Kunieda, Guilin Yang and Xue-Ming Yuan
V. Piotter et al., "Manufacturing of High-Grade Micro Components by Powder Injection Molding", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 447-448, pp. 351-355, 2010