Current Trends in the Application of Powder Injection Moulding
Powder Injection Moulding (PIM) is a fast-growing manufacturing method, providing a cost efficient production route to complicated steel parts in highly stressed mechanical applications, but also to polished steel and ceramic parts fulfilling the most stringent aesthetical demands of design-dominated consumer products. The marriage between the two technologies plastic injection moulding and powder sintering is providing a valuable synergy, leading to a very efficient production of high density sintered steel and ceramic parts with a complex geometry. Reliable sources for PIM granulate; the use of standard injection moulding machines and the availability of mature furnace technology have each contributed to the credibility of in particular the Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) technology and have enabled in recent years the launch of mobile phone and automotive mass productions. While typical MIM parts in mobile phones are small and weigh around 1 g, the number of parts required is impressive and may reach several millions of parts per month. MIM parts in engineering applications, including automotive, are typically 5 - 50 g and have the advantage of long-lasting production runs, in some cases already approaching 10 years. Ceramic Injection Moulding (CIM) is not yet in the same stage of development as MIM due to the niche character of ceramic materials. Complex ceramic parts are not yet very common, but are also starting to appear in all segments.
Ionel Chicinaş and Liviu Brânduşan
J. Ter Maat et al., "Current Trends in the Application of Powder Injection Moulding", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 672, pp. 12-16, 2011