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Metal Injection Molding (MIM)
MIM tooling is very much like that used in plastic injection molding. These tools can range from simple prototype to multi-cavity production tools.
We start with a fine metal or ceramic powder (particle size approximately 1-20 microns) and mix this with a proprietary blend of plastics that we call "binders". The powders are incorporated into the fluid binder and pelletized to form a feedstock for an injection molding machine.
After compounding, the feedstock is injected into a mold to form a "green" part.
The binders are removed through thermal processing. In some cases, depending on the application, a solvent bath is used as an initial step.
Finally, the parts are put through a high-temperature sintering furnace where the remaining binders are removed. The powder particles fuse together to reach 96-99% of theoretical density.
Inspection and Secondary Operations
After sintering, the parts are inspected against high quality standards. At this point, additional operations - such as machining, heat treating or plating - may be undertaken to achieve tighter tolerances or enhanced properties.
D2M and Tolerances
Part design greatly impacts process capability. From uneven wall sections to features that need support through sintering, there are specific factors that determine the tolerances possible on a part.
Download a free PDF of the MIM Design Guide.